Back to the Future Chocolate Malted Milkshakes: 1955 vs 2015


Above: My other half reclaimed these beautiful old milk bottles from an old building he was restoring. Aren’t they gorgeous?

In the cult film Back to the Future, Doc Brown and Marty McFly land in 1955 and in the sequel, Back to the Future 2, the duo head to 2015, a futuristic land of flying cars and hovercrafts. Me and my brother loved these films as kids. Who wouldn’t? A glimpse into the future and a glance at the retro past. So to pay tribute to these iconic films, I’ve created two recipes – one from 1955 and the other from 2015. My theme? Chocolate malted milkshakes of course.

It’s been an interesting experiment trying to work out what would have been available in the 1950s. So I referred to my oracle on this particular decade, my Dad, who was 13 years old in 1955 and at that age, arguably a connoisseur of milkshakes.

Although chocolate syrup was a popular ingredient in milkshakes found in American-themed diners of the time, most households in the 1950s would have had access to cocoa powder, so I’ve used this as the chocolate basis of this drink. In terms of malt flavour, it’s possible they would have used malt powder in its raw unprocessed form, which is almost impossible to find these days, unless you buy in bulk from the USA. So I’ve used Horlicks to add malty flavour to this milkshake, a brand which has been established in the UK since 1909. For the creamy base, I used whole milk and some vanilla Cornish clotted cream dairy ice cream.



“The Chocolate Malty McFly”

1955 Chocolate Malt Milkshake Recipe:

400ml whole milk

6 teaspoons of cocoa powder

4 tablespoons of Horlicks malt powder

2 giant scoops of vanilla ice cream (I used Cornish Clotted Ice Cream form M&S)

2 teaspoons of sugar

Serves 2 (or 1 large serving)

Method: Simply whizz up these ingredients in a blender. Optional – add a couple of drops of vanilla extract to taste if you wish. Serve in a highball glass or if you have one, an old-school milk bottle with paper straw.


Fast forward 60 years and things have changed. OK, so we might still use the 1950’s ingredients, but to illustrate a point, we’re more health aware than ever and in 2015 there are lots of healthier alternatives, which have been processed far less.

I’ve opted for a dairy-free version. For my 2015 chocolate malt milkshake recipe I’ve used: unsweetened almond milk, pure malt extract from a jar, organic and dairy free dark chocolate single-sourced from the Dominican Republic and lastly, Booja-Booja vanilla ice cream which uses four simple ingredients: cashew nuts, pure water, vanilla and agave syrup.



“Doc Brown’s Hipster Shake”

2015 Chocolate Malt Milkshake Recipe:

70g Dark chocolate

400ml Alpro Unsweetened Almond milk

2 giant scoops of Booja-Booja vanilla ‘ice cream’

1 tablespoon of malt extract

Serves 2 (or 1 large serving)

Method: Roughly chop 70g of the chocolate and place into a measuring jug. Bring 200ml of the milk just to the boil, then pour over the chocolate and the malt extract, stirring to melt. Once melted, cool.

Pour the cooled chocolate malt milk into the blender with the ice cream and remaining milk. Blitz until blended, then pour into 2 jam jars or mini retro bottles (these ones were bought from the Chocolate Deli in Walsingham a few weeks ago).



PicFrame 2

Taste: 1955 

The 1950’s milkshake was my partner’s favourite, predictable perhaps because he’s the biggest sweet tooth in the land. He’s also not a fan of dark chocolate. He inhaled this milkshake last night and commented how good it was, high praise indeed from my biggest critic.

For me, I did really enjoy this milkshake too. It was super creamy but perhaps just a little too sweet for my taste buds. It had a very familiar flavour and reminded me of the kind of milkshake you’d find in a burger joint. The malt flavour was lovely but being a big malt fan, next time I’d be tempted to add more Horlicks.

1955 Overall Taste: 8 out of 10

Taste: 2015 

I preferred the 2015 version and that’s because a) I drink almond milk with everything, I love its light, nutty flavour b) I’m addicted to Booja-Booja ice cream and c) I LOVE the taste of real chocolate especially when melted. For me, this milkshake had more of an authentic flavour. It tasted natural if that makes any sense. (Not surprising considering the plant-based ingredients.) It also uses 70g of high-grade dark chocolate, which made it more chocolatey than the other version with a deeper flavour. It was less rich and creamy than the 1950s recipe, but still extremely velvety.

2015 Overall Taste: 9 out of 10

~ NUTRITIONAL VALUE 1955 vs 2015 ~


As you’d guess, the ingredients in the 1955 recipe made for a richer more fattening version. I’m not a nutritionist, but based on my calculations this is what I discovered (this is based on both servings which can also make one large serving):

                                    1955                                                   2015

Calories                      920                                                     651

Saturated Fat              24g                                                   17.6g

The 2015 version has around 30% less calories and saturated fat compared to the 1955 recipe. Now, the reason the 2015 recipe still seems quite high in saturated fat is because of the generous use of dark chocolate. If you were to substitute the dark chocolate for a good quality organic cocoa powder, then the difference would look like this:

                                     1955                                                   2015

Calories                       920                                                     290

Saturated Fat              24g                                                     2.4g

Wowzers, a much healthier version. After the shoot, I tried out this version of the recipe and it tasted absolutely lovely. Felt far naughtier than it actually was in reality!


Plus, a little birdy once told me that plant-based foods (such as the ingredients found in the 2015 recipe) uses 3 times less land, 5 times less CO2 emissions and 2.5 less water to produce. It’s a no brainer really.

So which recipe do you think you’d try? My 1955 version or the 2015? Cast your votes now. Do let me know if you try one of these recipes, would love to hear what you think.

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