Friday, June 22, 2012

The Great Shake 2012: Date-Buttermilk Shakes

My first job ever when I was 15 years old was at a local ice cream shop called Newport Creamery. During my sophomore year of high school I scooped ice cream, I made sundaes, I blended milkshakes like it was my job. Because it was. When I was asked to participate in The Great Shake 2012, a virtual milkshake party, it definitely brought back memories! A group of bloggers all received copies of Adam Reid's book Thoroughly Modern Milkshakes. We had the opportunity to explore the book and test out recipes to share for the "party."

First of all, I must say that I really enjoyed checking out the book. Milkshakes are clearly a passion for Adam and I can see that through each tip that is shared, from tools to ingredients and techniques. I also love the historical and regional notes that were included in the book, pointing out different terminology for frozen drinks from different time periods and different parts of the country.

As a born and bred New Englander, I am very familiar with the term "frappe" which is used for milkshakes through parts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In fact, during my training at Newport Creamery, this is what I was taught was an actual milkshake. If someone ordered a milkshake and not a frappe, I was supposed to just whip together milk and flavored syrup. I can promise there were disappointed customers who did not know the proper terminology for where they were :)

Also, I was very amused to not only read Adam's comments about another local term for milkshake, a "cabinet," but also see his recipe for a "coffee cabinet" a very traditional Rhode Island shake. I'd like to add that my very first customer ever at Newport Creamery ordered a coffee cabinet, and I was so nervous that I didn't properly blend all of the ice cream into the shake. When I went to serve it to her, she responded quite dryly, "You have to blend it!" Ooops! A memory I'll never forget that was freshened by a look at this deeply researched and thoughtful book.

Though I was tempted to make the coffee cabinet, for old times' sake, I elected to try something new. The date-buttermilk shake sounded really unique and refreshing. It was easy to make and the mild date flavor was very nice. I also really loved the tangy finish from the incorporation of the buttermilk. There are so many other yummy sounding shakes in this book and a whole summer ahead of me to try more of them! I hope you enjoy this milkshake party and check out the other blogs participating!

Date-Buttermilk Shakes... probably would have fit better in 2 glasses, but there were 3 of us :)

Date-Buttermilk Shake
Makes about 3 1/2 cups (28 oz)
(from Thoroughly Modern Milkshakes)

8 medium dried dates (about 4 1/2 oz) pitted and roughly chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup cold buttermilk
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
7 medium scoops French vanilla ice cream (about 1 3/4 pints or 21 oz), softened until just melty around the edges

To soften the dates, place them in a small saucepan with water to cover over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Off the heat, cool the mixture to room temperature and drain the dates.

For the shake, place the buttermilk, vanilla extract, and dates in a blender to break down the dates completely, about 1 minute. Add the ice cream and pulse several times to begin breaking it up. The the blender motor off, use a flexible spatula to mash the mixture down into the blender blades. Continue pulsing, stopping and mashing until the mixture is well blended, thick, and moves easily in the blender jar, roughly 30 to 90 seconds. Pour into a chilled glass or glasses and serve at once.


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