Friday, April 19, 2013

Lots of recipes for dates

Coconut Cocoa Date Balls

I'd never thought about using dates for anything except straight eating, but recently I've come across a few recipes where dates are the only sweetener used and that's inspired me to search for more.

I'm motivated because sugar is deathly, while delicious dates are rich in fibre, antioxidants and potassium, and they are cheap to buy compared to other healthy sweeteners.

Dates grow in hot climates where they both ripen and dry on the tree. The sun crystalises dates' natural sugars, making them all caramel-ly and delicious.

I like to buy pitted dates because the pits are a pain to deal with. That said, the odd pit may still remain so it's best to cut your dates in half and double-check for pits, just in case one makes it into your baking and cracks a tooth.

I've noticed that dates work well combined with cocoa because they are the same colour, which is perfect for a chocolate lover like me.

There seem to be a few different ways to use dates in baking recipes:

  1. One is to boil them in a little water on the stove to soften them before adding them to whatever you're baking. 
  2. Another is to make date sugar by baking dates in the oven and then whizzing them up in a food processor. 
  3. And a third is just to add the dates directly to whatever you're making, either whole or chopped up.

Tasty looking uses for dates
How to make Date Sugar by Butter Believer

In place of honey to sweeten up smoothies, like in these marvelous sounding Riddlelove concoctions Apple PieBlueberry BlissStrawberry Cacao and Walnut Cranberry. I haven't tried using dates in a smoothie yet and to be honest, I'm somewhat nervous my blender isn't up to the challenge, but I do plan to give it a go soon.

Coconut Cocoa Date Balls from Our Big Earth- Just cook the pitted dates in a little water to soften, then mix with cocoa and chopped almonds/chia seeds/lightly toasted sesame seeds and roll in desiccated coconut for a lovely sweet truffle that will satisfy your chocolate craving without giving you a crazy sugar rush.

Cocoa Date Cookies from The Blissful Baker.

Raw Apricot Cobbler/Crumble again from Riddlelove.

Raw Brownie Recipe from The Rawtarian.

REAL Food on a REAL Budget has put together a page of links to lots of great Larabar recipes, most of which call for dates.

Double Chocolate Date and Almond Cookies from Easy Natural Food - These cookies are Debbie's gluten-free/sugar-free alternative to Afghans.

Here is a stack-load of Healthy Date Recipes put together by Eating Well.

What's your favourite way to eat dates? Have you got a fantastic date recipe I should try? 

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