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Caramel Apple Milkshake

Like a sticky-sweet caramel apple.

In liquid form.

caramel shake

Caramel Apples

This recipe reminds me of those gorgeous caramel apples on display at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Until I got my braces, I looked forward to caramel apples every autumn. (After the braces went on, I was probably more upset about not being allowed caramel than gum.)

Ever since I made the (No Sugar!) Cookie Dough Dip, I’d been curious to experiment more with blending dates as a substitute for sugar. I’ve heard people say they think dates have a caramel-like taste, and therefore I figured an apple recipe would be the perfect place to start.

This caramel-apple milkshake manages to capture all the deliciousness of a crisp, juicy apple, dripping with thick caramel sauce.

caramel apple shake

Caramel Apple Milkshake

(sugar and gluten-free)

  • scant 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup pitted dates (such as Sunmaid)
  • scant 1/16 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup milk of choice
  • 3 tbsp nondairy creamer (I used Silk. You can substitute milk of choice, for a caramel-apple smoothie as opposed to the richer taste of a shake. Or you can sub full-fat canned coconut milk.)

In a little dish, pour a little water over the dates and let them sit for at least two hours. Then blend all other ingredients with the dates and 1 tbsp of the water. (Drain the rest of the water before blending.) Alternatively, you can blend the dates a little before adding the other ingredients. The shake will get thicker as it sits.

View Nutrition Facts


caramel shake

Generously topped with Healthy Whipped Cream.

The cream melts into the shake, making it even more rich and delicious. I also drizzled on some brown rice syrup, more for presentation than anything else!

apple pie shake

Question of the Day:

Did you ever have braces?

Initially, I was really excited to get my braces on. I even worried I might not need them, because my teeth were always pretty straight. But once the novelty of having braces wore off, I wished I hadn’t needed them. Every orthodontist appointment, I hoped to hear that the darn things were coming off soon!

Yummy link of the day: Healthy Milkshake Recipes.

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Published on October 3, 2011

Meet Katie

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ABC's 5 O’Clock News. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating dessert every single day.

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  1. Christine says

    I love this shake! I didn’t have any creamer so I used 2 frozen light coconut milk cubes – delicious! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  2. deisegal says

    I got braces a bit later in life – I’m 30 now and still have another 6 months or so with them. I probably could have done with getting them years ago but my head was just not in the right place. I’m shortly due to get surgery as part of the treatment and I am a mixture of scared/excited about it.

    For me the “thought” of having braces was much worse than the reality but I know I would have kicked and screamed if I’d been told when I was younger that I had to get them (as it was, the dentist just said “up to you if you want them” which was much better for me as I felt I was getting to make up my own mind. I’ve had a few down days with them but out of 15 months so far it hasn’t been so bad! (I got behind my teeth as well so people who don’t know me have no clue I have them, sooooo worth the extra money)


  3. Jessica @ Jess Go Bananas says

    I remember wanting braces for such a long time! The same with glasses! I had both and now wonder what on earth I was thinking!!!

  4. Katie says

    Your recipes are great and your photos of them even greater, but your blog banner (the first thing the reader sees and the aesthetic tone-setter for the blog) looks like it was made in Microsoft Paint 10 years ago. I know this sounds like an insult and will probably be taken as such, so I apologize, but I only intend it as constructive criticism from an outside source. I just feel like with the skills you clearly have in making things look pretty, you could revamp it and so easily give the whole blog a makeover.

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      I do appreciate constructive criticism (even if it does hurt my feelings… I like the header!). However, I have so much I want to do and only so many hours in the day. I’d rather spend my time making sure my actual content (recipes and photos) are good than worrying about the header. In an ideal world, I could just pay someone to make my blog look all professional, but hopefully people will understand I’m not a pro and am trying to maintain this blog by myself, and hopefully no one will stop reading my blog simply because they don’t like the header!

  5. Sarah says

    Hi Katie! I have a question about the cookies ya posted- the no bake ones. I don’t have a food processor (yet!) but the closest i can think of is my Vitamix- would i be able to use that? Thanks a million 🙂

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      I think so… I know a lot of people make fudge babies in the vita. When I tried, it was very sticky, but maybe I did something wrong because a LOT of other people make them that way all the time. So I bet these could be done that way too!

      • Sarah says

        UPDATE: ok, vita is NOT the way to go. It didn’t pricess the raisind or the nuts really well. So i got huge chunks of raisins that didn’t taste too good. Maybe i nedd to geta food processor, anyhow i’ll try this milk shake fo’ sho’ 🙂

        • Sarah says

          sorry for the bad typing- what i meant to say was that the vita did not process the raisins. and i meant to say i n-e-e-d to get a processor- my total bad

  6. Rachel (tea and chocolate) says

    Wow I’m really intrigued by this recipe. Caramel apple milkshake? Sounds amazing! I’m putting dates on my shopping list for sure.
    I had a permanent retainer for three years, and braces for four years–a year and a half longer than they said I would have it in! I was not happy. But my teeth are straight now, I’ll give them that. 🙂

  7. shannonmarie (rawdorable) says

    It may be cold, but it’s perfect for fall. I had wanted to comment on today’s post. It says that the comments are closed. The same thing happened on the chocolate post the other day. Anyway, I just wanted to say that my family makes room for ice cream year round. Your frozen treats look delicious as always. Love the pics.

    Chocolate and pumpkin? I just saw a recipe for pumpkin hot chocolate in my Rachael Ray e-newsletter. Is that what you’re making, or something even better? 🙂

  8. A. Non! says

    The absolute ultimate natural caramel apple is this:

    Smush up dates. A food processor is fine. You want a sticky paste. Add water only if you really, really need to.

    Wrap date smush around apple. Put stick in apple. Eat.

    You will not believe how delicious this is, and how much it tastes like a caramel apple, even though it’s only dates. Looking at the recipe, you may think you want to add salt or vanilla or creamer or something, but try it with only the dates first–it’s amazing. (Though I haven’t tried this with Sun-Maid; I generally buy organic medjool or barhi, so YMMV.)

    In the meantime, I’ll try your smoothie; it’s a great idea–but I have a hard time not adding frozen bananas to shakes, so we’ll see what happens. Thanks!

  9. Cynthia Corral says

    I got my braces off at age 16 in 1983… and went right from the orthodontist to the mall where I bought the hugest caramel apple. It was the best caramel apple I’ve ever had in my life.

  10. Arin says

    I tried this recipe today and it was delicious! (The only change I made was blending in some ice to make it colder.)
    I picked up some more dates and applesauce at the store so I could make it again. And, I am thinking of trying some caramel apple oatmeal tomorrow.

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      I actually froze my almondmilk and applesauce for like 20 minutes, pre-blending… and the second time I made it, I just put it in the fridge for a day prior to drinking (which also made it thicker).

      Caramel apple oatmeal sounds insanely delicious!

  11. Ashlee says

    I had braces from 3rd grade until 9th grade. I had everything from the rubber bands on the front of my teeth to correct my bite to a retainer I’m still supposed to wear to this day. Note: “Supposed to” is the operative phrase in that sentence. Thankfully I never needed head gear or any of those terrible spacers I saw that kids had to wear.

    I used to have fun with my braces. I loved picking which colors of rubber bands I would get on my brackets. I’d get green and gold for my school colors, green and red for Christmas, orange and black for Halloween, you name it! My old standby was neon green and hot pink!

    It’s safe to say there was a lot of room for improvement with my teeth when I was little, and by the time I got to middle school I wanted those braces off like nothing else. I am thankful that my parents could afford to have me wear those things for so many years, though. A lot of kids in my town weren’t so fortunate. I love my smile now and it was all worth it.

    P.S. Thank you very much for all these great recipes! I’ve always had a tough time eating meat morally, and I’m also lactose intolerant, so having all these options for great tasting recipes is wonderful!

  12. vicki says

    if you soak raw cashews w/an equal amount of dates for 1 hour and then blend together w/a few teaspoons of the soak water, a little salt and vanilla, you will swear you are eating caramel.

  13. Claire says

    Still hoping every orthodontist appointment that she’ll tell me she’s taking them off. It’s been 3 1/2 years now!! Agh! She said in the beginning that it would be a year and half to two years. So much for that. This looks awesome though…may have to try it to satisfy my caramel cravings…more because I can’t have dairy rather than I can’t have them because of braces. You can always suck on the chewy things. 🙂

  14. Alanna says

    Ahhhh-mazing! I found this by accident when looking for the whipped cream cereal post, and it was just the ticket at the end of a crummy day. I couldn’t believe how thick it got without a frozen banana! Only downside is my blender didn’t fully process the dates, but that might be because I was impatient and didn’t wait more than 2 hours for them to soak, and it left me with little yummy chewy pieces at the bottom of my glass. 🙂 I added cinnamon, and even using unsweetened applesauce, it was perfectly sweet from the dates. Great recipe! As an aside, I noticed it’s missing from the milkshake recipe page ( in case you wanted to add it. 🙂

  15. Heidi says

    Holy fantastic! Just like a caramel apple….yummo!! I added a couple ice cubes and some whip cream on top and am singing like a fool 🙂

  16. rachael says

    having the shake right now. only soaked the dates for 10 minutes and it still came out AWESOME. used soy milk instead of creamer. YUM!!! Genius.

  17. Heather the Non-Vegan CCK Lover says

    I think I have you all beaten…I had braces for SIX AND 1/2 YEARS. Yup! Got them on the day before 5th grade started and got them off 2 months into 11th grade. I really disliked them, but I needed them. I had multiple teeth issues (big gap in front, overbite, etc); I’m really thankful my parents were able to afford it! Now my smile is beautiful! 😀 Even when I had them, I’d sometimes eat “bad” foods/treats…I just had to clean my braces out well afterwards. lol Katie this shake looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it!!

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