Did you know that 90% of Americans fall short of their dairy recommendations? As we celebrate National Milk Day on January 11th, it’s the perfect time to appreciate milk’s nutrients and flavor. From calcium to protein, the ingredients in dairy support bone health and growth.
We’ve gathered decadent milk-based desserts to showcase milk’s versatility. Whipping up treats like milkshakes and cheesecake lets us honor dairy’s dietary importance in a fun, tasty way.
The History of National Milk Day
First recognized in 1878 when milk was delivered door-to-door in glass bottles, National Milk Day recognizes milk’s nutritional benefits as part of a healthy diet.
Uniformed milkmen would deliver chilled glass bottles of creamy dairy milk to homes across the country. Back then, milk was not yet treated at high temperatures, so it spoiled quickly. The nutritious daily deliveries emphasized the essential role dairy played in family diets.
Over time, plastic jugs replaced glass bottles and long-life cartons allowed less frequent deliveries. But the wholesome goodness inside remains timeless. Even when refrigeration changed how we store dairy, the nutrients, and flavors retained their vital place on kitchen tables.
Our ideas celebrate milk’s history while highlighting its continued place in healthy, home-cooked family meals.
Types of Milk Used in Desserts
When it comes to rich, creamy desserts, the milk you choose makes all the difference. Here are some of the most common varieties of milk and their best uses are:
Whole milk contains the full fat and nutrient content of dairy, making it perfect for ice cream, custards, and puddings. The high-fat ratio creates a smooth, indulgent texture. Use it to make chocolate pots de crème or cherry cheesecake for extra richness.
Condensed milk has had about 60% of the water content removed through heating, creating a syrupy, sugary concentrate. This type shines in tres leches cake, dulce de leche, fudge, and more by adding sweetness and a melt-in-your-mouth feel.
Evaporated milk is another condensed form, with a delicate, slightly caramelized flavor from the removal of water. It lends itself beautifully to fruit and pumpkin pies, flans, and egg-based custards.
Powdered milk is the most shelf-stable form, created by removing all liquid through spray drying. Reconstitute it as needed for recipes, or use it to boost the creaminess and protein of milkshakes and smoothies.
Experiment with different dairy varieties tailored to each dessert’s distinct flavors and textures. On National Milk Day, sample an array of milky treats to appreciate the spectrum milk brings to sweets.
Easy Homemade Milk Desserts
- Classic Chocolate Milkshake: Blend 2 cups vanilla ice cream, 1/2 cup milk, 3 tbsp chocolate syrup, and 1/4 tsp vanilla until smooth and frothy. Top with whipped cream and a cherry.
- Rice Pudding: Simmer 1 cup cooked rice, 1 cup milk, 1/3 cup raisins, a pinch of salt, cinnamon, and 3 tbsp sugar for 30 minutes until thickened. Let chill for 2 hours before serving.
- Easy Homemade Vanilla Pudding: Whisk 2 cups cold milk with 2 tbsp cornstarch. Add 3 egg yolks and 2/3 cup sugar and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tbsp vanilla and 2 tbsp butter. Chill completely before serving.
- Baked Vanilla Custard: Heat 2 cups milk and 1 vanilla bean to a simmer. Whisk 1 cup cream, 1/2 cup sugar, and 4 egg yolks. Gradually add 1 cup of hot milk to the egg mixture while whisking. Pour into ramekins and bake at 325°F for 30-40 minutes until set.
- No Churn Ice Cream: Sweeten 2 cups heavy cream with 1/2 cup condensed milk and 1 tsp vanilla. Pour into loaf pan and freeze for 4 hours or until solid. Scoop and serve. Flavor ideas: chocolate, strawberry, peanut butter.
- Classic Crème Brûlée: Heat 2 cups cream, 1 vanilla bean, and 6 egg yolks over medium heat until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pour into ramekins, chill, then sprinkle tops with sugar and caramelize with a kitchen torch.
- Flan: Whisk 14 oz sweetened condensed milk, 5 eggs, 2 cups milk, and 1 tsp vanilla. Strain into ramekins and bake at 350°F for 45 minutes in a water bath. Chill before unmolding.
- Mexican Flan: Whisk 14 oz sweetened condensed milk, 5 eggs, 2 cups milk, and 1 tsp vanilla. Strain into ramekins and bake at 350°F for 45 minutes in a water bath. Chill before unmolding.
- Italian Panna Cotta: Heat 2 cups cream, 2 tbsp sugar, and 1⁄4 tsp salt until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tbsp gelatin. Pour into dishes and chill for at least 8 hours. Garnish with berries or chocolate sauce.
- Indian Kheer: Cook 1⁄2 cup rice in 4 cups milk with 1⁄4 tsp cardamom and saffron. Once rice is tender, add sugar or honey to taste. Top with pistachios before serving warm or chilled.
Tips for Making Great Milk Desserts
- High-quality dairy is non-negotiable. Use the freshest cold milk possible, at least 2% milk fat for richness. Artisanal cream, butter, and cheeses take flavors over the top.
- Follow recipe guidelines closely, especially temperature changes for custards and curds. Heat and cool gradually for the smoothest textures.
- Patience pays off when chilling, setting, freezing, and thawing. Allow puddings, ice cream bases, cheesecake fillings, and more to fully chill in stages between recipe steps. Rushing can ruin the delicate dairy proteins.
- Make it pretty! Garnish finished desserts with fresh fruit like berries, mango slices, or citrus. Toasted nuts or chocolate shavings also complement. Homemade whipped cream adds lightness and texture.
- Embrace substitutions to avoid dairy allergies. Swap in coconut or almond milk, vegan chocolate, or even mashed avocado in mousse.
The Healthy Benefits of Milk
- Milk is filled with calcium, which studies show can prevent bone diseases like osteoporosis as we age by supporting bone density. The calcium is even more effective when combined with vitamin D, which milk is commonly fortified with.
- Milk contains high levels of potassium, an essential nutrient for maintaining healthy blood pressure. Make a smoothie with potassium-rich cow’s milk blended with bananas, oranges, and spinach to easily meet your daily requirements.
- The high-quality complete protein in milk is packed with essential amino acids that stimulate muscle growth, development, and repair– ideal for fitness goals. Milk helps build strength in bodies of all ages.
- Milk is a great source of B vitamins, especially vitamin B12 which creates red blood cells that carry oxygen through the body. Vegans should take note as B12 mainly comes from animal products like wholesome dairy milk.
- With options like cream-rich whole milk, two percent, one percent, and non-fat, milk can accommodate most any dietary needs or restrictions. Use whole milk for luxurious creamy desserts and lighter versions for everyday drinking.
A Sweet Finish
Homemade milk-based desserts like ice cream, creamy rice pudding, and crème brûlée are simple treats that can impress any crowd. When prepared with care using fresh dairy milk and allowed to properly chill and set, these desserts can be as elegant and smooth as any gourmet creation.
Beyond being delicious, nutrient-rich milk remains an invaluable addition to a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle for all ages.
At Fresh Farms, we carry the freshest dairy products and seasonal produce to help you craft showstopping desserts and nourishing meals. Browse our online selection or visit any of our locations for inspiration any day, and whip up sweet treats with dairy goodness when National Milk Day rolls around this January 11th.