Cookie Dough Milkshake – Swap Your Sweeteners

by Maggie on January 19, 2012

Welcome to the third installment of New Year, New You! Hallie of Daily Bites and Lexie of Lexie’s Kitchen have organized an inspirational blogging event with the goal of encouraging all of us to Take the Pure Living Plunge!

What does Pure Living mean? For me pure living refers to eating whole foods and nutritious foods. Pure living also means eating foods that keep your body clean, and make you feel your very best.

Pete and I spent most of 2011 taking the pure living plunge, and we’ve never felt better. We’re so in tune with our bodies; it’s an amazing feeling.

One of the first things we did when we took our pure living plunge, was to cut back on our use of sweeteners in our every day eating, cooking, and baking. It was a difficult task at first, but now it’s a way of living and we can’t imagine life any other way.

This was especially difficult for me because I have a rather strong sweet tooth. Before giving up things like cane sugar, sucanat, and brown sugar, I thought, “Why would someone ever want to do that?” But now I get it.

My body functions better. I sleep better. My skin is better. I have more energy. Less cravings. No more moody Mommy moments. And the list goes on.

It’s been amazing for me. I’m the girl who used to eat a bag of gummy worms every day in University. And I’m not kidding.

So how did I do it? How did I give up the nasty, but oh-so addictive white stuff?

Gradually. But the key to it all was my oh-so delicious medjool dates.

These delightful and nutritious sweet gems got me through my 3pm sugar cravings, without crashing into a bowl of refined sugar. Dates still save me on those days when I want to bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies and eat most of the batch. Yep, I’m a recovering sugar addict.

This Christmas was the first holiday in my life where I didn’t overindulge. It was fabulous. And I feel I owe it all to dates. If I needed something sweet, I made a smoothie using dates as the sweetener. In fact, it was over the holidays when I created this delightfully sweet treat of a milkshake.

The vanilla and the molasses are key ingredients. But as always, you can tailor any milkshake or smoothie to suit your tastes.

Cookie Dough Milkshake

Yield:  Serves 2 large smoothies

I call this a milkshake, but really it’s a super amazing protein-packed smoothie.

2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk (we use almond milk)
1 tbsp vanilla
2 tsp unsulphured molasses
1/3 cup shelled hemp hearts
5-6 soaked and pitted medjool dates
2 tbsp chia seeds
4 tbsp almond butter (sunflower seed butter works too)
3-4 ice cubes depending on the strength of your blender

Combine all ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth. I like to add ice cubes to my smoothies; you may need a high-speed blender if you choose to do so.

You obviously need to listen to this song while you’re drinking your milkshake.

Want to use dates to sweeten your recipes? Check out Gena’s post about making your own date paste.

For more ‘swap your sweeteners’ recipes and posts, don’t miss:

Amy from Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free shares her point of view on swapping sweeteners.
Diet, Dessert, and Dogs made a Low-Fat Cinnamon-Walnut Loaf using stevia powder.
The Daily Dietribe whipped up Banana Chocolate Chunk Cookies using coconut sugar.
Daily Bites made Soft Island Bliss Cookies using honey.
Lexie’s Kitchen made some Candied Walnuts using coconut sugar.

And make sure you check out Daily Bites. Hallie’s giving away a gift package of natural sweeteners from Wholesome Sweeteners.

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Lexie's Kitchen January 19, 2012 at 9:07 am

Girlfriend, you know how to name a recipe. Who could resist not running to the kitchen to blend up this one! Will do that after errands today. Will pick up some molasses, too. Thanks for participating : ) xoLexie


Maggie January 19, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Thanks Lexie 🙂 I am a HUGE cookie dough lover and this really does taste like the real thing! I hope you love it. xo


Shirley @ gfe January 19, 2012 at 9:28 am

Awesome post, Maggie! Those Medjool dates are miracle workers, aren’t they? I remember the first time I used them in raw truffles, a variation on a recipe from Lauren at Celiac Teen. I was amazed! That was after a lifetime of trying products with dates in them and hating them. Not all dates are created equal for one thing, but homemade treats using Medjool dates are the very best. 🙂 Oh, and I see you made an extra shake for me … thanks so much, dear! 😉

Loving all the wisdom of this series! xo,


Maggie January 19, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Thanks Shirley! Yes, medjool dates are miracle workers. I don’t know what I’d do without them! If you’d offered me a date two years ago, I would’ve scoffed! Oh how we change, for the better!


Ellen (Gluten Free Diva) January 19, 2012 at 9:42 am

What a great post! Thank you Maggie! I love that you and Pete did this together – makes it so much easier when you can partner with someone who also wants to make changes. And oh, this is SOOOO up my alley. I, too, am working diligently on reducing/eliminating my consumption of refined sugars after a candida diagnosis. I recently ordered organic dates from Nuts Online and am very happy with them. I use dates in my gluten free morning oatmeal, I use it in my gluten free Chocolate Just-Like-Ice-Cream Milkshake (totally dairy free!), and many more recipes that require sweetness. I love this recipe and am going to have it for my afternoon get-me-through-until-dinner snack. Thank you!


Maggie January 19, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Ah Ellen, thank you so much. I am so glad you enjoyed my post. I was just looking at Nuts Online last night – I’m glad to know they have organic nuts! Oh and that Chocolate Just-Like-Ice-Cream Milkshake sounds to die for!


Christina January 19, 2012 at 9:44 am

I love this post! Thanks for being so transparent about your previous sugar addiction. I’m attempting to overcome my sugar addiction. I go through phases where it grabs a hold of me and I succumb.

Where do you get your medjool dates? And how (if at all) are they different from regular dates you see in the supermarket?

This recipe looks great and I can’t wait to try it!

p.s. Love the song reference…definitely a MUST! 🙂 🙂 🙂


Maggie January 19, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Hi Christina – So glad you enjoyed my post and could relate to some of it! I was the same way with phases. It definitely takes some time, I know I’m still recovering too. I get my medjool dates from a friend of mine who gets them from California I believe. She gets organic ones for me. But I used to buy them at the grocery store or at my health food store. I’m sure you’ll find them once you start looking. I’m happy you liked my song choice 🙂


Charis @ MannaTreats January 19, 2012 at 10:10 am

Thank you Maggie! this looks delish! I’m trying to get away from all white sugar now — oh yeah, yikes! so appreciate ideas and help. Thank you!


Maggie January 19, 2012 at 7:21 pm

You’re welcome Charis. Good luck on your journey!


Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free January 19, 2012 at 10:14 am

Yum! I’m flying to Canada with the baby so you can cook for us and take care of my while I’m sleep deprived. (As if you need one more thing to do….)

Between your bag of gummy worms and my red cups we are a hot mess!



Maggie January 19, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Yay Amy. I will be waiting, I’ll bring one to the airport for you 🙂 I love that – a hot mess! Kind of like Nicole Ritchie and Paris Hilton in their glory days. Hahaha! xo


Kim - Cook It Allergy Free January 19, 2012 at 10:50 am

Maggie, I agree with everything you wrote in this post!! I have gradually swapped out my refined sugars over the last years (along with only eating pure foods) and it is amazing how great my body feels now! Your tips are amazing here!! And I love your obsession with medjool dates! Reminds me of my obsession with ACV and bone broth. LOL
And this milkshake literally sounds amazing! My kids would think I went crazy if i served them this! Such a great treat!! I am totally making this!


Maggie January 19, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Hi Kim – Thank you so much! Yes, I am totally obsessed but I think your obsession is healthier 🙂 I hope the boys love i!


Tessa@TessaDomesticDiva January 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I would love to try this, but I am not familiar w/ hemp hearts. Could i replace with flax or chia meal? Or?!! Not knowing exactly hemp hearts are makes it more difficult to sub!


Maggie January 19, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Hi Tessa – I added the hemp hearts to add some protein to the shake. I think you could add more chia or flax though. You could also sub 3 or 4 walnuts. But try to find hemp hearts. Loaded with omega 3s, they’re a total power food! Enjoy.


glutenfreeforgood January 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Soaked mejool dates are my answer for everything! I’m a smoothie fanatic, but I’ve never used any of the alternative milks as the liquid. I’ll have to try that. I usually stick with coconut water or plain filtered water. You’ve inspired me. This looks like a seriously wonderful treat. I love the idea of a super healthy “milkshake.” Good one!


Jenny January 19, 2012 at 1:31 pm

You are adorable adding the song!! lol! Love it 🙂 I’m I’m so glad to find another GF site. Thank-you for sharing your knowledge (and cuteness).


Carol, Simply Gluten Free January 19, 2012 at 1:37 pm

What an awesome recipe Maggie! I love to add dates as natural sweeteners in many things I bake and cook and I always have them on hand for when a sweet attack hits me – one or two dates and craving solved! And of course, who doesn’t want a milk shake for breakfast?


Megan @ MAID in Alaska January 19, 2012 at 1:48 pm

This sounds lovely, Maggie, and I like that you used hemp hearts! What a great, healthy treat for kids too… I’m sure my girls will love it!
🙂 Megan


Cara January 19, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Maggie my dear… I swoon for anything cookie dough, but I need to get my hands on some of those hemp hearts though. I will look for them!


Maggie January 20, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Yes Cara, you will love this! You MUST let me know 🙂


Ricki January 19, 2012 at 8:00 pm

I bet this tastes AMAZING! I love, love medjools (sadly still can’t have ’em), and the addition of hemp here warms my heart!! What a great way to start the day (or actually, to sip at any time!).


Maggie January 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm

One day dates will return to your life Ricki 🙂 We’ll have a date party. xo


Amber January 19, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Hi There Maggie,

Milkshakes are just darn good any time and any day! When I went dairy free years ago I missed milkshakes so much, but there is always a tasty alternative to be had! Thanks for sharing a great recipe.

Ah, that song brings back memories. Good times!!

Hugs to you,


Maggie January 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Hi Amber – I’m glad you liked that song choice. Memories of late nights and lazy mornings, right?


Alisa January 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Yum! I love this idea and such a beautiful picture Maggie!


Maggie January 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Thanks so much Alisa!


Alta January 20, 2012 at 2:34 pm

I love Medjool dates. They’re like the best candy. This “milkshake” sounds delightful!


Maggie January 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Alta they’re totally nature’s candy. I keep trying to tell my 5YO, but he doesn’t seem to agree!


Heather @Gluten-Free Cat January 21, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Maggie, I too am obsessed with dates!!! It’s amazing how they can nip a sweets craving or add a deliciously sweet layer to a dish.
Confession…my first experience with dates was making a raw pecan pie to take to a dinner with friends. I had NO idea that the dates I purchased had pits in them…until I heard the awful sound in the food processor! I tried so hard to find all the little pieces by hand, but my friends and I still found several (many) pieces as we carefully ate the pie! Thank goodness for forgiving friends!


Maggie January 23, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Heather I am quite sure you’re not alone! I’ve had readers tell me they did that very thing in recipes of mine. I learned quickly to write pitted and soaked dates 🙂


Gena January 22, 2012 at 10:15 am

Dates are most definitely my sweetener of choice; I put date paste in anything that needs a sweet touch!


Maggie January 23, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Gena I can’t really imagine my life without dates 🙂


naomi devlin January 27, 2012 at 4:36 am

Yum, yum, yum! I’m going to make this with raw milk for Finn – he loves a good milkshake and this sounds super delicious. x x x


Maggie January 27, 2012 at 11:45 am

Thanks Naomi!


Julia March 2, 2012 at 10:10 am

Amazing! Whipped this baby up this morning with some cashew milk. Yum! All that was missing was the chocolate… so had a piece of dark chocolate on the side, LOL. Thanks for the recipe.


Maggie March 4, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Oooh! Julia I like your thinking 🙂


Laurie H March 10, 2012 at 6:35 pm

This was delicious! My boys really enjoyed them so you know they MUST be great.


Maggie March 10, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Yay Laurie! I love it when we can get our kids to eat good food! Thanks for coming back to let us know.


Annie May 15, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I finally got a chance to make this today and all I can say is OH MY LANTA this is delicious! I poured Quincy a cup, he took one sip, looked at me and said “Don’t put that away!”. This will definitely be our go to afternoon treat from now on.


Maggie May 16, 2012 at 6:37 pm

You are too cute Annie. I love hearing that Mr. Q loved it too! xo


Karyn January 20, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Wow I just made this and I had my doubts…. But it seriously tastes like cookie dough if cookie dough were a viscous liquid. I added milled flax and om nom it is delish!! Good to note that’s it’s totally vegan, and nutritious!! Thanks for this!


Maggie January 21, 2013 at 8:10 pm

I know Karen! It’s delish, right? Thanks for letting me know 🙂


gabe April 6, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Dates and mollasses are very high in sugar, unfortunately. although you benefit from the additional iron and nutrients found in mollasses, it is definitely not sugar free, or even low in sugar. Same goes for dates…


Maggie April 6, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Hey Gabe – Thanks for stopping by and checking out my recipes. You’re right, dates and molasses aren’t sugar-free, but as mentioned above, I’m comparing them to white sugar. Definitely far worse. I think everyone would benefit from cutting out refined sugars. Dates (unrefined sugar) are a great way to satisfy that sweet tooth while working on your sugar addiction (as I mentioned in the post). Fortunately there’s only 2 teaspoons of molasses in the recipe. As a vegetarian woman, I’m always on the lookout for food sources of iron. You could definitely omit the molasses and the dates if you’re totally sugar-free. It just won’t taste like a Cookie Dough Milkshake 🙂
Have a great weekend,


Eric January 20, 2016 at 6:07 pm

My family are big fans of Maggie’s recipes. Tonight my eight your old daughter insisted that we make this cookie dough milkshake. So after eating veggie tacos, we all got in the kitchen and work together to make this milkshake. It was a massive hit with the family! It actually taste like cookie dough, with the texture and everything. You have got to try this recipe! We did not have molasses, so we used the same measurement of maple syrup in. And we did not have almond butter so we used the same measurement of a combination of peanut butter and tahini. It worked excellent!


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