Kid-friendly Sweet Spumoni Shakes Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Sweet Spumoni Shakes

Recipe: Sweet Spumoni Shakes

Sweet Spumoni Shakes

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by Olivka888/
prep time
5 minutes
cook time
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Sweet Spumoni Shakes

What do you get when you blend the rich sweetness of condensed milk with the robust notes of cocoa, the warm essence of vanilla, and the tartness of frozen cherries? You get a sippable homage to spumoni and a terrific way to wrap up any Italian feast!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • blend :

    to stir together two or more ingredients until just combined; blending is a gentler process than mixing.

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

Equipment Checklist

  • Blender (or pitcher + immersion blender)
  • Can opener
  • Measuring spoons
  • Liquid measuring cup


Sweet Spumoni Shakes

  • 7 oz sweetened condensed milk **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub 1 C dairy-free/nut-free plain yogurt + 1/2 C granulated sugar)**
  • 1 T cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY use certified gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor—check label)**
  • 1 C frozen cherries
  • 1 C water
  • 1 C ice

Food Allergen Substitutions

Sweet Spumoni Shakes

  • Dairy: For 7 oz sweetened condensed milk, substitute 1 C dairy-free/nut-free plain yogurt + 1/2 C granulated sugar.
  • Gluten/Wheat: Use certified gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor.


Sweet Spumoni Shakes


Spumoni typically refers to a tri-colored combination of cherry, pistachio, and chocolate ice creams. This recipe will skip the bright green pistachio (SFC is 100% nut-free). Instead, we will try to recreate the iconic flavor in a nut-free way.

measure + blend

Measure and dump everything into a blender (or pitcher for use with an immersion blender). You will need 7 ounces sweetened condensed milk, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 cup frozen cherries, 1 cup water, and 1 cup ice. Blend until smooth. Try some Italian counting while you blend: 1 uno (ooh-noh), 2 due (dooh-eh), 3 tre (treh), 4 quattro (kwat-troh), and 5 cinque (cheen-kweh). Feel free to add more of any ingredient to adjust the flavor.

pour + slurp

Pour the shake into cups and enjoy! "Salute" (sah-LOO-teh) or "Cheers" in Italian!

Surprise Ingredient: Cherry!

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Photo by Tatevosian Yana/

Hi! I'm Cherry!

"My name is a tree, a fruit, a wood, a color, and a female name! My skin is often a rich, dark red color, and when you bite into me, my flesh is the same color! You can eat around the pit in my center and spit it out (or remove it with your fingers). If you want to remove the pit first, pull out my stem and insert the narrow end of a chopstick (or similar tool) into the hole left by the stem. Then push the pit out through the other end, or use a cherry pitter if you have one!"

History & Etymology

  • The cherry is a stone fruit or drupe. People have been eating cherries for thousands of years. Archaeological evidence of wild (sweet) cherries has been found in Europe from the Early Bronze Age, about 2077 BCE. They were probably being domesticated and grown by 800 BCE.
  • Turkey produces the most sweet variety of cherries, followed by the United States. Russia is the largest producer of sour cherries. Washington, California, and Oregon grow the most sweet cherries in the US, and Michigan grows the most sour cherries.
  • The Rainier cherry was named for Mount Rainier in Washington State and was developed in 1952 at Washington State University by crossing a Bing cherry with a Van cherry.
  • Maraschino cherries are sweetened, preserved sour cherries originally made with Marasca cherries from the Dalmatia region on the Croatian coast. They were preserved with Maraschino liqueur made from cherries and their pits, stems, and leaves. However, the maraschino cherries we use now are made with Queen (Royal) Anne cherries soaked in a sweetened, non-alcoholic syrup with artificial red food coloring added and are really imitation maraschino cherries. 
  • Ornamental cherry trees are grown for their beauty when they flower. They grow naturally in Japan and other countries. Large displays of cherry tree blossoms attract tourists in springtime to places in Japan, the US (especially Washington DC), and other countries. 
  • Cherry trees produce a reddish-brown hardwood used to make furniture, cabinets, and musical instruments. You can also smoke meat using cherry wood chips. 
  • The world record for cherry-pit spitting is over 93 feet! Brian Krause, part of the Krause family cherry-pit spitting dynasty, set the record at an annual contest in Eau Claire, Michigan, in 2004. 
  • The cherry is the state fruit of Utah. 
  • The English word "cherry" comes from the Old Northern French "cherise," from the Latin "cerasum," based on the Greek "kerasos."  


  • The average life for a cherry tree is 15 to 30 years, although black cherry trees can live up to 250 years. However, the oldest cherry blossom tree in Japan, the "Jindai Zakura," is about 2,000 years old!
  • Cherry fruit grows on a flowering tree from the Prunus genus, which belongs to the Rosaceae (rose) family. The two main species used commercially are the sweet cherry (Prunus avium) and the sour cherry (Prunus cerasus). There are over 1,000 varieties; however, we will highlight only four common ones: 
  • Bings are sweet red cherries and dark red when ripe. They taste sweet with just a bit of tartness and are suitable for snacking, salads, ice cream, or baked goods.
  • Rainiers are sweet cherries that are yellow and reddish-pink. They are good in salads and for snacking.
  • Queen (Royal) Anne cherries are sweet and look like Rainiers but are more tart. They are often covered in chocolate for candies, used in baking, and to make modern maraschino cherries.
  • Montmorency cherries are sour cherries primarily grown in the state of Michigan. They are light red, tart, and can be used year-round because they are often canned, dried, or frozen. They are used in pies, cobblers, and, if dried, in trail mix or salads.
  • Fruit from the Black cherry tree (Prunus serotina) can be eaten raw, and the cherries are also added to baked goods, jelly, wine, and yogurt. They are sweet cherries and are dark red to almost black when ripe. In addition, black cherry wood is used in cabinet and furniture-making. 

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • When picking cherries, make sure they are firm, plump, and shiny, with attached green stems. There should be no bruises, cracks, holes, or wrinkles. Bing cherries should be dark red and Rainier cherries bright yellow and red. 
  • Store unwashed cherries immediately in a plastic bag in the refrigerator with their stems attached. Try to eat or cook them within seven days. Rinse in a colander before using, and then pat them dry with a kitchen or paper towel.
  • Cherry cake, pie, cobblers, crisps, and tarts are popular desserts. Cherries are also made into jelly or preserves, ice cream, milkshakes, syrups, and sauces to accompany grilled or roasted meat. Raw cherries are great for a snack, but they can also be sliced or chopped to add to salads. 
  • Maraschino cherries are sour cherries soaked in sweet syrup. They are used to garnish ice cream, gelatin desserts, pudding, milkshakes, cocktails, and soft drinks (especially cherry sodas). 
  • It takes about 80 cherries to make a homemade cherry pie! 


  • Cherries have a moderate amount of vitamin C and fiber, and sour cherries have about 50 percent more vitamin C than sweet cherries.
  • Some studies indicate that cherries, which have antioxidants, help repair damage to the cells of our bodies and aid our muscles in their recovery after a strenuous workout. They also may help prevent gout or ease its pain and can be used as a sleep aid.
  • Some of these purported health benefits require eating a lot of cherries, so it may be beneficial to drink a concentrated cherry juice instead. 
  • As their names imply, sweet cherries contain more sugar than the sour varieties, but you would not want to eat the sour type raw.
  • A cherry pit is inedible, and the kernel inside it is toxic if ingested in large amounts. 


Let's Learn About Italy!

Photo by Marina Andrejchenko/
  • Italy became a unified country in 1861, only 150 years ago. It is sometimes called "bel paese" or "beautiful country."  
  • Italians invented the piano and the thermometer! 
  • In ancient Roman mythology, two twin brothers named Romulus and Remus founded Rome, Italy's capital city. The myth says the twins were abandoned and then discovered by a she-wolf before being found and raised by a shepherd and his wife. Eventually (and after many exciting adventures), they found themselves at the location of Palatine Hill, where Romulus built "Roma." The Italian wolf became Italy's unofficial national animal. 
  • In the 1930s and 40s, Mussolini, Italy's prime minister, and dictator tried to eliminate all foreign words from the Italian language. How did he do that? He just changed them! For example, in soccer, "goal" became "meta." Disney character names changed, too: Donald Duck became "Paperino;" Mickey Mouse became "Topolino;" and Goofy became "Pippo." Although they're not banned anymore, these words and names have stuck. So now if you go to the Italian Disneyland, called Gardaland Park, you will see Topolino and Pippo! 
  • About 60 million people call Italy home, and it is 116,350 square miles, slightly larger than the US state of Arizona. If you compare that to the United Kingdom, 67 million people live there, and it is about 94,350 square miles. So, the UK is smaller than Italy but has a bigger population! 
  • The Italian flag is green, white, and red. These colors represent hope, faith, and charity.
  • The average Italian eats close to 55 pounds of pasta annually. If you think about how light pasta is, that is a considerable amount! There are more than 500 different types of pasta eaten in Italy today. 

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Italy?

  • Kids begin school at 6 years old. They grow up speaking Italian, but they learn English in school, so many become bilingual in Italian and English.
  • The most popular sport for kids is football (soccer). The Italian word for soccer is "calcio," the same word they use for "kick." A favorite of younger kids is "Rody, the bouncing horse," a plastic horse that a small child can hop onto and bounce around the room. Rody was invented in Italy in 1984.  
  • The family ("la famiglia") is a central characteristic of Italian life. Children have great respect for their older relatives. It is traditional to name the first male child after the grandfather and the first female child after the grandmother.
  • If kids live close to school, they can go home and have lunch with their families! Lunch at school might be pasta, meat with vegetables, a sandwich, or a salad with lots of ingredients. Families typically eat dinner later (7 to 8 pm), so kids end up staying up later, too!
  • Between lunch and dinner, kids often enjoy "merenda," which is an afternoon snack that translates to "something that is deserved." It is really a mini-meal that can include both savory and sweet foods. Examples of savory foods are a salami or mortadella sandwich, a slice of rustic bread rubbed with a cut, raw tomato, or "pizza bianca" (white pizza without tomato sauce). Types of sweet foods eaten during merenda are "gelato" (a lower-fat type of ice cream), any kind of cake, or biscotti dipped in warm milk.

That's Berry Funny

What did the ice cream say to the fruit? 

"You are the Cherry on top!"

THYME for a Laugh

What do you call people who like to drink hot chocolate all year long? 


That's Berry Funny

Why did the cherry go to the chocolate factory?

It was cordially invited.

THYME for a Laugh

What do you call stolen cocoa? 

Hot chocolate!

The Yolk's On You

What did the Sticky Fingers Cooking kids say to their mini mahogany cakes? 

"You are Cherry, Cherry Sweet!"

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