Maybe the secret’s in the swirl. At Burger Boy

A midsummer pursuit for the perfect milkshake

Milkshakes are probably my all time favourite drinks! They remind me of lazy summers, indulgence and a time when my metabolism was in high gear. Back then I use to be on one milkshake a day diet. Having no culinary experience, and a little bit of laziness, I would simply take a large root beer glass, fill it to the top with ice cream, microwave for one minute, add a squirt of milk, swirl and start slurping and only stop when I needed to catch my breath or felt a brain freeze coming on.

Milkshakes are probably my all time favourite drinks! They remind me of lazy summers, indulgence and a time when my metabolism was in high gear.

Back then I use to be on one milkshake a day diet. Having no culinary experience, and a little bit of laziness, I would simply take a large root beer glass, fill it to the top with ice cream, microwave for one minute, add a squirt of milk, swirl and start slurping and only stop when I needed to catch my breath or felt a brain freeze coming on.

They were my weakness then and they continue to be for me now. Since I like to believe my culinary ways have become more sophisticated, instead of a microwave, I now use high-powered blender to create my shakes. I have to confess though; they are not something to rave about.

This should be simple enough. Ice cream, milk, syrup, and blend. But whenever I try making a shake at home it blends up nicely and looks good, but it either is watery and thin or so thick that it requires a high powered vacuum to suck it up.

Even though I didn’t acquire the skill to create a perfectly thick and creamy concoction, I have consumed many “great ones” that I do consider myself somewhat of a connoisseur. For a milkshake to take on the “out of this world status”, it needs to meet two criteria; it has to have a thickness that you can stand a straw in and not have it fall over to the side, and it has to achieve just the right blend, one that melds flavors evenly and keeps the shake thick without forcing you to grab a spoon.

Hoping to master this technique, I decided to go to the experts for advice — the Burger Boy! Burger Boy is the place in the north end of Red Deer a reputation for having the thickest, the tastiest — the almighty milkshake that can still be slurped through a straw!

Owned by Dave and Selma Danielson, Burger Boy has a diner like ambiance that has the perfect vibe to really enjoy an old-fashioned milkshake. They serve straight-up classics: chocolate, vanilla or strawberry, but also include maple walnut, pina colada, coffee, mint and more.

Burger Boy is also popular for their milkshake of the month, which comes in a multitude of unique and season flavors; July boasts Cherry coke, Halloween brings pumpkin or black liquorice flavoured milkshake while February celebrates Valentine cinnamon heart and so on.

Whichever flavour you choose, there are three pillars of shake-making: quality ice cream, thick consistency, and creamy texture.

“One of the reasons our milkshakes are so popular, is because we use quality real ice cream and not ice milk. The better the ice cream, the better your shake will be,” explains Selma. So, as easy as it would be to buy that unbranded 4L pail labeled vanilla ice cream for four bucks, don’t do it unless you have no other options.

“The other reason is we always use real fruit instead of powdered mixes. When in season, fresh fruit is always used and when it is not available it is frozen. But we like it when chunks of fruit get caught up in the straw,” explains Selma with a proud smile.

Convinced that there was also something to the mixing, I closely watched Selma as she made my milkshake. She added fruit, a little bit of milk and syrup. This was then blended in the industrial mixer for about 15 seconds. While continuing to blend, the automatic dispenser slowly poured out soft ice cream. She added a lot of ice cream.

Right before my eyes a thick creamy shake emerged. A soon as my milkshake was poured into a glass, I quickly speared the drink with straw. It stood regally straight up!

I could hardly wait for the final test: taste. My first taste turned into a very long sip as the creamy, perfectly balanced flavour of silky textured milkshake glided smoothly through the straw and transported me to the milkshake heaven.

Without giving away their exact recipe, I have concluded that the creamiest of milkshakes are created with blending fresh fruit with tad bit of whole milk and then adding a whole lot of high quality soft ice cream!

After several attempts of replicating their recipe at home, I’ll admit I have seen improvement of my product. It would certainly satisfy an unexpected middle of the night craving but if I wanted the real deal, I will be heading to the north part of Red Deer!

Here is a milkshake flavour that wasn’t offered on the Burger Boy menu, but it is the one that I can proudly serve!

Mango Milkshake

2 cups ripe mangoes, peeled and diced

1 teaspoon light brown sugar

1 cup vanilla ice cream, (I used Häagen-Dazs)

1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder (1/2 teaspoon if you prefer)

1/2 cup whole milk

chopped pistachio nuts, for garnish

Run mango, cardamom powder and brown sugar through a blender or food processor until smooth and well-blended. Add milk. Place ice cream in blender. Mix until thick. Pour into glass and garnish with pistachio nuts.

Burger Boy Story (6005 – 54th Ave.)

In 1990, Dave Danielson and his wife Selma moved from Calgary to open up the Willy’s Hamburger, a franchise restaurant. In 2000, the franchise agreement expired and the couple decided that they wanted to open up a non-franchise burger place and offer their loyal customers their own unique signature burgers and milkshake.

When it came to naming their diner, the decision was easy. “Because Dave has always been in the burger industry, he was referred to as burger boy by his buddies. It just seemed the most appropriate name for the restaurants, “ says Selma.

What separates them from other fast food place is their variety of in house made burgers; Bleu Boy, Bulls Eye Boy and Veggie Boy are just few burgers that bring back repeat customers.

Madhu Badoni is a Red Deer-based freelance food writer. She can be reached at madhubadoni@gmail.com. Watch for Madhu’s Masala-Mix blog on bprda.wpengine.com

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