palm springs date shake + monkey flip

It’s been two months since I told you I was California dreaming and I fear it hasn’t passed. I thought maybe I just longed for warmer weather, but spring has more or less arrived and I no less crave avocados that don’t require a week of hovering to capture their narrow window of edibility. I thought maybe I just needed a vacation, but we took a short one and I still found myself looking at photos from a certain large music festival in the Coachella Valley and thinking it looked kind of fun. (WHO AM I.) And last month, I went down a date shake rabbit hole and I haven’t come out since. At least these we can easily make at home.

what you'll need, mostly
professionally styled blender photo ;)

Date palms were planted in the desert between Palm Springs and the Salton Sea as early at the 1890s, but they suffered a popularity problem — mostly people considered them obscure curiosities. As the old people say, necessity is the mother of invention, or in modern terms, all that was needed with the right marketing campaign, and Russ Nichol, a date farmer, landed on the perfect one in 1928, building a roadside shack making milkshakes and malts blended with his oversupply of dates. It wasn’t long before it became one of the iconic symbols of Palm Springs.

just pretend you can see the ingredients in there

I’m sorry if this comes as bad news if you were imagining your new breakfast cleanse, but the Palm Springs Date Shake long predates California as an bastion of healthy cuisine. The date shake is two scoops of vanilla ice cream, a glug of milk and blended dates “without folderol,” a description from Jane Stern that might also be my new favorite word. But you knew I’d manage to find some, didn’t you? It was in my research that I learned about the Monkey Flip also popular at these shake shacks — this version with banana, peanut butter and chocolate syrup. Why choose when you can make both? was my husband’s suggestion, and really, he’s never wrong.

the palm springs date shakes
palm springs date shake + monkey flip

One year ago: Salted Chocolate CHunk Cookies
Two years ago: Lamb Meatballs with Feta and Lemon
Three years ago: Spring Vegetable Potstickers
Four years ago: Cinnamon Toast French Toast
Five years ago: Sour Cream Cornbread with Aleppo
Six years ago: Lime Yogurt Cake with Blackberry Sauce
Seven years ago: Cinnamon Swirl Buns
Eight years ago: Almond Cake with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote and Cauliflower, Kidney Bean and Feta Salad
Nine years ago: Black Bean Confetti Salad and Margarita Cookies

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Twinkie Bundt and Oven Fries
1.5 Years Ago: Cauliflower Cheese and Squash Toasts with Ricotta and Cider Vinegar
2.5 Years Ago: Potato and Broccolini Frittata
3.5 Years Ago: Butternut Squash Salad with Farro and Pepitas and Roasted Pear with Chocolate Chunk Scones
4.5 Years Ago: Pear Cranberry and Gingersnap Crumble

Palm Springs Date Shake


  • Considering this is one of the simplest recipes, I was surprised by the trouble blending dates gave my blender — a Vitamix, seriously. They just rattled around, grinding more finely but never really blending. This is just fine but if you desire a smoother blend, do as we would for sticky toffee pudding and soak them first in boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes (longer if you have time, I never do, however) and blending them with their water to form a puree that is your shake’s base.
  • There are two varieties of dates, the medjool and the deglet noor. The former are preferred for shakes, as they have thinner skins, but with the soaking process below, you should be fine with either.
  • My best shake tip: Keep everything spectacularly cold for the thickest, and least ice cream-melting, shake. I’ll let my glass of milk rest in the freezer, as well as any additional ingredients like the banana, until right before blending them, but taking them out before they freeze solid, of course.

Yield: Makes 2 quite large (pint-sized) shakes or 4 (as shown) 8-ounce shakes. I used these glasses.

1 cup boiling water (optional, see note up top)
1 cup pitted dates (about 120 grams), roughly chopped
A few gratings of fresh nutmeg
2/3 cup milk
2 cups (410 grams) vanilla ice cream
Whipped cream and maraschino cherry, to serve

If you’d like the smoothest date shake: Pour boiling water over dates in a medium bowl, cover with a lid and let steep for 10 to 15 minutes (longer if you have time). Blend both water and dates in blender until smooth — it will seem like too much water at first but will eventually become a thickish puree. Transfer to freezer for a few minutes to cool it, if it’s not cold enough already. Add date puree back to blender bowl, if they’re not there already.

If you don’t mind some nubby bits of dates in your shake: Blend dates with a splash or two of the milk until they’re finely ground.

Both methods: Add nutmeg, milk and ice cream and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses, top with whipped cream and a cherry.

To Make A Monkey Flip

Use all the ingredients above, plus 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter, 1/4 cup chocolate syrup and 2 medium bananas and blend until smooth. You’ll end up with 5 small (8-ounce) shakes instead of 4, but that last one can be your little secret.

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118 comments on palm springs date shake + monkey flip

  1. I bought boxes and boxes of dates when I went to Israel a few years ago and then proceeded to make a million date shakes when I came back. i never though to add peanut butter, thanks for the tip!

  2. Would you believe we have dates in the house because I made your cabbage, feta and date salad this week? Great Passover recipe, btw. (The sesame seeds are permitted by some, but I won’t even bother going into arcane details.) Have you seen the clip that’s been going around the internet about softening avocados in 10 minutes by wrapping them in foil and putting them in a 200F oven? I bought two rock solid avocados for a buck each and they were actually perfect by the next morning so I still don’t have an answer.

  3. Linda

    I give up in despair after a week of not seeing you post and when I come back I find not one, but TWO new recipes????

    Are you going for a recipe-a-day streak, as previously seen on SK?? ;)
    (Crosses fingers)

    Looks great, as usual.

    1. deb

      Linda — Ha! I wish. In the future (i.e. after I finish my next cookbook, hopefully by the summer), you might be able to talk me into it. :)

  4. I love little chunks of dates in the smoothie. I feel it gives a nice texture to the drink. I never like smoothies or shakes to be super smooth. Maybe little crazy but it’s gonna be nice when you surprise yourself with those little chunks of ingredients in a shake. Beautiful recipe and loved the rich color of the shake.

  5. mimi

    Sounds delicious! I just bought a fresh bag of dates from Costco and have all the other ingredients at home, so I know what I’m making for dessert tonight (even though it’s 45 and raining here in Michigan…). Regarding blending the dates, it seems like they may blend up pretty well if you add all of the milk to the dates instead of a just a splash? I will try that in my Vitamix. I don’t mind little bits of date in my smoothies though, so I’m sure I wouldn’t mind them in a shake either.

  6. Emily

    Deb, are these not unbearably sweet? I’m scared to add super sweet dates to already sweet vanilla ice cream, especially since I find most vanilla shakes are too sweet at is it. I know you reduce the sugar in recipes all the time- how do you handle the sweetness levels here? I mean, I love a good dessert so I’m not looking for a health food here, but it looks like the kind of thing it’d be impossible to drink more than a swallow or two of?

    1. deb

      Emily — Sorry for the delay. They are sweet but somehow not hideously so (to me). However, we kept them small. I think it helps feel more like a delicious dish of ice cream with a straw. Here’s how I’d make it less sweet: swap milk for ice cream, 1/4 cup at a time. I vote for keeping the milk in the freezer, even until it gets slushy, so you’re not going to lose cold creaminess while reducing the thick ice cream component.

  7. Nikki

    If you want to nudge the needle on these bad boys toward the healthy side, skip the ice cream and go with 2 c almond milk and 1/2 c of old fashioned oats. All of the creamy sweetness and none of the dairy! Plus you can throw in some hemp seed or protein powder and call it “breakfast”!

  8. Marian M

    Dates, luv ’em. We get our fill when we make our yearly trek to Cali. If you’re in the area and get a chance, go visit Shields Date Garden. They have an retro-quirky (in a good way :)) mini-documentary about the history of dates in the Coachella Valley – “The Romance and Sex Life of Dates”.

    I’ll try my hand at the monkey flip next time :D

  9. Julia

    The date shakes I’ve had during my Joshua Tree trips are not completely smooth — they do have some discernable date bits in them, and I like it that way. I like the ones at Windmill Market & Produce in N Palm Springs; I think they use fresh dates (which they also sell) while many of the other places use pre-pulped and frozen dates.
    @Emily – I also usually prefer things less sweet, and date shakes are indeed very sweet. I couldn’t eat a whole shake of the size that are sold, but do enjoy them in small quantities. One way to reduce the sweetness would be to use a completely unsweetened nondairy milk (almond or coconut would be nice here) in place of the milk (which is actually a bit sweet itself).

  10. Laura P.

    That looks really tasty. I bet that it would also be awesome with tahini and maybe a little honey, instead of peanut butter and chocolate!

  11. Kris

    I also have dates in the house after making the red cabbage and date salad! Not quite ice cream time yet though here in MTL – but can’t wait to try this! Have you ever had a cashew shake? This smoothie stand we’d go to when I worked briefly in the British Virgin Islands (yup, it was a tough job!) made them – cashews, any kind of milk, banana, ice cubes, and a bit of cinnamon – so good! You could also add sweetener if you wanted but down there the bananas were sweet enough!

  12. I love the date history you provided – it’s so interesting how foods that have been in our diet for more than a century can actually become “trendy.” Not that I’d know from personal experience or anything, but, uh, a friend of mine who lives very far from Palm Springs never ate dates until they started showing up on food blogs as a “natural sweetener” these past few years. Mixing them with ice cream would be fantastic.

  13. Elyssa

    I make a date shake that is slightly (barely) a little bit healthier…just enough that I can call it a smoothie. Madjool dates, frozen banana, almond milk, walnuts and cinnamon. It’s not totally smooth but the texture makes it feel more filling and it tastes like banana bread batter!

  14. Sue

    These sound and look so delicious! I need to get some ice cream to try this. Btw, those are the cutest glasses in the photo! Would you be able to share where you got them?

  15. minik

    About the chunks; it happens to me all the time! BUT I’ve read that when drinking smoothies a chewing motion is always a good idea since digestion starts in the mouth. So, the chunks are actually helping us! Hehe. But I always wondered if my blender was crappy (not a vitamix) or I was doing something wrong…
    Even though it’s not happy weather here your photos made the sun shine on me today! So good.

  16. Kat

    Hey Deb
    For avocados, I let them ripen naturally in my fruit bowl, and when they’re at the perfect level of ripeness I stick them in the fridge and they stay perfect! I usually keep them in there for 1-2 weeks. I can’t tell you if they will last even longer because by then I’ve eaten them. My roommate showed me this trick.

  17. cR

    A little Art, or Photography, History lesson – Do you know the wonderful photographer Edward Weston? If you love his work, be sure to read his Daybooks – diaries that trace his travels and artistic development. It was in the Daybooks that I FIRST heard about date milk shakes. I convinced without the sugar rush/ calorie boost of all those slurped date shakes, much of his glorious photographic work would not exist. He LOVED date milk shakes. ANOTHER reason, folks, to shake a date!

  18. I started keeping dates in the house ever since I made your date/cabbage/feta salad, which is now a revolving staple in my household and on my “favorite salads” list! I dip the dates in peanut butter for a salty & sweet snack so naturally they would be yummy in a shake too!

  19. Liz

    I have spent a ton of time in that area and even visited a date orchard. They must have had 20 varieties there for tasting with more flavor difference than I expected. Even so I knew nothing about these shakes which is why I love this website.

  20. Elisabeth

    I wanted to share a vegan date smoothie: 1 ripe banana, 5 Medjool dates, pitted and enough almond milk to achieve desired consistency. I mix in a Vitamix (without soaking dates) and it becomes extremely smooth. For a more pronounced almond flavor, I add 2 T almond butter

  21. Pam

    Awesome, just in time for unseasonably warm weather, and, a recipe I can easily convert to dairy-free!

    I’m thinking to myself that perhaps a soak in some rum or bourbon (likely overnight) would work to soften the skins instead of hot water. Same effect, different mechanisms? I’ll have to experiment.

  22. Amanda

    Bon Appetit has a recipe for date shakes in this month’s issue, so that and this seem to be a sign that I am meant to make one of these in the near future. YUM.

  23. Allie

    I’ve often dreamed about making date ice cream… I didn’t know this was a thing! Although in my dreams I use dates instead of sugar so it would probably be less sweet than a milkshake.

  24. Anne

    There are even MORE varieties of dates. I bet this shake would be awesome with Barhi dates which taste just like molten brown sugar. Honest they do. If you ever fine some, scoop them up. Also, Flying Disc ranch in So Cal used to do mail order. They may still.

    1. A

      Totally came here, all this time later, to plug Bahri dates—but then I found out that in the US, you can basically only get there here in CA! Apparently they’re too delicate to ship. Happy to get to use them, though—bets date variety for sure!

  25. Dahlink

    Marian M (#13)–when I was growing up in California (many decades ago) we went to a “date festival,” complete with parade. We also saw that documentary about the romance and sex life of the date–can’t believe they are still showing that!

  26. Lili

    There are no dates where I am :(

    But I will make this with jujubes (Chinese dates, which are almost not sweet but very deep tasting.) because your photos look very nice!!!

  27. Jeanne C

    OK, I’ve not done this yet, but I have to now!! If you are loving date shake rabbit hole, you really need to visit the rabbit warren of Moroccan fruit “juices”.

    They are everywhere in the country, but raised to a delightful, delectable and filling art at Top Batido, a juice shop in Rabat. Unfortunately, this will bring you back to avocados, buy it will also give you options… Almost every ingredient under the sun, actually, can and does go into these juices, which are thick enough to hold up a spoon, fluffy, usually smooth as silk, and occasionally even caffeinated. My favorite is dates, avocados, figs, and almonds with out without the addition of bananas in a milk base. They are usually served just below room temperature. I used to visit when a Peace Corps volunteer, on trips to the capitol for training or medical check ups…. And to be honest, a visit to “Juice,” as we called it, was something I’d do multiple times a day!

    But the simple avocado shake/juice, lavoca, was something I had every time I went to market, and was the perfect way to rehydrate and power up after a dusty, crowded bus ride out of the mountains and down to the desert oasis of my backwater market town. So easy to make… Avos, milk, honey, blend! Enjoy!

  28. Lisa

    Recipe sounds great! However there are quite a few more than two varieties of dates out there which will contribute to how well they blend as they’re categorized by how soft they are.

  29. Naomi

    I love date shakes! We live in Phoenix, AZ and when we drive to San Diego for a mini vacation in the summer we always stop at a date farm that is near the AZ/CA border. There is nothing like a date shake when it is 110 degrees outside. Tastes so good and so cold that you forget about how hot it is outside!

  30. Kim

    I had a date shake from a roadside shake shack in Palm Springs over 20 years ago and thought it was the BEST shake ever–and I don’t particularly love overly sweet things. But this was special, and I have never forgotten how good it was. Thank you for recreating it here on your blog!

  31. Marsha

    Growing up in LA, we always stopped a Hadley’s on the way to Palm Springs for the obligatory date shake! Iced cold on a hot day!

  32. I JUST MADE THIS LAST NIGHT from this month’s issue of Bon Appetit (to be honest its the only recipe that even remotely excited me from that magazine in several months). It was tasty but I can’t wait to try yours, which surely will be better.


  33. Nikki

    I make a similar, but healthier version, from the Oh She Glows cookbook. That one uses avocado which I was suspicious about, but it makes the shake so creamy. The peanut butter is a winner in them too!

  34. my middle’ish-aged ‘i went back to school and finally finished!’ celebration get away, was spent in Palm Springs. how on earth did i miss a date shake while there? what kind of folderol is that??!

  35. Emma

    Our two favorite spots for date shakes are Shield’so Date Gardens in Indio, near Palm Springs, & Dateland, AZ, on I-8 east of Yuma. For shakes I recommend Shield’s date crystals, easily rehydrated, also great for baking my pumpkin date nut bread.

    1. mgonzo2u

      All points confirmed from this former Indio resident of 1 year in 1992 and lifetime So Cal resident that absolutely must stop at Shields’ every time I’m anywhere in a 50 mile radius. Their date shakes are that great.

  36. I have only recently begun to use dates in my cooking after a long break from them. My kids are reluctant to try them, but I’m sure these will be a winner.

  37. Linda

    Just reappearing to agree with Lili (#41) here – jujubes are an…er, interesting idea. They’re already soft, so the shake is just…, the fifteen minutes needed to pit them awaY. Plus some people think they taste like blood. :P

    Doesn’t sound very appetizing, I know, but if some day you feel like shaking up your shake…;) (hardy har har.)

    Oh yeah, and to echo a bunch of people, your cabbage, date and feta salad ROCKS.

  38. sarah

    Californian here and I don’t blame you for missing the warm weather and avocados. Date shakes sound absolutely delicious. Have you ever tried dates in chicken broth? There is a Korean delicacy called “samgyetang” – basically a stuffed chicken soup which contains rice, ginseng, and dates. It’s one of my comfort foods, but thought I’d share in case you are interested in making a spinoff of sorts.

  39. Megan

    Oh my that baby is something else. What amazing hair. I can’t believe the epidemic of ‘gingers’ in the last 15 years, about the same length of time that we’ve been told the gene is dying out! Interesting shake recipe, never thought of a date in a shake.

  40. EB

    I lived in LA for a few years and during date season there was a mouthwatering variety of them at the farmer’s market. The best, in my opinion, were the Barhi dates. They were incredibly soft and thin-skinned and tasted EXACTLY like vanilla bourbon caramel. I tell you this not to torture you, but so that when you do fiinally make your way to that part of the country (and you will!) you will be sure to try some while there. I bet you would love them!

  41. Sarah Heat

    I grew up going to the date festival every year. One “healthier” version has frozen bananas instead of ice cream. Still totally sweet, but no ice cream. If you like, you can even make it with nut milk- frozen banana, dates, milk, a couple ice cubes. Yum!

  42. Tawni

    Haha, when you said “without folderol” I thought folderol was a chemical. Thank you for reminding me about date shakes. My dad used to make them all the time for us growing up. Please keep the shake recipes coming! Discovering toasted marshmallow milk shakes was a curse and a blessing last year.

  43. Janae

    Can you believe I live in southern California and “drive to Palm Springs and get a date shake” has been on my to do list for years, and I’ve never done it? Shame on me. Your version looks delicious!

  44. Tracy

    I have been making date smoothies for ages. For a slightly lower fat version I make mine with frozen banana, dates, almond or hazelnut butter and lots of cinammon. The. I add tons of ice a bit of water and usually some fiber meal. Sometimes I add protein powder. It is really fabulous. The cinammon is critical and amazing.

  45. Anne

    Avocado ripening tip: put them in the fruit bowl near bananas to help ripen them faster.

    Super-thick shake tip: Store Vitamix container (including lid and damper) in the freezer ahead of making shakes. It makes a big difference in how frozen the shake stays while blending.

  46. Amy Felice

    What do you think about using figs instead? i have a big bag of dried figs and they usually taste pretty good in smoothies.

    1. deb

      Amy — I was very tempted! I was concerned about the grit of the seeds, but otherwise, I think the flavor could be wonderful as well. Definitely soak them. They’re less creamy than dates.

  47. Soaking the dates! Thank you!! I tried making a date smoothie last year when I was feeling virtuous. It didn’t turn out super great, partly because of my blender’s inability to make the dates smooth, and partly due to the attempt at virtuosness. Going to try ASAP with soaking and without virtuousness. Shake, not smoothie! My mantra for 2016.

  48. Noel

    I make a version of this with coffee/non-dairy milk (cashew, almond, hemp seeds) as the base — adding banana (sometimes frozen), peanut butter, cacao nibs, and dates as the sweetener. On some mornings a coffee milkshake/smoothie is pretty much the only thing that makes it possible to face the day.

  49. Janet

    Best date shake I’ve ever had: date and avocado shake from sidewalk cafes in Morocco. No ice cream, so not as decadent, but this looks like fun :)

  50. Ginny S

    I have only ever visited Palm Springs once in 1986. I had a most memorable and delicious date shake and have never had one since. Can’t wait to recreate it! The visit was when Halley’s Comet was visible from earth (next sighting in 2062). Seeing it in the desert at 3am was spectacular, but the date shake was equally spectacular!

  51. Aileen

    I live in California on the coast, which can stay chilly long into the summer. Sometimes my husband and I drive to Palm Springs to thaw out (it’s close enough for us to make a day trip) and get a date shake from Shields Date Farm. I make the shakes at home with date flakes, which you can buy at Shields’ store, and I think you can order them online.

  52. I’m in the Uk, a long, long way from California, but I guarantee I’m going to dream of these tonight. I can see these being a dessert alternative this week.

  53. Christine

    Nobody has said what they taste like!! Is it toffee-ish? Caramel-ly? Or upgraded vanilla? Anyone? Thanks!

  54. Sue

    I lived in Palm Springs in the 1970’s and these date shakes are a sweet memory of my time there. The Date Festival was a highlight! Thanks Deb!

  55. Jennifer

    Well, if you’d like something like this but healthier, try almond milk, almond butter, frozen banana, dates, chia seeds and strawberries. It’s the perfect blend of fruity and nutty and creamy.

  56. Celeste

    Thank you for posting this as it brought back wonderful a child in the ’60s my family went on several vacations to California. Each time, we HAD to stop at a certain shake shack for a date shake, somewhere between Newport and Laguna. My dad’s favorite!! Never occured to me to try to recreate it….until now. Thanks!

  57. Emily

    I live in the Coachella Valley. You should absolutely come visit us and when you do you need to make a visit to Shields Date Garden in Indio. Amazing date shakes (yes with little pieces of dates in them, that’s just how old school date shakes are) and a great cafe on property that was built where Mrs. Shields originally had her rose garden. Seriously great place.

  58. Laura

    Deb – I smiled when I discovered that I was reading about a shake with dates as opposed to my interpretation of the title – a shake you discovered when on a date in Palm Springs. My interpretation made “monkey flip” seem particularly intriguing. Ha!

    As I mentioned in comment #139 and #141 in Date Breakfast Squares a few months ago, this could be another job for a glorious product called “baking dates” which will again allow you to cut the boiling water corner and still give the puree you seek.

    I implore you to audition this ingredient! (OK, a bit hyperbolic but still, consider them in your next date plunge…meaning date…not date.)

    btw, any successes with Curried Green Tomato Soup?

  59. Amber

    Palm Springs Date Shakes are the best part of the desert! Anytime someone tells me they are going to Palm Springs I tell them to try as many date shakes as possible! There are so many kinds – some with date crystals, some with FroYo, and some like your recipe. I wish they were available other places. I don’t understand why this flavor isn’t a staple at any restaurant/ice cream shop that sells other shake flavors. Thanks for the post! I still haven’t made your sheet pan chicken tikka, but hoping to this week.

  60. CJ

    There’s no need to thaw frozen bananas if they’re going in a shake. Just break them into chunks with your hands and throw them in the blender; they make the shake super thick and awesome. The riper they were at freezing time the better, of course. Pop the overripe ones from your fruit bowl, peeled, in a big ziploc in the freezer whenever you’ve got them, so you always have frozen ones to hand. Useful for last minute banana bread baking too.

  61. Andree Dionis

    Can’t believe you posted this recipe! Just the other day I was thinking about how good those date shakes were when I was a kid! My family had a second home in Palm Springs so we always stopped to get a shake before the drive home! Great memories. Once it warms up here in MA I’ll make a date shake! Thanks Deb

  62. Cassie Sue

    I’ve been to Hadley’s a few time on my way out to palm springs and they have date shakes with just a banana added (no peanut butter or chocolate). It’s surprisingly good.

    #71, I was surprised by my first date shake and how it just tasted like a really sweet vanilla milk shake. I don’t know what I was expecting but it’s good!

    PS: The chunks of dates are a good thing.

  63. We were just in Palm Desert at Shield’s, home of the date shake! So fun to see this on the web and be able to recreate at our house.

  64. Stephani

    Oh, thank you for this recipe! Years ago, I saw some Travel channel or Food Network channel episode that talked about the Palm Springs date shake shack, and the idea stuck in my head, although I’m not really big on shakes in general. Since my body rejects all attempts at digesting dairy, I’m going to have to try this with Almond Milk and Almond Milk ice cream instead of the real deal.
    I’ve decided this will be the summer of the date shake!

  65. Yael H

    First Gjelina, then avocado toast and now this! Sounds like you are in need of an LA vacation. I live in LA and recently visited Palms Springs so I am very excited to try your recipe. If you ever make it to Palms, Spings, there is a place called Great Shakes right in downtown Palm Springs that has the most incredible shakes in the universe (with a menu that goes well beyond date shakes). It’s worth a visit to SoCal just to try those shakes.

  66. Rebekah

    I’ve never stopped in Palm Springs, even though I grew up in AZ, because we had our own little Dateland, AZ for date shakes. I just checked their website and they sell not only dates and date milkshake mix, but also date butter and date steak sauce! Ah the homesickness…

  67. Diana

    I’m having a baby next month and I’ve been making something similar (minus the ice-cream) for breakfast every day. 6 dates, with enough boiling water to cover them. 15 minutes to soften, then puree the dates and water with a banana. Add 2 Tbsp peanut butter, a generous dash of cinnamon, and enough milk to make 2 cups in the blender. Blend until smooth and refuse to share!
    Today I added 1.5 tsps cocoa powder and it was fantastic! Thanks for the inspiration!

  68. Harper

    When I make date and nut balls for my kids (basically homemade Lara bar-type things), I soften the dates for about 30 seconds in the microwave. Somehow boiling water seems to get them soggy on the outside but still not blendable on the inside.

  69. Jane Herriott

    For those wanting less sweet/more healthy, you could try freezing some plain yogurt to use in place of the ice cream. My preference is whole milk strained (Greek) yogurt, but once frozen, any kind (dairy or otherwise) should work. I don’t mean churn it, I mean just stick the whole container in the freezer. I doubt yogurt would freeze so solid you couldn’t scoop it, but if that’s a concern, just measure out what you need and freeze only that amount. I’ve also heard of using silken tofu in smoothies for a protein kick, but that would also contribute thickness, I would think.

  70. Tina

    Im from Kerala, the Southern most state of India. Here, one of the popular most shakes here is called Sharjah shake, which is a mix of dates, banana and frozen milk. Another variant is Chocolate Sharjah shake. Maybe the name came so, as dates were brought from Gulf regions to our country.
    Addition of peanut butter is very interesting. Should try it as i have peanut butter loving family!

  71. K Thompson

    Thanks for the recipe, brought back good memories. Had our first date shakes at China Ranch Date Farm on the way to Death Valley from Las Vegas. Amazing! Such a treat to discover. I’ll plan on this bring my summer drink this year. You’ve inspired me to make them!

  72. Karen

    My favorite dates are mail-ordered from The Date People. Jaime sells organic dates, many varieties. They are the best, freshest, most amazing ones I’ve ever eaten. No relation to me. Website is datepeople dot net. Best to order by phone to discuss what’s available. I order mine, a mixed box, in September for delivery in October or November. –California gal

  73. Elizabeth

    Hi there! Every time that I check on your website, there is always a unique recipe for me to try! As usual, you never disappoint, with your date shake recipe. Adding the nutmeg sounds like a fun twist on a classic recipe. I have to admit, I’ve never tried or even heard of a monkey flip, so this sounds like a very easy, fun dessert to make during the week or any time. Thank you for sharing!

  74. Emily

    Dang! Those look absolutely delicious. I can’t wait to try and make them to see how good they taste! Any secrets you want to share to make them even better?

  75. CarolJ

    Inspired by the post and comments, I made the following Sunday-morning-treat breakfast smoothie: 1 date, soaked for 15 minutes in 3/4 c. milk; 1 frozen banana, sliced; 1 Tbsp. cashew butter; 1/2 tsp. vanilla; 1 shake of the cinnamon jar. Sensational.

  76. Teresa

    The phrase “Date Shake” on this post made me so happy. I was never a big date lover but talked a friend into stopping at the iconic Shields date shake shack in Indio on the way home from Palm Springs once in the 1980s. OMG, so good, so ridiculously good. I remember 2 other SoCal date shake places: one in Santa Barbara and one in Laguna Beach, all wonderful. Yum, thanks for reminding me.

  77. All right, this is delicious, of course it is. But my husband who is a Palm Springs native, DEMANDS that I say you shouldn’t call it a Palm Springs shake. They don’t make them there, but in Indio. You could call it a desert shake, a Coachella Valley shake, an Indio shake, but Palm Springs is just silly. He says you won’t call it an Indio shake because Indio is not sexy (being a bit peevish).

    This comment might be motivated by the fact that the Palm Desert native now resides in Montana, and it’s February. It gets a little cranky up here. I think I’ll make him a date shake ;)

  78. mariannerayer

    I have a doubt. The water is optional. But doesn’t it change the texture of the shake? The one without water will be thicker, right?

  79. Layla

    My mom makes a similar shake for when we break our fasts in Ramadan. Instead of the water, however, we just soak the dates in milk, and then blend them. Also, they taste fantastic with a dash of cinnamon! Can’t wait to try the monkey flip recipe!

  80. Bethk

    I just made these and we thought they were great! I agree they were a little sweet for my taste. Next time, for a more adult flavour, I might sub the vanilla ice-cream for coffee ice-cream…

  81. Michele

    I grew up in Phoenix and passed the date shack countless times driving to LA. This summer I went back for a road trip vacation with my sister and we stopped there. The date shakes are delicious! After I got back home to CO, I immediately started adding dates to my banana ‘ice cream’. I boil the dates first also, for easier blending. Yum!!

  82. Viva Krasinski

    Soaking fresh dates gives lots more flavor than the method of using date sugar (dried ground dates). A lot of date shake purveyors (though, thankfully not all) out here in the Coachella Valley use date sugar (dried ground dates) instead of fresh dates. To give mine an extra boost, I soaked them in strong, fresh-brewed coffee instead of water. Dates and coffee go so well together.

  83. Cat

    You might say the term folderol is [puts on sunglasses] dated.

    (Thanks for the recipe! Last time I drove through the Palm Springs area, the shacks slinging date shakes were all closed for the evening, and I’ve been craving one of these ever since.)

  84. A

    Made this tonight, with the last of the Barhi dates here in CA (best date if you can get them!!). It was DELICIOUS, but sooo liquid. And I only used 1/2c of water to my 1c dates! Next time I would start without any milk and I would add it if needed. So texture needs tweaking but taste is NEXT level!