I Tried Tahini Milkshakes for the First Time and They’re Basically a Grown-Up Frosty
Tahini is — hands-down — my favorite condiment. I use it as a spread for toast and crackers, as a dip for apple slices and carrots, as a salad dressing emulsifier, and as a secret ingredient for baked goods. So when I learned that Chefs Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook had shared a recipe for Tahini Shakes (on the menu at their restaurant Goldie Falafel), I knew I had to try them.
How to Make Tahini Milkshakes
Tahini, or tehina, is a seed butter made from ground sesame seeds. It has a smooth and silky texture, and is slightly bitter. Most tahini brands are unsweetened, and contain just one ingredient: sesame. It’s a great thickener, so I was really curious to learn if it would make the shakes creamy or not.
The recipe, which is available at The Splendid Table, is simple but time-consuming and requires a lot of waiting. First, you’ll need to make the base of the shake by blending a half cup each of tahini and sugar, with 3 cups of almond milk, and a pinch of salt. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze them overnight. After that, you’re ready to blend the tahini cubes with a little more almond milk and a flavored syrup. Solomonov and Cook also share plenty of topping ideas, including dairy-free coconut whip and chopped chocolate.
I read the recipe and tips carefully before beginning, then stocked up on all of the necessary ingredients and began the process. My shakes were finally ready as a treat on an otherwise boring weekday afternoon, but I would not be opposed to having them any time.
My Honest Review of Tahini Shakes
I’ll get straight to the point: The tahini shake reminded me so much of a Wendy’s Frosty®. It has an icy texture and soothing sensation, just like the fast-food original. A Frosty® is not the same style as other fast-food milkshakes, which have a flavor and mouthfeel similar to melted ice cream. In my book, the Frosty® wins every time, so I loved this shake.
I especially liked that I could control how sweet the shake was, by how much syrup I added while blending it up. (The recipe includes a few syrup variations, including coconut and mint. I chose to make one with Turkish coffee.) For the toppings, I chose my favorite brand of pistachio halva, or sesame candy, but you can make your own if you’d like; there’s a recipe for that, too.
Everything about this shake was delicious, and felt like a grown-up treat. But I likely won’t make it on the regular: It required a lot of pots and pans, and a fair amount of dish-washing. Be prepared to use the blender twice, and simmer then strain your syrup. You’ll also have to plan at least a day in advance, as the shake base needs to freeze completely (there’s no ice in this recipe, so the frozen tahini almond milk is the only way to thicken it). Overall, I highly recommend this for fellow tahini fans like myself. Just keep the following tips in mind when you make it.
4 Tips for Making Tahini Shakes
- Stir your tahini well. Tahini naturally separates, so give it a vigorous stir before using it. Use your spoon to scrape up any thick parts on the bottom, too. If you don’t take this step, your shake won’t be as thick, and could taste oily. (You’d also be left with a layer of rock-hard paste in your jar.)
- Use unsweetened almond milk. The recipe calls specifically for unsweetened almond milk, so don’t feel tempted to use any other variety. Specialty flavors and added sugar will turn this balanced shake to a tooth-achingly-sweet sugar bomb.
- Have a paring knife handy. Removing the frozen tahini from the ice cube tray was a little difficult. I found it helpful to run a paring knife around the edge of each block before popping it out.
- Skip the homemade add-ins. Next time I make this, I won’t bother with homemade syrup. I think that maple syrup will work just as well, and will require a lot fewer dishes. Plus, with so many store-bought whipped cream and candy toppings available, there’s no need to make your own … unless you want to!