It's an unspoken rule among us Californians that, when in Palm Springs, a date shake is a must. The deal is that a ton of dates are grown out there in the desert so someone sometime got the genius idea of swirling dates and spices into a vanilla milkshake and the rest is history.
But, let's be real, drinking a date shake on the regular is not a good habit and doesn't mix well with trying to hang out poolside so I came up with this Cinnamon Walnut Date Shake Smoothie. I originally made it with walnut milk (and included the recipe here) but like it just as much with any other nut milk or coconut milk. And, if you still want to go all out and date shake it? Well, then add your favorite ice cream (vanilla, coffee, and coconut are all great) instead of the yogurt.
plus more for soaking the walnuts
plus more for optional garnish
about 8 cubes
For the walnut milk: Place walnuts in a bowl and cover with water. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature to soak at least 1 hour to 12 hours (this helps remove some of the tannins and makes them blend smoother). Drain walnuts and rinse thoroughly. Combine walnuts, 3 cups water, honey, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla, and salt in the carafe of a blender then blend on low until very smooth, at least 2 minutes.
The walnut milk will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
For the date smoothie: Combine the 1 cup of walnut milk with the yogurt, dates, cinnamon, and remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla in the carafe of a blender and blend on high until the dates are broken up and the mixture very smooth, at least 1 minute. Add ice and blend briefly on high until ice is just broken up. Pour into chilled glasses, garnish with additional cinnamon (if desired), and serve immediately.
A powerful blender is key to get the dates to pulverize!
Food styling and photography by Aida Mollenkamp