Let me just tell you about a wondrous little sugar substitute called date syrup. Now keep in mind that just a few years ago, I didn’t even know exactly what a date tasted like. I knew what it was by name of course, and had probably eaten several things in my life that had dates in them, but I really knew nothing – in fact for some reason I’ve always confused dates and figs. Crazy, right? They’re nothing alike. So imagine my surprise when I started seeing delicious looking, ‘whole’ food plant-based recipes that used dates as the sweetener instead of sugar or even maple syrup – I was curious to say the least…
I had to try this out! I’d come across some recipes from the amazing Chef AJ that called for the use of this ingredient and I couldn’t wait to try them. Some of those recipes came from her YouTube channel, and some from her cookbook called Unprocessed, where by the way, she provides recipes on how to make both date syrup and date paste. Syrup and paste have the same ingredients (dates & water) but you prepare them a bit differently. I’ve tried (and really like) some of her oil-free salad dressing recipes, as well as her Black Bean Brownies – all of which call for date syrup. You have got to make those brownies – they’re unbelievably rich and delicious. Trust!
(Side note… the book I mentioned above is a fantastic whole food plant-based cookbook – one of my favorites (and I have MANY, let me tell ya) – the girl really knows how to build a flavor profile. Do yourself a favor and don’t miss out on her genius!
So back to dates. They. are. sweet. Like super sweet! Certainly as sweet as sugar, and maybe even more so – which is why they make such a great substitute for it. The best part… since it’s fiber containing, nutrient rich fruit our bodies appreciate it, and it doesn’t do that high energy/big crash thing to us that processed sugar does. They’re also health promoting as they contain vitamins and minerals just like all fruits do. My favorite way to use date syrup is in my oatmeal. I never thought I’d give up my brown sugar, but I have and I’m a happy camper.
You can of course buy dates and make your own date syrup or paste (quite easily), but you can also buy it online and at many Whole Foods stores (and likely other natural markets as well). Date Lady is my favorite brand – you can purchase it through their website and sometimes on Amazon. OMG… she makes a vegan caramel flavored date syrup that is unreal – I love to cut up granny smith apples and dip it up – one of my very favorite snacks.
I highly recommend dipping your metaphorical toe into the world of cooking with date syrup – I’m pretty sure you’ll be glad you did. And if you already have, tell me about it in the comments below or via my contact page – I’d love to hear from you!
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