Saturday, February 27, 2010

Malt Shakes: a Flavour Experimalt

I know your secret Eddie. Rocket, that is. I’ve always had a big thing for their malt shakes, as does almost everybody else who I’ve ordered try one at some stage or another. Nothing quite beats one when you’re surrounded by 1950’s style decor with the Beach Boys piping in from above (NB: I don’t care what those signs on the wall say, the Jukeboxes do not work!). It doesn’t take a genius to see how they’re made, you just watch them do it over the counter. It starts with a few scoops of flavoured ice cream, then you add a piled high teaspoon or two of malt powder and finally give the whole thing a quick whirl in a milkshake mixer. The problem for me was always the powder itself though. I was convinced it was a specially made mix brought in from a wholesaler’s in a land both far and away, virtually impossible to obtain short of leaping in and grabbing the entire box. All hope seemed lost, but I usually do try to concentrate on that glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. This time it came in the form of my brother getting a job in the Santry branch of Eddie Rocket’s. Screw their secret sauce, I wanted to know what the malt powder was called, or where you could buy some! Do you want to know what he told me? ...It’s Horlicks. And it wouldn’t surprise me if half of you knew that already, or had just guessed even. Either way, after getting over the embarrassment I quickly popped on into Dunnes and bought myself some. What followed was an evening of malt experiments with numerous casualties: about a litre of milk, more than one tub of ice cream, two bananas, a package of blueberries, half a packet of ginger nut biscuits... The list goes on, but they didn’t all perish in vain since for the most part they all made quite delicious malt shakes. Whether or not that’s courtesy of Eddie’s or Horlick’s I really don’t know anymore but nonetheless, here are a few of the mixtures I came up with:

Coffee malt shake, serves 2/3

300ml fresh, cold milk
2 tsp of instant coffee
170g of vanilla ice cream
1 ½ tbs Horlicks powder

Before you begin, make sure to remove the ice cream from the freezer a good fifteen/twenty minutes prior to actually making the malt so that it softens; this will make speed up the process, especially if you have to finish them by hand! Once the ice cream is suitably soft, you’re ready to go.

Pour the milk into a tall container, for example a jug or measuring beaker. If you don’t have anything of this description to use then a large, deep bowl will do instead. Before adding the coffee, dissolve it in a very small amount of water so that you won’t be left with any stray granules that may escape the following steps. Add it to the milk and stir, then add the ice cream (if you have no regard for precise measurements – and I wouldn’t blame you when – then you should be aiming for roughly six generous scoops) and the Horlicks powder.

Finally, blend the mixture. Personally, I prefer to do this with a handheld blender as this gives you more control over the consistency of the mixture in a shorter space of time. A regular blender will do, but you will need to stir and push down any of the ice cream that isn’t caught. Otherwise, stir vigorously by hand until you get a smooth consistency. Taste, and if you feel it needs more malt then add another teaspoonful; this really is a matter of personal taste, I love mine very malty but the measure I've given is average. If you feel like experimenting, use a different flavour of ice cream instead of vanilla. Chocolate will of course work well in this case, as may another flavour. Do you like your malts thick? then simply add more ice cream. This recipe should give you a good milkshakeish consistency, but it's all about preference at the end of the day. Serve as a dessert or with a good old fashioned burger n’ fries!

Oreo malt shake, serves 2/3

300ml fresh, cold milk
6 Oreo cookies, crushed
170g vanilla ice cream
1 ½ tbs Horlicks powder

The process is almost identical to the coffee malt shake recipe above. Whilst waiting for the ice cream to soften, simply take a mortar and pestle to six Oreo cookies. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, wrap the cookies in a clean kitchen cloth and use a mallet or similar blunt object to bash them with until they're well broken up.

Assuming you will be finishing the mixture using a blender then do not crush the cookies too finely as leaving small chunks will make the overall shake more flavoursome. In the Oreo sense that is! If the mixing is to be done by hand then crush them more finely, but not into an outright powder. When ready, add the crushed Oreos to the milk before you add the ice cream and Horlicks powder. Serve on its own or with cream on top and a single Oreo cookie for decoration.

Banana malt shake, serves 2/3

300ml fresh, cold milk
2 small bananas
170g vanilla ice cream
2 tbs Horlicks powder

Again, simply follow the original set of instructions where adding and mixing the ingredients are concerned, only substitute the banana for the key flavour ingredient. A blender will, however, be required in this recipe as it can be difficult to achieve a smooth consistency by mashing and mixing the banana by hand. Slice both bananas in half and add to the milk prior to the ice cream and Horlicks. Blend. Note than in this particular recipe I have included an extra half tablespoon of Horlicks powder. This is because the banana flavour can be surprisingly strong, and on first attempt overpowered even the maltiness of the powder! Here is where I encourage you to experiment, to find the balance that’s right for you and your preferences. Either way, the malt will add body to the flavour but if you really like that malty taste then add more, it’s entirely up to you! Again, substituting chocolate ice cream for vanilla turns this into an even more interesting shake.

And that’s all my experimenting yielded for tonight. Well, in terms of success rather... but there are inumerable flavour combinations that you can try with malt shakes. It’s exciting, it’s fun; It’s definitely something I’ll do again. Bearing that in mind, if anybody has any suggestions then I’d love to hear them!


  1. NICE. :D

    I bought malt powder from a brewing kit shop for making malt loaf and malted cakes, and it was good. Cheap, and not that sweet.

  2. I'll give that a try if I get the chance! I did buy malt extract for the sake of variety and hopefulness but it turned out to be not that far off molasses unfortunately, it didn't taste right at all. :-/

  3. Came across this blog. The Counter, in Dundrum shopping centre do extremely good malts also!

    1. because its the same owner...

  4. Om nom nom, I luuuurve Eddie Rockets' strawberry malts. I always, always lash into them as soon as they arrive though, and am too full to finish my burger then. Rookie mistake!

  5. Heya¡­my very first comment on your site. ,I have been reading your blog for a while and thought I would completely pop in

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  6. A bit late to the party here but thanks so much for the coffee malt recipe. Can't wait to try it out.

  7. Legendary, thanks. I'll be making some for my family this weekend!