Kid-friendly Ooey Gooey Date Shakes Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Ooey Gooey Date Shakes

Recipe: Ooey Gooey Date Shakes

Ooey Gooey Date Shakes

by Erin Fletter
Photo by ZahyMaulana/
prep time
10 minutes
cook time
4-6 servings

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • blend :

    to stir together two or more ingredients until just combined; blending is a gentler process than mixing.

  • purée :

    to blend, grind, or mash food until it is thick, smooth, and closer to a liquid.

Equipment Checklist

  • Blender (or pitcher + immersion blender)
  • Small bowl
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons


Ooey Gooey Date Shakes

  • 2 to 4 T raisins
  • 2 to 4 pitted dates
  • hot water, to soak dried fruit
  • 2 C milk, divided **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free milk)**
  • 4 frozen bananas (or 4 bananas + 1 C ice)
  • 1 C ice
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY use gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor—check label)**
  • 1 pinch pumpkin pie spice

Food Allergen Substitutions

Ooey Gooey Date Shakes

  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free milk.
  • Gluten/Wheat: Use gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor. 


Ooey Gooey Date Shakes

soak + purée

Soak 2 to 4 tablespoons of raisins and 2 to 4 pitted dates in hot water in a small bowl for at least 5 minutes and up to an hour before preparing the shakes. Using a blender (or pitcher + immersion blender), purée the soaked dates and raisins in 1/4 cup of milk until smooth.

add + blend

Add 1 3/4 cups milk, 4 frozen bananas, 1 cup ice, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 pinch of pumpkin pie spice and blend until well mixed. The goal is to achieve a smooth and thick texture with minimal chunks of fruit.

Surprise Ingredient: Dates!

back to recipe
Photo by Rahou Maachou

Hi! I'm a Date!

"You wouldn't know from looking at me, but I'm a deliciously sweet fruit! We dates don't have much water in us, so we are naturally dehydrated, and we have lots of fructose—that's a sugar found in fruit. We're better than candy because we're a tasty and healthy source of fiber and energy!"

History & Etymology

  • Dates are the fruit of the date palm, a flowering plant in the palm family. 
  • It is uncertain where dates originated, but they may have initially started growing in the Middle East or the Persian Gulf. They are considered one of the oldest crops and have been grown in areas of North Africa and the Middle East for around 5,000 years.  
  • Fossil records indicate that the date palm has been around for possibly 50 million years. Archaeological evidence for dates goes back to about 7000 BCE in the Middle East.
  • Because the date palm tree and its fruit have so many uses—from food to building materials—the date palm is known as the "tree of life" in the Middle East, and it is the national tree of Saudi Arabia. It is also an important symbol in Jewish and Muslim religions.
  • Spaniards had introduced date palm trees to the United States by 1769, where they grew at the Franciscan Mission San Diego de Alcalá in San Diego, California.
  • The trees are used for shade in the desert; their leaves are used to make baskets, carpets, and trays; the trunks are used as a frame for tents and for making furniture; and the fiber is suitable for ropes, fish traps, brushes, and filling mattresses and pillows.
  • The word "date" comes from the Greek word "daktylos," meaning "finger," due to its shape.


  • Date palm trees can grow up to 100 feet tall. They grow slowly and can reach 100 years of age. Their fronds or leaves are 13 to 20 feet long, and they have spines along their stalks.
  • Dates, the fruit of the date palm, grow in clumps near the top of the tree, just below the fronds. The fruit can be oval or cylindrical in shape, one inch in diameter, and one to three inches long. Depending on the variety of dates, their color may be yellow, amber, red, or dark brown.

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • Choose dates that are plump, shiny, and not too wrinkled or hard. They should have a delicate fragrance rather than a pungent smell.
  • When dates are dried, they become very sweet. The low water and high sugar content give dates a long shelf life of many months to years! People have taken them for long boat trips, crossing deserts, and even living in fortresses as survival food throughout history.
  • You can eat dates whole or chop them up and add them to cakes, muffins, smoothies, shakes, cereals, or salads. For an appetizer, you can stuff dates with soft cheese, honey, and chopped nuts, wrap them with a thin slice of bacon or prosciutto, and then bake them for about 15 minutes. 


  • Dates are full of potassium and fiber. One cup of dates has 27 percent of the recommended daily potassium requirement and 48 percent of the daily fiber. 
  • Dates also contain vitamin A and several B vitamins. In addition, their high fructose content makes them a great natural source of energy.

History of the Date Cake & Date Shake!

Photo by Robyn Mackenzie/
  • Date cake or sticky toffee pudding is a British dessert made with a moist sponge cake and finely chopped dates, covered in toffee sauce and vanilla custard or ice cream. 
  • The genesis of sticky toffee pudding is disputed. Still, some people attest to one early recipe created by Francis Coulson and Robert Lee at the Sharrow Bay Country House Hotel in Cumbria, England, in the 1970s. However, there are stories that two other people shared the recipe with them, so we may never know the dessert's true origins.
  • The date shake may have been invented by Russell Nicoll in 1928. He and his family also opened a date shack near Thermal, California. A date shake consists of chopped dates blended with milk and vanilla ice cream. Today, several places in California's Coachella Valley sell date shakes. It is the unofficial drink of the valley and the city of Palm Springs. 
  • Annually, in February, the town of Indio, California, hosts the annual National Date Festival with an Arabian Nights theme. The festival's specialty is the date shake.

Let's Learn About the United States!

Photo by JeniFoto/ (July 4th Picnic)
  • Most of the United States of America (USA) is in North America. It shares its northern border with Canada and its southern border with Mexico. It consists of 50 states, 1 federal district, 5 territories, 9 Minor Outlying Islands, and 326 Indian reservations. 
  • The country's total area is 3,796,742 square miles, globally the third largest after Russia and Canada. The US population is over 333 million, making it the third most populous country in the world, after China and India.
  • The United States of America declared itself an independent nation from Great Britain on July 4, 1776, by issuing the Declaration of Independence.
  • The Revolutionary War between the US and Great Britain was fought from 1775-1783. We only had 13 colonies at that time! On September 9, 1976, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and declared that the new nation would be called the United States. 
  • The 13 colonies became states after each ratified the constitution of the new United States, with Delaware being the first on December 7, 1787.  
  • The 13 stripes on the US flag represent those first 13 colonies, and the 50 stars represent our 50 states. The red color of the flag symbolizes hardiness and valor, white symbolizes innocence and purity, and blue symbolizes vigilance and justice.
  • Before settling in Washington DC, a federal district, the nation's capital resided in New York City and then Philadelphia for a short time. New York City is the largest city in the US and is considered its financial center. 
  • The US does not have a recognized official language! However, English is effectively the national language. 
  • The American dollar is the national currency. The nickname for a dollar, "buck," comes from colonial times when people traded goods for buckskins!
  • Because the United States is so large, there is a wide variety of climates and types of geography. The Mississippi/Missouri River, running primarily north to south, is the fourth-longest river system in the world. On the east side of the Mississippi are the Appalachian Mountains, the Adirondack Mountains, and the East Coast, next to the Atlantic Ocean. 
  • On the west side of the Mississippi are the flat Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains (or Rockies), and the West Coast, next to the Pacific Ocean, with several more mountain ranges in coastal states, such as the Sierras and the Cascades. Between the coasts and the north and south borders are several forests, lakes (including the Great Lakes), rivers, swamps, deserts, and volcanos. 
  • Several animals are unique to the US, such as the American bison (or American buffalo), the bald eagle, the California condor, the American black bear, the groundhog, the American alligator, and the pronghorn (or American antelope). 
  • The US has 63 national parks. The Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Zion, and the Grand Canyon, with the Colorado River flowing through it, are among the most well-known and visited.
  • Cuisine in the US was influenced early on by the indigenous people of North America who lived there before Europeans arrived. They introduced beans, corn, potatoes, squash, berries, fish, turkey, venison, dried meats, and more to the new settlers. Other influences include the widely varied foods and dishes of enslaved people from Africa and immigrants from Asia, Europe, Central and South America, and the Pacific Islands. 

What's It Like to Be a Kid in the United States?

  • Education is compulsory in the US, and kids may go to a public or private school or be home-schooled. Most schools do not require students to wear uniforms, but some private schools do. The school year runs from mid-August or the beginning of September to the end of May or the middle of June.
  • Kids generally start school at about five years old in kindergarten or earlier in preschool and continue through 12th grade in high school. After that, many go on to university, community college, or technical school. 
  • Spanish, French, and German are the most popular foreign languages kids learn in US schools. 
  • Kids may participate in many different school and after-school sports, including baseball, soccer, American football, basketball, volleyball, tennis, swimming, and track and field. In grade school, kids may join in playground games like hopscotch, four-square, kickball, tetherball, jump rope, or tag.
  • There are several fun activities that American kids enjoy doing with their friends and families, such as picnicking, hiking, going to the beach or swimming, or going to children's and natural history museums, zoos and wild animal parks, amusement parks, water parks, state parks, or national parks. Popular amusement parks include Disneyland, Disney World, Legoland, Six Flags, and Universal Studios.
  • On Independence Day or the 4th of July, kids enjoy a day off from school, picnicking, and watching fireworks with their families. 
  • Thanksgiving is celebrated on the last Thursday in November when students get 2 to 5 days off school. Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa are popular December holidays, and there are 2 or 3 weeks of winter vacation. Easter is celebrated in March, April, or May, and kids enjoy a week of spring recess around that time.  
  • Barbecued hot dogs or hamburgers, watermelon, apple pie, and ice cream are popular kid foods for 4th of July celebrations. Turkey, dressing, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie are traditional Thanksgiving foods. Birthday parties with cake and ice cream are very important celebrations for kids in the United States!

Lettuce Joke Around

What do you call an old, stale date? 

An expiration date!

Lettuce Joke Around

What fruit can't see? 

A blind date!

The Yolk's On You

What do you call a heroic fruit of the round table? 

Date Knight.

That's Berry Funny

Why did the fig take the raisin out to the movies? 

She couldn’t find a date!

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