We recently had a cold snap. The 25-degree days lasted about a week and prompted a quick transition to winter mode at our house. This included tucking a make-shift draft dodger at the base of the front door, cranking up the electric mattress pad, and turning the wall heaters up to warp factor 10. The frigid temperatures also spurred a craving for warm beverages, specifically a creamy pink cup of sweetness from my childhood: strawberry-flavored milk.
My hot pink thirst was sparked by a small bowl of strawberry powder on the counter. I’d made a batch of Homemade Cherry Ripe Bites to take to a holiday party and had leftover pulverized freeze-dried strawberries. Seeing the pink powder and feeling chilled to the bone brought back memories of Christmas break, sledding for hours, and warming up with a cup of steaming Strawberry Quik.
The original confection-like product is made from sugar, artificial flavors, citric acid, red 40, salt, blue 1, and a handful of added vitamins and minerals. Not a berry in sight. Emboldened by my success with recreating Rice-a-Roni, I started recipe testing to reconfigure another favorite food from the 1980s.
- ¾ cup freeze-dried strawberries
- 2 cups plain soymilk
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Pinch salt
- Grind up strawberries into a fine powder. (I used a mini food chopper powered by my hand blender but I bet a coffee grinder would work, too.)
- Strain the powder through a fine mesh strainer or tea sieve to remove seeds and larger pieces. You should be left with a generous 2 tablespoons of powder.
- Heat soymilk in a small pan over medium heat. Whisk in strawberry powder, sugar and salt.
- For an extra creamy texture, whiz the mixture with a hand blender. Once it just begins to boil, remove from heat and enjoy.
- My pink dust isn’t fortified with vitamins and minerals, but the strawberries provide plenty of nutrition, like fiber and vitamin C. Probably because they’re actual strawberries.
- If the fruity flavor from my recipe doesn’t bowl you over, feel free to play around with the berry to milk ratio. You could also decrease the sugar to save on calories if it tastes too sweet to you.
- I only tested the recipe with soymilk, but my guess is that cow’s milk or other non-dairy milks would sub in nicely.
Hopefully, if you share my love of hot strawberry memories from 30 years ago, this recipe will remind you enough of the original and keep you warm this Christmas. And don’t forget about Santa. Instead of cookies and milk this year, maybe he’d like some strawberries in milk…
Did you enjoy flavored milk as a kid? Have you found a healthier alternative?