{recipe} Palm Springs Date Shake

Have I mentioned that one of my favorite places in the entire world is Palm Springs, California? I love it so much, I got married there. Not only does it offer breathtaking desert landscapes and mid-century modern marvels, it’s also home to a very specific regional culinary delight: the date shake.

It’s estimated that 99% of US-grown dates are from the Palm Springs area, so it’s not all that surprising they invented this delicious way to enjoy them. Originating in the Middle East, dates have been around for thousands of years, and many cultures believe them to be essential for health. They were introduced to California by Spanish missionaries in the 1700s, who found that the desert in the Coachella Valley, around Palm Springs, was the perfect spot to grow dates.

Dates can get a bad rap–probably because they’re easily confused with unsexy things like prunes–but a fresh date is a thing of beauty, sweet as candy and good in so many recipes. Dates feature in my all-time favorite cookie recipe, Robert’s chewy amazing oatmeal cookies. If you have really sweet, soft dates, you can also make them into a super simple frozen treat I call “ice cream dates.” Yes, dates have a pretty high sugar content, but they also have a lot of fiber, potassium, antioxidants, and other nutrients. People make some pretty outlandish health claims about dates, but there is some reasonably strong evidence to back it up: I found peer-reviewed journal studies showing that dates may stimulate the immune systemprotect the kidneysaid pregnant women with labor and delivery outcomes, and prevent certain kinds of stroke. Furthermore, nutrition scientists have found that due to their nutritional content, they may be “an almost ideal food.”

Of course, this date shake involves ice cream and milk, so you might be questioning just how healthy it is. Forgetting the ice cream for a minute, many Middle Easterners believe that mixing dates and milk enhances the nutritional qualities of both. In fact, dates in milk is a traditional way to break the Ramadan fast. Dates and milk together are also one of the first foods introduced to babies after breast milk. But it’s not really about the health for me, it’s more about closing my eyes and being transported temporarily to that desert date palm landscape I love so much.

Recipe: Palm Springs Date Shake
I asked how they make the shakes at Oasis Date Gardens and this is what they told me. Makes one. And don’t worry, this ain’t rocket science, y’all.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup fresh dates (I like to use Medjools)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream

METHOD:

  • Remove pits from dates.
  • Put dates and milk in a blender and mix until smooth.
  • Add ice cream and blend until creamy.
  • Drink immediately.
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12 comments

1 Martha { 02.24.12 at 6:36 pm }

you had me at “antioxidant.” but as you know. I am a date fan. especially when combined with ice cream. gonna go get me some low fat slow churned vanilla and some dates right now!

2 Becky {Becky Bakes} { 02.25.12 at 7:33 am }

This sounds fantastic, I am definitely a sucker for dates. I’ve heard great things about date shakes but have never actually tried one. This is just the push I need! Thanks for sharing!

3 Karen { 02.25.12 at 10:23 am }

@Becky awesome! Hope you like it.

4 Jack { 02.25.12 at 4:42 pm }

All the dates sank to the bottom. The flavor was still good but the texture sucked. Any ideas?

5 Karen { 02.25.12 at 6:55 pm }

@Jack oh no! It sounds like you may not have pureed the dates with the milk long enough before adding the ice cream- or maybe the dates were a little hard? If you start with soft dates and puree them very well with the milk there shouldn’t really be any date pieces big enough to sink to the bottom. So that would be my suggestion. :)

6 Carl { 02.27.12 at 1:13 am }

I love this shake because I love dates so much. Thank you for sharing this.
Carl recently posted..Eyelid Surgery Complications

7 Karen { 02.27.12 at 1:16 am }

@Carl awesome – thanks for commenting.

8 Sandra { 02.29.12 at 8:38 am }

I can live with dates having some sugar especially that they contain a variety of healthy contents. California is lovely place and it is no wonder you love it there so much. Thank you for sharing these delicious dates desserts.
Sandra recently posted..DTS Home

9 Karen { 02.29.12 at 9:22 am }

@Sandra thank you for your comment!

10 Dave { 06.07.12 at 2:54 pm }

Karen im totally with you about people making outlandish claims about dates being high in sugar. I think the high fiber content is overlooked, this helps keep the G.I. index of the actual food down, not to mention its packed with so many healthy nutrients. Great taste, good nutrition. What more could we want?! Awesome recipe Karen. Thank you

11 tanya1234 { 09.11.12 at 2:49 pm }

:)

12 10 Slurp-tastic Spring Smoothies | Healthy Way To Cook { 03.25.14 at 9:01 am }

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