I love my fluffy oversweetened coffee shop drinks. They make me happy. What doesn’t make me happy is when they come up with some ridiculously rare, hard to obtain, limited-time-only concoction that lasts all of 5 days, and results in long lines at the drive-through. I’m sure you all remember the Unicorn Frappuccino drama? Well, brace yourselves, because they’ve just announced another limited-run frozen treat, the Zombie Frappuccino.
(and if you’re still feeling the burn of missing out on that horn-head inspired pink and purple monstrosity, check out the Halfblood Blend Milkshake.)
According to multiple websites, Twitter accounts, and the occassional disgruntled barista, the zombie is a cream based frappuccino flavored with caramel apple, a drizzle of strawberry mocha, topped with strawberry whipped cream and a dusting of green, pink and caramel powder.
Sounds simple enough.
Now, this recipe isn’t meant to replace the actual Zombie Frappuccino. In fact, as I haven’t tasted a Zombie Frappuccino (they’re not out until the 26th of October, apparently), I honestly have no idea how this stacks up to theirs.
All this is is a fun recipe I came up with in anticipation of the official Zombie Frappuccino. If nothing else, use this as a consolation prize in the event your local coffee shop runs out of Zombies before you get a chance to get one yourself.
All in all, it’s pretty damn tasty…
To make your own Undead Brain Freeze, you will need:
- 2 packets of Jolly Rancher’s Instant Drink Mix in Sour Apple
- 3 scoops vanilla ice cream
- 1 1/2 cups cold whole milk
- 1 cup ice
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon Xanthan gum, divided equally into 1/8 teaspoons*
- 1/2 Cup white chocolate chips
- 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
- 3 Tablespoons powdered strawberry milk mix + 1/4 teaspoon
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 5 hard caramel candies
- Pink food coloring
- Green food coloring
- Pink sprinkles
- Green sprinkles
- 1/4 Teaspoon citric acid (optional)
*THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS: Let’s quickly talk about Xanthan gum. For many of us, it’s not an ingredient we use regularly, but that you will often come across when reading the labels of prepared food. Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide and is commonly used in cooking as a thickening agent. It’s also used as a stabilizer to prevent separation in ingredients. A little bit of this stuff goes a long way, both in how well it thickens and how it tastes (it’s very bitter), so the ‘less is more’ approach is the best with this stuff.
We’re using it in both our whipped cream and our zombie cream base for our drink. Why? Well, it makes the whipped cream thick and rich which is perfect as I’m using a whipped cream charger and not whisking it in a bowl. It also allows me to spend more time photographing it before it starts to droop under the lights.
It’s also good for my cream base as it does double duty making the drink extra creamy and thick and also giving me an additional 10 minutes of working time when I take my photos. There’s a bit of a time jump in my world between finishing my recipes and photographing them (I have to run them from the kitchen all the way downstairs where I have to set up the backdrop, turn on the lights, carefully figure out how to photograph everything, and manage to do this all with 5 dogs at my feet lying exactly where I need to be standing), and there’s nothing more frustrating than getting everything set up and realizing my gorgeous ice cream based drink has melted.
In this recipe, Xanthan gum is optional! If you want to use it, it will make your whipped cream perkier and your ice cream base thicker. It is not an essential ingredient, however, which means, if you don’t have it…don’t worry! If you do want to give it a try, you can find it in most health food stores (it’s used a lot in vegan and gluten-free cooking) or online.
In a food processor, pulse chop your hard caramel candies until they’re fully pulverized. This is your caramel powder. Transfer into a shaker bottle and set aside for now.
In either a microwave safe bowl or a small warmer, melt your white chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons of your strawberry milk powder. Add in your 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and mix well. You should end up with a silky smooth liquid chocolate. Add in a few drops of pink food coloring until you achieve a deep pink you’re happy with, but make sure you do this after you mix in the coconut oil. Adding the food coloring ahead of time will result in your chocolate seizing and you’ll be left with a crumbly awful mess.
In your blender, combine your whole milk, ice cream, vanilla extract, 1/8 teaspoon of your xanthan gum and all your ice. Blend well. This is your cream base.
Add in two of your Jolly Rancher drink mixes. While this will give you the sour apple taste, it won’t do much for the color of your shake. Add in as much green food coloring as you want to achieve a nice sickly green.
Mix in 1 1/2 tablespoons of your crushed caramel candy as well.
In a small bowl, mix together your heavy whipping cream, 1 teaspoon of your strawberry milk mix, a few drops of pink food coloring and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon of your xanthan gum. Either transfer this to a whipped cream charger or whisk well until you end up with a fluffy pile of strawberry flavored whipped cream magic.
By now your strawberry white chocolate mocha sauce should be fully melted and mixed together. Drizzle a small amount of this all around the inside edge of your glass, letting it drip down the sides.
Carefully spoon in your green caramel apple milkshake and top with strawberry whipped cream. While it’s entirely appropriate to just squirt your whipped cream on top like a madman, try giving it a slow back and forth movement to create the illusion of brain matter. (While I fully suggest this technique, if you look at the photo I took below, you’ll notice I went for the madman approach. My excuse: it was late at night when I finished this recipe, I’d already drunk at least one entire serving of this milkshake (possibly two) and I wasn’t thinking as clearly as I should have been. Next time, I promise, appropriate brain shaped whip.)
To make your pink powder, mix together the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of your strawberry milk mix with your pink sprinkles.
To make your sour green powder, mix together 1/4 teaspoon of your caramel powder with 1/8 teaspoon of citric acid and 1 teaspoon of green sprinkles.
Use your pink mocha drizzle and pink and green powders to decorate the top of your whipped cream. Garnish with an optional tentacle (I had one left over from an earlier key s-lime recipe) and enjoy!
And there you have it, your very own technicolored, sweetly sour, zombie-inspired Undead Brain Freeze. Be warned, this has a LOT of sugar in it, so it’s entirely possible drinking this will result in zombie-like activity after that initial rush wears off…
And if you do get a chance to snag an official Zombie Frappuccino, come back here and tell me how it tastes…I’m curious to see how close we got with our own little recipe.
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