Vanilla but Freaky

Hello again everyone, it’s the weekend, once again, and, this week, I’ve got another recipe for you. A recipe that came to me as a suggestion, I might add, from Twitch user 8t88.

You see, I’ve been doing my best to follow through on my new year’s resolutions and find myself an artist but things haven’t quite gone to plan on that front. Rather than snagging myself someone who’ll redraw the shelf that I use as a site header, I’ve found only character artists and fun discussions. Conversations that now seem to act as something of a substitute for my pre-quarantine social life.

Yet, filled with nonsense as they might be, those discussions always seem to come around to food and recipe ideas. And 8t88’s, in particular, stood out. Apparently they’d been to a restaurant, some time ago, and been taken aback by just how much they’d enjoyed the place’s vanilla and habanero shake.

If that sounds insane to you, well, it did to me as well. So obviously I had to make it.


And, honestly, I was shocked. It was great!

Before we begin, though, I’m gonna need you to take everything you know about making milkshakes and throw it out the window. We’re not using powders, we’re not using syrups and we’re not adding any extra sugar.

We’re using real ingredients and, while you could swap out my real vanilla for extract or essence, I’d strongly recommend not doing so. The proper pod gives a far greater depth of flavour because many of its aromatic compounds are lost in extraction. Or not even there to begin with, in many flavourings.

Here’s what I used:


300ml milk

180g vanilla icecream

1 vanilla pod (I used madagascan but tahitian’s fruitier)

1 orange habanero

½ teaspoon nutmeg

The downside to the real pods, though, is that their flavour isn’t instantly available and, contrary to what most recipes will tell you, you can’t just blend pure vanilla into a drink and expect to taste it. It has to infuse.

So, weird as it may seem, my milkshake recipe is going to involve just a little bit of actual cooking.

Warm up your milk on a high heat in a small saucepan, along with both of your spices, but don’t include the chilli just yet. Habaneros get a rather peppery, toasted flavour when cooked that isn’t going to pair well with all of our dairy. So we’ll add it in fresh at the end, instead.

Keep going and keep stirring the milk until it’s just starting to bubble up, then immediately turn the heat of your stove down to the bare minimum, to keep it from boiling over. And, five minutes after that, turn it off completely, once it’s had that little extra time to really cook in the flavour.

From there, let it cool for ten to twenty minutes and refrigerate for thirty, in order to chill your newly-spiced milk back down without heating up everything else in the fridge.

During which time you can, if you want, place your serving glass into the freezer for an even colder end result. This recipe will make enough for a pint but I opted for two smaller glasses, simply because I thought them better looking. You do you.

Next, once your milk is cold again, halve and deseed the habanero, making sure to remove all of the pith/placenta. This recipe’s pretty hot, even without it.

Shred that pepper up as roughly as you like, just don’t leave it whole. Do try and make things easy for your blender.

And, well, just chuck everything in there and blend ’til it’s smooth and frothy. Then you have a drink.

Just strain it into your glass(es) and serve:


The finished drink is cold, refreshing and filled with real vanilla flavour but it also packs quite the punch when it hits my throat. A hot



that contrasts pleasantly with the actual temperature but means that you’ll be needing an above average tolerance to appreciate the recipe in its current form.

The one part of this idea that had me worried, though, turns out to have been a non-issue. The chilli taste comes through so little that it doesn’t really matter whether or not the habanero and vanilla go together. Because this is just a vanilla milkshake with habanero burn, not a habanero flavoured shake.

The only actual pepper I’m getting is a tiny bit of funk to the aroma.

I like how this drink’s turned out a lot but I do think that it could be made better with a bigger quantity of a milder, pale chilli, like the so called “yellow” brazilian starfish or the peach sugar rush. Something that could be used to add a light and fruity tone to pair with the vanilla, rather than just adding heat.

And, while I don’t think that I’ve done much with those particular peppers yet, clicking on either will still take you over to my encyclopedia for more info. Or, if you’d like to see some recipes that better highlight the taste of today’s chilli, here’s the link for the orange habanero.

Whatever you’re into, do try giving some variation of this recipe a go, though, because it makes a fantastic vanilla shake and the contrast of hot and cold only heightens the experience. I enjoyed making and drinking it a lot and would like to thank 8t88, once again, for bring the idea to me.

Cheers dude!

4 thoughts on “Vanilla but Freaky

  1. Daniel Austin June 17, 2020 / 11:32 pm

    Recommendations for substituting vanilla extract for us plebs?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Spicefreak June 18, 2020 / 1:51 pm

      Hey Dan,
      There are many recipes for vanilla milkshake on the internet and, aside from the chilli, it’s the proper infusion of real vanilla that sets mine apart. I’d strongly recommend trying that infusion, if you ever get the chance, since the difference in flavour is far greater than you might realise.

      That said, though, if you do want to substitute essence, it does make the process a whole lot simpler. You can then completely ignore the heating and cooling steps and go straight to blending. Just add in a lidful or two of the essence when you do so.


  2. Daniel Austin June 18, 2020 / 4:38 pm

    Thanks- it’s not so much the extra effort as the extreme difficulty I’ve had in finding vanilla beans in the past.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Spicefreak June 18, 2020 / 7:44 pm

      Yeah, I get that. real vanilla has become rather harder to source in the last few years.


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