Shake it up: How to make the perfect milkshake

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When one of our wonderful, show’s producers, Stephanie told me that she and her family were driving to San Diego for a weekend vacation – one of the first things I blurted out was “date shake!”  Now, typically, most people would imagine beaches, great food and yes, great weather – but whenever I hear “driving to San Diego” I immediately crave a cold, delicious date shake from Date Land. 

Date Land is just west of Gila Bend.  You’ll start seeing the billboards touting “World Famous Date Shakes” after you pass by the Space Age Lodge in Gila Bend.  You’ll start seeing the date palms and it’s easy to miss or simply decide not to turn off at the Date Land exit, but that would be a mistake.   From my first date shake, I was hooked.   

My brother John lives in San Diego and so I have regular opportunities to drive over to the coast, so these shakes have become a major craving.   A few years ago, they gave the place a face-lift from the “diner and shake shack” it used to be.  John and I miss that “blast into the past feel” and even thought about buying one of the vinyl booths when they were tearing it down.  John also swears he wants to someday be the mayor of Date Land!  THAT is how much we love those shakes.  And, it brought tears of joy to my eyes to hear how much Stephanie enjoyed them too!  She liked them!  She really liked them!

In fact, she suggested I might want to do a segment on them – so that sent me on the research path of how to make a perfect milkshake.  Wonderful for the rest of summer – but definitely a retro treat in these days of smoothies and yogurt.  So, go get some full-fat ice cream and milk and learn how to make a delectable milk shake treat – just like the ice cream parlors (and of course Date Land) make.

Steps to the perfect milkshake

Decide what to make.

This sounds obvious, but you want to make sure you have everything you need – because things need to be as cold as possible, you don’t want to stop in the middle once you’ve started.  For each shake you’ll need about 1/3 to ½ cup of milk or cream, 1 -2 cups of ice cream and about ½ cup of flavor – in this case chopped dates.  You’ll also need a blender.

Cool everything down

Put all utensils and blender pitcher in the fridge or freezer for as long as a half hour.  This helps to make the milkshakes really cold and thick.

Mix the milk with your flavorings

Leaving the ice cream in the freezer, blend together your icy milk and the flavorings. You don’t need to blend very long, 10-30 seconds will be enough. I'd suggest 1/3 cup of milk per 8 oz milkshake, but use more if you like it runnier and a bit less if you want it super thick. Experiment with how much flavorings you like  - ½ cup of chopped dates works well and if you are using other fruits or syrups then I'd start with that 1/2 cup for each 8 oz shake.

Don't be afraid to taste at this stage!  Oh darn.

Add ice cream blend, pour and enjoy

Straight from the freezer, add the ice cream and blend everything together. Again, it doesn't need long. 10-15 seconds will likely work fine.  Depending on how much you like, you’ll need 6 – 10 oz of ice cream for each shake.  It is basically an ice cream beverage.

Now, if you’ve put your glasses in the fridge beforehand, pull them out and pour it in.  Yummy to the max!

Now, here’s a recipe to make your own “World Famous Date Shakes”

If they’re in season don’t skimp on the dates – Medjool’s really do make them World Famous!

Homemade (almost as good) Date Shakes

Makes 2 servings (ha! ha! Right!)

10 Medjool dates, pitted and coarsely chopped

1-cup whole milk

2 cups vanilla ice cream

Place dates and milk in a blender; blend on high until smooth, about 15 - 30 seconds. Add ice cream and blend another 15 to 20 seconds on low so the ice cream doesn't melt too much. It should be thick and frothy.

These homemade shakes are “almost” as good but nothing tops the feeling of pulling off the highway into Date Land.  Do not miss it next time you drive to the coast!

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