The Mocha Milkshake: A Chocolate and Coffee Midafternoon Snack

coffee-540653_1920This is an Essential Puree Quickie Dessert. It is composed of items readily available, rather than made from scratch.

Sometimes, the person with swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) needs a snack to get through the late afternoon, a delicious pick-me-up for the time of day when energy slumps. So, next time the person in the home healthcare situation, who does the shopping, heads to the store, here are the ingredients to buy. You’ll have them on hand, and you can buzz, buzz, buzz a fabulous shake.

Most of the time, we at Essential Puree try for low sugar items, but this is a snack that is a splurge. Many on the dysphagia diet need extra calories. This recipe contains coffee ice cream. This is a snack for those who are permitted to have a little caffeine, so please get clearance from your healthcare provider. For a sugar-free version and a decaf version, see below. Please note that if you can find decaf coffee ice cream, use it. The decaf version, provided below, has fewer calories.


  • 4 ounces of coffee ice cream, dairy or non-dairy, according to your preference
  • 1 container of prepared chocolate pudding, from the refrigerator case of your supermarket
  • 4 oz. of milk, or non-dairy milk, such as almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons of whipped cream or So CocoWhip whipped topping (optional)
  • 1 packet of Simply Thick in honey consistency or in the manufacturer’s recommended amount for powdered form (See Essential Puree information page on Instant Thickeners for more information)

For the Puree

Put the ice cream in the pitcher of a blender and pulse it a few times, then blend it until it is creamy and smooth.

Add the pudding, milk and whipped cream or topping, and blend until your treat reaches milkshake consistency.

For Thickening

The milkshake should be the thickness as prescribed by your healthcare provider.

Here is the scoop on thickeners: The best thickeners are the gum-based ones. They come in two thicknesses, nectar and honey. Two honey packets produce pudding consistency. SimplyThick is a gel. It comes in pre-measured packets that allow for fast and easy preparation of beverages and are especially convenient for travel. ThickenUp Clear, Thick & Easy Clear, and SloDrinks are powder gum thickeners. These also come in convenient packaging and large size packaging. They come with instructions for puree.

These brands of gum-based thickeners are a little more expensive than starch-based thickeners, but they have the virtue of not feeling “heavy” in the patient’s digestive system. This was my mother’s opinion. I cooked for her for three years after her dysphagia diagnosis. I learned as I went along. I used both starch and gum-based products. She liked the latter. Since we eat with our eyes, the look of the pureed dish is important. The look of the food is part of the diner’s pleasure.

These gum-based thickeners are extremely easy to work with and produce a good-looking product. They do not change the color or the opacity of the drink, the dish or the sauce. They do not have a starchy aftertaste. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Using gum thickener, either in gel or powder form, add enough to thicken 8 oz. of liquid to the required consistency.

Please note: These products do not reach their maximum thickening potential for three to five minutes. After blending, put the milkshake in the fridge for five minutes. Then enjoy!

Swirl Away!

Sugar-Free Version

Sugar-free, diabetic friendly recipes are something new for Essential Puree. We want to be inclusive. At the recommendation of a noted speech language pathologist of our acquaintance, we are including general instructions for diabetic versions of snacks. As always, consult your healthcare provider to make sure that this recipe is cleared for you.

Diabetic Version

If you are on a sugar-restricted diet, please use sugar-free versions of the convenience ingredients in the recipe, meaning the ice cream and the pudding. Get sugar-free ice cream and sugar-free pudding. It is very easy to make whipped cream using heavy cream and stevia, with a half teaspoon of vanilla. If you can’t find sugar-free, coffee ice cream, try pureeing a cup of sugar-free, vanilla ice cream with half a cup of cooled, fresh coffee, or with a tablespoon of freeze-dried coffee dissolved in a tablespoon or two of hot water. The Vitamix website contains instructions for making coffee “ice cream” from coffee and milk or non-dairy milk. Instead of sugar, use stevia or any other sugar substitute. The NutriNinja and NutriBullet websites also contain recipes for making “ice cream” in their high-speed blenders.

Decaf Version

If you want to make a decaffeinated version, make a pot of decaffeinated coffee, add your favorite milk, non-dairy milk or cream, add your sweetener, and freeze the decaf coffee in an ice cube tray. You can even make decaffeinated coffee from instant coffee if you don’t want to make a whole pot. Make the coffee ahead. You can place the coffee ice cubes in a zippered bag and put them in the freezer if you like the shake and want to make it on a regular basis. Instead of using 4 ounces of coffee ice cream, use the ice cubes in the blender, about six standard cubes. You will need a high-speed blender that can handle turning ice into snow. These cubes will puree like a granita and will not be as rich as ice cream, so you will definitely need the instant thickener.

The best thing about making your own custom version is that you can adjust and blend the ingredients in the amounts that you like, to your own taste. You will get the mocha taste.


Featured photo credit: MorningbirdPhoto via Pixabay, cc