This year, the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB), creators of Got Milk? and Toma Leche, has teamed up with culinary artist Bricia Lopez to create a series of chilled, easy-to-make milk-based treats that capture iconic Latin American flavors and aromas. In four distinctive forms—aguas frescas (sweetened waters), licuados (smoothies), paletas esquimales (dipped popsicles) and raspados (snow cones)—these creations are guaranteed to refresh, delight your palate and maybe even transport you down memory lane, according to CMPB.
“I had a blast making these,” says Lopez, co-owner of La Guelaguetza in Los Angeles. “As I blended cantaloupes, berries, spices and other fruits with the cool milk and ice, I reminisced about my favorite childhood summer treats in Oaxaca (Mexico).
“I gave these to my sisters to try first,” she adds, “and they all shrieked with happiness ‘this is just like what we had back in the mercados in Oaxaca!’ I really hope Californians enjoy them, too.”
Lopez’s recipe flavors range from the kid-approved—juicy ripe cantaloupe, fresh berries and sweet coconut—to the nostalgic, and the intrepid—lemon custard dipped in Maria cookies or even Mexican cafe de olla with chocolate.
Lopez’s favorite summer recipes include:
• Aguas frescas—Nothing quenches thirst better than these iced beverages. The touch of milk added to these fruity aguas frescas keeps the drink light but also gives it a silky smooth consistency. Recipes include sweet cantaloupe with mint, pineapple with pecans and horchata with strawberry.
• Licuados—These Latin-style smoothies are the perfect blend of creamy milk and garden fresh fruits, perfect for a quick-start breakfast during the hot summer months. For refreshing twists, try a melon with raspberry licuado or the vitamin packed avocado-banana recipe.
• Paletas Esquimales (dipped popsicles)—How can you kick-up a good old-fashioned paleta? Making it a hand-dipped esquimal, of course. Reminisce about favorite flavors with Lopez’s cafe de olla con leche (Mexican-style coffee) popsicle, dipped in chocolate. Or pucker up with the lemon pie paleta sprinkled with crushed Maria cookies or the creamy coconut-pineapple popsicle with extra coconut.
• Raspados (shaved ice/snow cones)—Shaved ice topped with real fruit and milk make these snow cones quite the favorite among the kids and kids at heart. Try a traditional nuez con coco (walnut with coconut) raspado or a Glorias (sliced bananas topped with shaved ice, vanilla flavored milk, fresh strawberries and a sprinkle of cinnamon).
“These treats are innovative and show many refreshing ways to use milk,” says Steve James, executive director of CMPB. “Bricia’s recipes seamlessly blend traditional Hispanic flavors into frozen treats that the entire family can enjoy all summer long.”