One of the things I have reluctantly begun to use in my food storage and cooking is powdered milk. I say “reluctantly” because it’s true – we grew up on powdered, skim milk (bleah!) and I left all of that behind with adulthood when I had a choice about milk.
From a taste-standpoint, I can’t stand the stuff still to this day. But from a convenience standpoint, powdered milk is great to have on hand. So I have some. I used it in a recipe called “Magic Mix,” which is a do-everything recipe from the Utah State University Extension Office and found it … lacking. I could taste the flour in the mix and the powdered skim milk left me underwhelmed. I also saw benefit of having it on hand – for things like a Cheeseburger Macaroni dish, cooked pudding that my son adores, etc. – and it really takes a lot of the “scary” out of scratch-cooking. It’s the base for white sauces, cream soups (without tons of preservatives), puddings, cheese sauces, and more. I decided to take a whack at it and improve it.
The first thing I did was decide to cook the mix. So where a recipe calls for Magic Mix and water, I decided to put the Mix in a pan on medium heat and cook it – much like I would if I was making a roux. You always cook the roux ingredients before adding water (or broth or whatever your liquid is) to create the sauce – otherwise you taste flour.
Then I decided to forgo the powdered skim milk and use powdered whole milk. I understand why skim is used for long-term storage (there’s no fat to induce rancidity). But the powdered whole milk tastes SO much better and is similarly priced, although I buy it locally in the Hispanic food section of a mass-merchandiser and not a place that specializes in long-term food storage. The whole milk is marketed under the brand “Nido” and can be found in WalMart stores, other grocery chains, or online.
Those things said, I monkeyed with the recipe yesterday and am chronicling the making of Seriously Awesome Chocolate Pudding today. My son adores this stuff, and even though I’m not a chocolate fan, I find it pretty decent. For chocolate, that is. 😉
Sue’s Adapted Magic Mix
- 2 c. powdered whole milk
- 2 c. all-purpose flour (I like Ultragrain AP)
- 1 c. butter, softened to room temperature
In a stand mixer or bowl with a hand mixer, place the milk, flour, and butter and start mixing at a low speed. I kick it up to high speed in order to achieve the following results that resemble cornmeal:
You now have 5 cups of Magic Mix ready to use. I store it in the fridge to prevent it from going rancid, but its usefulness isn’t diminished by keeping it cold, since the best use is to heat it first. You’ll need 2/3 c. Mix to 1 c. of water to equal 1 c. of white (cream) sauce, which is the basis for most Magic Mix recipes.
Seriously Awesome Chocolate Pudding
- 1 c. Magic Mix
- ½ c. + 1 T. sugar
- 2-3 T. cocoa powder (may be omitted for a vanilla pudding)
- 2 c. water
- 1 t. vanilla
In a pan, place your Mix and choose medium heat. You want to heat this mixture until you see the butter in the recipe becoming somewhat translucent. The mix will begin to “clump” together as it heats – stir it gently with a whisk while this happens. You’re cooking the flour in the mix and will yield a MUCH better tasting final product with this step.
Then, once the mix is clumpy and heated through, add in the cocoa powder and stir well.
Remove the pan temporarily from the heat and add in sugar and water, stirring well. Return the pan to the heat and continue to stir with a whisk until everything is well-combined. Cook the mixture until it bubbles, stirring gently while it cooks.
Remove from heat, whisk in the vanilla, and allow to cool.
This is a cooked pudding, which means it WILL form a “skin” if you leave it to cool alone. I prevent this skin by putting a small piece of plastic wrap gently on the surface of the pudding and allowing it to cool that way.
I served this in wine glasses for a “special” touch – I’m not sure my son cares about the means of delivery, because he loves it any way it’s served.