by Karen Swan
I am somewhat of a MILO connoisseur. Growing up, my sister and I had a very precise way of drinking our MILO that could not be deviated from, lest our mother want to experience the meltdown of all meltdowns. “MILO, milk, MILO and DON’T MIX” was our mantra. 2 heaped scoops of MILO on the bottom of the glass, topped with milk, then 2 more heaped spoons sprinkled on top. Simple you say? Ah, but no. Should the MILO on the bottom of the glass float to the surface before the top MILO had been eaten and the milk drunk, then it was deemed an epic failure.
Fast forward to 2015 and one coeliac diagnosis later, means I can no longer sit in front of late night telly, big green jar and spoon in hand, scooping mouthful after delicious mouthful of malty chocolate granules into my gob. My son however, has been passed on the Milo Milk Milo torch and enjoys my childhood treat.
I’ve been lucky enough over this past year to be a regular guest on the hilarious Lish Fejer’s ABC 666 Canberra’s ‘Sunday Brunch’ program to take on the ‘Make it or Buy it’ challenge. So far we’ve done packet cakes, tinned baked beans, and now, my beloved MILO. I had seen, on various Thermomix owning friends social media, that there was a homemade recipe for MILO doing the rounds. Keeping the recipe gluten free meant that I couldn’t add any malt flavour, so I will admit that the end result, though ridiculously close to the real thing, does lack some MILO flavour. However, if my 6 year old chugged a glass and couldn’t tell the difference, then I’m ALL for it. I used my food processor and instead of grinding all the nuts and seeds to a powder together, I whizzed them up separately to ensure that even the stubborn flax seeds turned to powder (you can see a few sneaky flax seeds still whole in the image, which was of my first attempt when I bunged the lot in together.) I also, after mixing the powdered nuts, seeds, cacao and coconut sugar in a bowl, then put the lot back in the food processor to ensure a lovely, grainy texture.
Not to be outdone, Lish went the more traditional route, using malt extract to create a caramel that she then powdered before adding the rest of the ingredients. I’m told this involved much swearing and realisations that a candy thermometer comes in handy when making, er, candy. Still, her end result, though perhaps a little ‘over caramalised’ was definitely more ‘MILO-esque’ than my hippie version. I’m going to have a bash at it using honey instead of the malt syrup to make the candy and see how I go. I’ll keep you posted.
Meanwhile, should you want to go for the healthy version or the traditional version, it’s definitely worth having a crack!
Homemade Milo Recipes
1 and 1/4 cup mixed nuts (almonds cashews pecans)
1/4 cup seeds (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin) ** if using flax seeds, it works best to use already ground flax. You could also sub pre-powdered LSA mix**
1 cup cocoa powder or raw cacao
1 cup (or more to taste) coconut sugar (on my second batch, I added more. I like the caramel flavour of the coconut sugar and it balanced some of the bitterness from the seeds)
Process the nuts in a food processor, coffee grinder or blender until they form a powder (not a paste!)
Process the seeds to a powder as above.
Stir through the cacao/cocoa and the coconut sugar and store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
100ml barley malt syrup or rice malt syrup (a weird sticky viscous honey-like substance available from supermarkets and health food shops)
Vanilla powder (optional)
1/2 cup cocoa powder or raw cacao
1/2 cup milk powder
Measure out malt syrup and butter into saucepan. Bring to boil and boil until ‘hard ball’ stage – it needs to be brittle. This could be just at the point before the mixture browns/deepens in colour BUT before it burns.
Pour onto a tray lined with silicon baking paper. Leave to cool
When cool, blitz in blender or food processor (or just hammer it in a plastic bag), add dry ingredients and keep blending. Store in an airtight container. Eat by the spoonful.