My sweet tooth wasn’t fully eradicated by the vice detox during the dark, sugar-free days of 2015.
Yes, I’ve been better about not picking up half a dozen over-priced French macaroons on my way home from the dentist. Which thanks to my contrary nature, is something that actually used to happened. And by in large, I’ve gotten the casual weekday dessert thing under control.
The blanket exception though is ice cream. Can’t stop, won’t stop. But I have found ways to feed the beast without the empty carton collateral damage. And after all the chocolate eggs consumed this weekend, I’m thinking you too will need a slightly less indulgent egg-free treat. Something like these vegan black sesame milkshakes.
I know that using a frozen banana to whip up thick vegan ice cream in the blender is not a novel idea anymore. I teased you with all the wonderful fruity possibilities last summer in this recipe (via my friend Virpi Mikkonen, whose new book N’Ice Cream gives you dozens of other ways to make healthy ice cream without a fancy appliance. Pre-order here!).
This tactic is not entirely different from my healthy smoothie making, which usually uses a ‘nana or two for creaminess purposes. Swap in some frozen fruit, and you’ve got a sorbet situation on your hands. Add a little more dairy-free milk and a hint more sweetness (in this case maple syrup), and you’re in shake territory friends.
I’ve been guilty of making weekday matcha milkshakes in this fashion for months. But while I enjoy such things in my private life, and have caved to the trend in truffle-form, the internet seems a little over matcha madness. So I’ve been scheming for some time to put black sesame back in the spotlight.
Poor black sesame. Green tea gets all the attention in that post-maki food coma. But I’ve long been a believer in a few scoops of the black stuff at Japanese restaurants. It’s not too sweet, but has that perfect stick-to-your mouth salty quality of a nut butter-based dessert. I thought that my local bodega just discriminated against the flavor, but upon further research, learned that Haagen Dazs only sells black sesame ice cream in Japan–such a bummer! So as a workaround, I’ve come up with the next best thing.
So let’s talk about this simple 5-ingredient recipe, shall we?
To really bring out the nutty quality, it’s important to give the black sesame seeds a gentle toast before you pulverize them into black sand. This step is equally important if you don’t want to serve your milkshakes with a side of dental floss. (I may have failed on the hygiene front in the past, but a toothy black studded smile is a lose lose.) In addition to the frozen banana, this milkshake gets extra creamy from a good dose of coconut milk. Make sure you get the full-fat version—it’s worth it for the thick layer of coconut cream on the top of the can.
Finally, if you want to add a little extra something something on the sesame front, I highly recommend a tablespoon of tahini. This paste is made with white sesame seeds, but it brings out that sesame flavor in a way that hand ground sesame seeds never could. It also happens to be a little bitter, so you may want to add an extra dash of maple syrup if using. You’re in charge of your own sweet tooth.
So for a healthy weeknight dessert that harkens back to everyone’s second favorite Japanese ice cream flavor, help me bring black sesame BACK with these milkshakes!
I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter Sunday!
Vegan Black Sesame Milkshakes
In a small skillet, toast the black sesame seeds over medium-low heat until fragrant. Be very careful not to burn these guys - the darker the nut/seed, the easier it is to char further.
Transfer the sesame seeds to a small food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles a fine black sand.
Add the coconut milk, banana, maple syrup and tahini, if using. Puree until very smooth.
Transfer to a jar or cup(s), garnish with more black sesame and enjoy!
The tahini gives the ice cream that extra something something--the way peanut butter gives desserts that nutty background taste that ground peanuts never could. It's also slightly bitter. If you need more maple syrup, adjust to taste.