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Aug 7, 2007 11:21 AM

I Finally Bought A Blender: Your Favorite Thick Shake Recipes Please!

A couple of weeks ago I posted on the Cookware board for advice on getting the best blender, 200 often intense and passionate posts later, I am the proud and happy owner of a Kitchenaid blender.

Now I'm ready to ask all the thick-shake loving chowhound chefs to share their favorite recipes.

Because my husband's efforts at weight loss gave rise to the low-cal thick-shake plan in the first place, I should warn you all shakes I'll be making will be sweetened with Splenda. BUT, please do not let that stop you from posting thick-shake recipes made with sugar or honey - I'll do the conversions myself. But if you have some recipes that are good and contain artificial sweetener I would be especially grateful.

Mainly, I'm thinking about making my own version of a Macdonald's thick shake - chocolate, vanilla, strawberry. And then my own ideas include - pumpkin, berries, mango, apple pie flavor - the sky's the limit!

Since this is the height of summer this post could not be more timely for helping you all cool down a bit. Of course here in San Francisco it's about 60 degrees and holding steady for the forseeable future. But then, we LOVE it that way.

Thanks so much for your help!

If you know of any thick-shake, smoothie, frozen fruity drinks COOKBOOKS - I would love to buy a few to get more recipes that way.

I'd also like your ideas/suggestions about ingredients. For example I know Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder is low end, but I had higher hopes for Ghirardelli, our local SF brand. But the shake I made last night using it had a rough, sharp, almost burny taste to the chocolate component. I've used Ghirardelli before for making brownies and cakes and it is great for baking applications. Do you know of any cocoa brands that taste more smooth and mellow in the raw state as in a thick-shake?
Also best brands that maybe are bargains or that I might not choose on my own. For example, I know TJ's frozen mango is to die for. Canned cherries are icky. Best brands for natural flavor extracts to pump up the taste. Unsweetened syrups. Catalogs or websites for finding such ingredients.
Hints like that...

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  1. I'm glad that you finally found a blender that you love! I got my boyfriend a KitchenAid blender for his birthday in July and he has been making some really amazing shakes with it...My favorite is: Banana, Peanut Butter and Soy Milk...sooo good and thick (as you requested). He also makes one with strawberries, bananas, orange juice and a little bit of honey that is great! Pretty basic, but definetaly try the Banana, Peanut Butter and Soy Milk, if you like those flavors!

    2 Replies
    1. re: gourmetgal1

      Yours sounds sensual and indulgent, his sounds all-American and cleanly refreshing. Does your smoothie preferences mirror your personalities?

      1. re: niki rothman

        Haha probably! Didn't even realize that...

    2. Two scoops of good plain vanilla, two crushed up candy canes and a half to three quarters of a cup of milk! Yum!

      Two scoops of Green Tea with a cup of milk. Blend. Add sweet adzuki beans and stir. Serve with a BIG straw!

      An avocado, 1 cup of milk, one banana, two tabespoons of honey.

      13 Replies
      1. re: Diana

        Thanks, Diana! How big should the scoops of green tea be? And are they brewed green tea - liquid tea? Or maybe you mean the powdered instant green tea that is used in Japanese tea ceremonies?

        1. re: niki rothman

          NO, Green tea ICE CREAM !! Yo can find it almost anywhere,now/ Try WHole Foods or Trader joes. Make them typical ice cream scoop size.

          Although matcha mixed with vanilla might be interesting.

        2. re: Diana

          I love sweet aduki beans. Now you have me thinking about making those tapioca pearl bubble teas that are so popular with the SF Asian kids. But I bet it's going to be tough getting a recipe!

          1. re: niki rothman

            I think Diana might mean green tea ice cream.

            1. re: Bat Guano

              Hey Bat, what in God's name is your avatar? Is it legal to own one of those, or does it belong in the evidence file of some creepy felony investigation? What the HELL IS THAT THING? (Note: "Hey, you kids, get away from that thing!!!")

              You're probably right about it being green tea ice cream.

              1. re: niki rothman

                To be honest, I don't really know what it is. Nor does anyone else. It's from an article in the New York Times a few months ago on deep-sea creatures that had recently been discovered. I thought it was kinda cute, though....

                I've got about a half pint of green-tea ice cream left, and had been wondering what to do with it, 'cause I don't really like it by itself. I'm guessing you get sweet adzuki beans in the asian market, maybe?

                1. re: Bat Guano

                  you should..often called just "sweet red beans" . you can get the whole beans or the paste in cans. Also sweet black beans or sometimes white beans.

                  1. re: Bat Guano

                    Bat, Is that your way of asking me for a date? Is that a pint of green tea ice cream in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?

                    Seriously though, adzuki or aduki sometimes I think, maybe, it's spelled - they get used for fillings of terrible Japanese pastries. The beans have a taste of pure "sweet" that somehow eclipses the purity of sugar "sweet" but in a very nice, if you can imagine, almost Japanese homey way. Subtle. I think the bean paste goes really nicely with that other japanese "ultimate" - the ultimate in chewiness, that somehow eclipses the chewiness even of chewing gum, but in a VERY nice way - mochi.

                    You can get adzuki beans in Japanese markets, like in a can - a paste - I think - also - bagged/sweetened/cooked - perhaps? Chinese markets sometimes, I've even seen them - I think - maybe - in a couple of Latino markets that stock Asian foods, in SF. Maybe even in really big supermarkets in major cities in the Asian departments.

                    Just kidding about the little anonymous cutie pie - I read the Science section of the NYT too.

                    1. re: niki rothman

                      They are sweet, but I think you may be buying really cheap adzuki beans.

                      Scattered over ice creams or dropped into shakes a la boba, like a good green tea or a mango, or even a ginger, they are fabulous. But I would not suggest belnding the paste into a green tea shake. The color would be off putting and the flavors would meld, rather than staying distinct.

                      Now, blending paste into a not too sweet vanilla might yield interesting results..well, just a red bean shake, really.

                      1. re: Diana

                        When I go into ethnic markets my plan includes waylaying matronly looking women who appear to be members of that part of the human family, and asking them about products about I want to learn more about. Also I ask them which is the best exemplar of a particular product I want to buy. That's how that can of very sweet bean paste wound up in my pantry. It's a useful policy, as often the ladies will proudly educate you as to the best bargains in any particular food genre about which you're asking (probably idiotic - to them) questions.
                        I imagine the Japanese housewife going home and regaling her relatives later over dinner, "I set that Gaijin woman straight. She was obviously totally clueless, she thought she had to buy the most expensive bonito flakes to make the best dashi - and we all know that's just not true. Well, she may not know much about Japanese cooking, but at least now she knows how to make a decent Dashi".

                        1. re: niki rothman

                          or perhpas, as many people do when a Gaijin asks about a product, they are giving you what they assume western tastes will prefer.

                        2. re: Diana

                          Hi Diana,
                          Oh, of course you are correct. I was assuming we were talking about 2 separate drinks - one with the beans and the OTHER with the green tea. Of course you are right - a combo of the 2 would be undrinkable, repulsive.

                2. re: niki rothman

                  well, the adzuki beans and the tapioca pears are two very different things

              2. Butternut Squash or Pumpkin Puree + splenda + cinnamon/pumpkin pie spice + vanilla w/ ice and protein powder (vanilla) or use sugar free plain or vanilla yogurt... feel free to add some graham cracker crumbs or crystallized ginger

                RTD Met-Rx cans of high protein low carb shakes are incredibly thick, offer 20g of protein for 100 calories, and make a great "base" for anything else you want to add. I've found these are great for giving a shake that's thicky and creamy.

                I actually made an interesting smoothie the other day using fresh persimmons (LOVE 'EM) and seemed to need less yogurt to thicken; the pulpiness of the persimmons added good thickness. Peaches and Pumpkin seem to have a similar effect as well....

                yogurt (esp. Greek/Total) works well to thicken. Cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and quark work equally as well. Varying the flavor of yogurts you use can obviously open up to a myriad of flavor combinations

                Oatmeal is another great thickener, so you can do any variety of fruits, such as frozen mango, guava, pineapple, blueberries + non-fat total yogurt + some oats, and if you're looking for a healthy fat boost, try adding flaxseed or almonds!

                Happy Blending!

                2 Replies
                1. re: Emme

                  Hi Emme! You sound like one very intelligent and (Baruch Hashem!) very healthy thick-shake maker. I'm so glad you gave me all that useful information.

                  Thank you!


                  1) Where is the least expensive place/catalog/website to buy RTD-Met RX protein powder? Is there a flavor you prefer? Or does one just get it unflavored?
                  2) Assumption: one should be using cooked oatmeal as a thickener to avoid an icky "raw" taste?
                  3) I bought flax seed meal once - to cook for a hot cereal was my intention. I can honestly say it was the worst tasting thing (that wasn't spoiled) that I've ever had the misfortune to put into my mouth. Did I just get a bad batch of it or do you not taste that horrible frighteningly awful flavor in the seeds themselves?
                  4) Is "Greek/Total" yogurt a brand name, and if so where do you buy it that might also, like a national chain, be in SF?

                  Comments - I actually own a quark maker! Thanks for the great idea of combining quark into the smoothy. QUARK!
                  Love your Avatar - is it from the "Simpsons"?

                  1. re: niki rothman

                    1) RTD Met-RX means Ready To Drink, so it comes in a can. Try or or good RTD Met-RX. I use vanilla, but only really like it when used in a shake, not straight out of the can. I even just like the vanilla RTD shake with cinnamon and vanilla extract and ice. (I also use Isopure protein powder from time to time including the vanilla, strawberry, tropical, or apple melon flavors... also available at online retailers).

                    2) Nope raw instant oats are great, no need to cook at all. It absorbs the moisture in the shake itself.

                    3) I HATE flaxseed meal, but some love the taste including my family members, and love to include it in shakes, not to mention eat by the spoonful. It tastes oily and disgusting to me, so just ignore that advice. It's just a great fat if you like it.

                    Total yogurt or greek Fage is available at TJ's and also Whole Foods, but cheapest at TJ's. A serving of Total 0% (I have no problem with skim, though others say they prefer the 2% or whole... try the 0% first and then move up the scale if you don't like it, that's my suggestion...) has 15g of protein, 6g of carb, 0g of fat and 80 calories... a steal of a deal nutritionally speaking... I like it with splenda, cinnamon, vanilla, and sometimes a little high fiber cereal mixed in for a snack, but it thickens up a protein shakes nicely.

                    P.S. Quark rocks. Gelson's sells fat free quark, and I like it plain sweetened with splenda and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Great protein source, and great snack alongside some melon or pear or apple.

                    [I designed my Avatar myself at the Simpsons' movie site... You can design your own from face to hair to expression to accessories to etc. and then save and upload to Chowhound with ease.


                    Feel free to ask more questions... hope that helps!

                2. I use Droste's cocoa for shakes - whiz it up with a little of whatever liquid you're using (or a couple tbsps of water) first, then add everything else. Our favorite is 2 (or maybe a little more) heaping tbsps of cocoa, splenda to taste, 1-2 previously frozen, overripe bananas (depending on how thick and how banana-y you like it), 2 cups low fat milk, ice. I keep peeled, overripe, individually wrapped bananas in the freezer just for shakes.

                  Non or low fat vanilla yogurt (to reduce sugar, you can make a reasonable substitute with vanilla, splenda and plain yogurt or use Dannon fat free, sugar free), canned pineapple in juice, ice.

                  Cocounut extract, mango, pineapple and/or banana; milk or yogurt.

                  Mori-nu silken tofu works well for fruit flavored shakes. I suppose other brands do, too.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: JRL

                    Hi JRL - I love your ideas! Silken tofu! I'll buy some Droste's - it's sold all over. I keep my own nasty old bananas in the freezer for my banana breads (add walnut pieces and dried cranberries - yum!). Canned pineapple is easy to get packed in juice and sounds delicious for a shake. With cocoanut extract - brilliant!

                    1. re: niki rothman

                      Glad you like them. I seem to have inadvertently deleted the shakes I've been doing lately.
                      Kefir (if you've never tried it, tastes somewhere between buttermilk and yogurt with a thickness between the two available non fat and low fat), TJ's frozen blueberries or strawberries, splenda. You may need to thin with a bit of milk.

                      If you come up with a good vanilla one, please post.

                  2. The original comment has been removed
                    1. My basic smoothie is a cup and a half of yogurt (whatever flavor you like; I use sugar-free, nonfat yogurt from Blue Bunny) and a half cup of milk, a whole banana and a cup or so of whatever kinds of frozen berries I have--strawberries, blackberries, whatever, sometimes frozen peaches. You have to put it in the blender in that order or (I learned this the hard way) you end up burning up the motor in at least the kinds of cheaper blenders I tend to buy.

                      1. re: revsharkie

                        This is my basic smoothie as well, I ususally add some ice cubes too.

                        1. re: revsharkie

                          So...the liquid always goes in the bottom?

                        2. Hi Hillary!
                          Great idea - nonfat no sugar ice cream as a base! Thanks!
                          How did I KNOW you'd be a chowhound? It is just so obvious, and with that food loving hubbie of yours! Honey, you've got ALL the Rothman votes!!!