Dates are wonderful little fuel-nuggets – their calories come almost exclusively from carbohydrates (read: natural sugar), making them extremely energy-dense, but they have an advantage over refined, granulated sugar. They are high in soluble fiber (good for maintaining healthy blood glucose and cholesterol levels) and are a great source of potassium, which is good to know if you’re a very active person, and want food that will replenish your potassium levels after a lot of exercise. Did you know that Medjool dates have more potassium than the equivalent weight of bananas and spinach? (Thank you, Google!) So the next time you’re out for day at the climbing crag, or out cycling or running, think about packing a few dates into your bag, for when your energy reserves are running low!
Another great thing about dates? If you add enough water and a bit of sea salt, you can whiz them up in the food processor and make a batch of natural salted caramel sauce! While it’s still a “sugar”, and definitely planted in the “treat” category, at least you’re giving your body the added benefits of good fibers, potassium, and a host of other minerals your body needs, which is more than can be said for using a pile of refined sugar.
This recipe is ridiculously simple – so simple, it’s not really a recipe! Throw a handful of pitted dates into a food processor, add a pinch of sea salt and a few tablespoons of water, and blend until you reach your desired consistency. The more water you add, the more pourable the caramel sauce becomes.
The first time I made it, it was quite thick and the consistency was closer to that of a nut butter. The second time, I added a few more tablespoons of water to thin it out, choosing a consistency really depends on how you want to use the final product.
We swirled it into homemade ice cream, and then topped the ice cream with toasted walnuts. It was a fantastic combination!
The next time you find a great-looking recipe that calls for a salted caramel sauce, instead of pulling out the heavy cream, butter and sugar, give this recipe a try instead. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
- Serves: 1 cup
- Serving size: 1 tbsp
- Calories: 26
- Fat: 0 g
- Saturated fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 7 g
- Sugar: 6.2 g
- Sodium: 73 mg
- Fiber: 0.6 g
- Protein: 0.2 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- 10 (~150 g) Medjool dates, pitted
- ½ tsp Maldon sea salt
- 4 - 8 tbsp warm water, depending on the desired consistency
- If you can, try to use very fresh Medjool dates, as they will be very soft. If the dates are a bit hard, soak them in warm water for an hour, this will make the puréeing easier.
- Add the soft, pitted dates and sea salt into a food processor fitted with an S-blade. Blend the dates until they start to turn into a clumpy paste.
- While the blender is running, add the warm water, one tablespoon at a time, until your caramel sauce reaches the desired consistency.
- Taste, and add more salt, if necessary.