August 22nd is World Plant Milk Day. It’s terrific that America has embraced plant milk. In our neck of the woods, they’re ubiquitous and have booted some SKUs‡ of cow’s milk off the shelves.
Over the last five years, the consumption of regular cow’s milk has dropped 13% [source].
It’s not just the growing cadre of vegans and environmentalists who eschew animal-based milk (cow’s, goat’s, sheep’s)—or Americans young and old who choose soft drinks or other alternatives to a glass of milk.
Plant milks are also welcomed by lactose-intolerant people, kosher observers, and those with allergies to cow’s milk.
(A pal of ours from our grade school was allergic to it and her mother substituted goat’s milk, which was only available in a can. It was very exotic back in those days. [If you like goat cheese, you’ll enjoy a glass of goat’s milk, now available in a carton at specialty stores.])
Any grain, nut, or seed can be transformed into plant milk.
Commercially, plant milk is made by grinding the ingredient to an extremely fine paste and then mixing it with water.
This dissolves the plant’s sugars and proteins into the water and disperses their fat content as tiny globules that are fine enough to remain in suspension. Vitamins and minerals are added later.
(Secret Tip: You can make simple almond milk without nuts by putting almond butter and water in a blender [source].)
While soy milk and almond milk have been around the longest, recent years have seen a waterfall of plant-based milks. We counted more than 17!
In alphabetical order: almond milk, banana milk, cashew milk, coconut milk, flax milk, hazelnut milk, hemp milk, macadamia milk, oat milk, peanut milk, pistachio milk, rice milk, sesame milk, soy milk, spelt milk, pea milk, quinoa milk, and walnut milk.
You can make them at home with this machine.
And you can bet there will be more coming around the corner. (Head here for a discussion of this list of milks.)
> The history of different plant milks.
First a word from our legal department: Frappuccino® is a trademarked line of blended iced coffee drinks sold by Starbucks beginning in 1995.
To make a Frappuccino, coffee and milk are blended with ice and flavored syrup, other flavors like vanilla bean powder (there are currently nine different flavors of Frappuccino), and topped with whipped cream and other garnishes. It’s a cross between iced coffee, a milkshake, and cold cappuccino*.
So legally, we and Gelson’s Markets, who created the recipe†, can’t call this a Frappuccino.
(See how Frappuccino got its name in the footnote* below.)
What else could you call it to evade the trademark lawyers? One of our team members suggested “Coffee Smoothie.”
Regarding this recipe: This drink is much better for you than any Frappuccino, because it uses dates for sweetness instead of sugar.
1. MAKE oat milk ice cubes: Pour the oat milk into a standard ice cube tray and freeze overnight. You should have about 16 ice cubes.
2. MAKE the date caramel: In a food processor, pulse the dates, until finely chopped. With the food processor running, add the hot water in a slow, steady stream, to create a paste.
3. SCRAPE down the sides periodically. Add more water if needed, 1 teaspoon at a time so the paste doesn’t get too thin. It should be the consistency of smooth peanut butter. Set it aside.
NOTE: You will have leftover date caramel. It can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.
4. MAKE the “Frappuccino”: Combine the oat milk ice cubes and cold brew coffee in a blender, and cand purée on high until smooth. Add 3 to 5 tablespoons of the date caramel, 1 tablespoon at a time, blending well between each addition.
5. TASTE and adjust the flavor as needed, adding more date caramel to sweeten.
6. POUR the drink into two pint glasses and garnish as desired.
*Frappuccino is a portmanteau of “frappe”, the New England name from the French lait frappé, a milkshake with ice cream, and cappuccino, an espresso coffee with frothed milk.
†The recipe was adapted by Gelson’s from Minimalist Baker.
‡A SKU (pronounced “skew”) stands for Stock Keeping Unit. A retailer typically uses SKUs to identify their business’s inventory. For example, a quart of Horizon whole milk and a half gallon of it are two different SKUs. Similarly, the 2% and 1% milk versions and their different sizes are different SKUs.