I love food - all of it. There are things I don't like of course, but I don't discriminate based on savory, sweet, salty, crunchy, gooey, chewey, comforty.... YUMMY food! I also really don't like processed sugar. My family started cutting back the sweets and baked goods years ago, and my kids especially don't get many sweets compared to others. They could literally probably name every piece of candy they've ever had and know which holiday or event it coincided with. I'm a full time work-at-home-homeschooling mom - I don't do crazy hyper "that's just how they're supposed to act" kids and artificial additives and sugar are the main culprits. We do lots of outdoor time to, and, well... let's get back to these dates.
Date sweetened recipes are amazing. Dates have this amazing sweetening ability like the lovely banana. Dates pack a bigger sugar punch than the banana, and not something I'd over indulge in - but these are going to be one of your favorite sugar replacements because they will give your baked goods such a similar flavor to your normal processed [brown] sugar. There may be some consistency changes to some of your favorite recipes - but you can pretty much sub dates equally in most recipes. You may need to adjust your dry ingredients or just expect a little different result in the end.
Nourishment from Date Sweetened Treats
Dates are high in fiber making these treats a great sweet selection during pregnancy to help avoid constipation. Dates are also high in iron, B-vitamins, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Tannins (supportive antioxidant when not in extreme doses), magnesium and so many other main vitamins and minerals that these can make a great option for a natural sweet option.
Making Date Puree for Date Sweetened Treats
Measure the same amount of dates as your recipe calls for. One cup of dates for one cup of sugar, plus a few extra. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water and puree. For a baked cake, you may want to start with pureeing first and then measuring out the same amount of puree as the recipe calls for and test out a small cake first to see how you like the flavor and consistency.
Date puree can be used for granola bars, nut balls or just simply to spread on toast.
Date Sweetened No-Bake Cookies
No bake cookies have to be one of the most crave-worthy treats. Not so much because they're the best tasting - but because of their conveniently fast prep and clean-up time. Within a few minutes of a craving, you can soothe it with a little protein, a little digestive support, and a hint of chocolate. Unfortunately, they're high in sugar and this is where your date sweetened puree will really shine. These no bakes won't setup like the traditional candied chocolate no-bake cookies - but they'll hold together well, not runny, and be just as chewy and delicious. This recipe can easily be doubled to feed a crowd, but I enjoy the small batch that doesn't cause binge-eating reactions.
Date Sweetened No Bake Cookie Ingredients
- 1/2 Cup pitted, chopped dates
- 1/2 Water (you can replace this with any milk choice if you'd like - or add more if you need to when blending the dates and adjust the rolled oats accordingly)
- 2 Tblsp unsalted butter
- 1 Tblsp Dark Cocoa Powder (or regular cocoa or cacao powder for a milder raw flavor)
- 1 1/2 C Rolled Oats
- 1/2 C Natural Unsweetened Nut Butter
- 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- Pinch Mineral Salt
Add the water to the dates and puree until smooth. Add the dates, cocoa powder, milk, and butter in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in the peanut butter and rolled oats. Spoon out onto a silpat and shape. Let sit until cool and store in an air-tight container. Refrigeration recommended.
NOTE: These will not setup like typical no-bake cookies, but will hold their shape. Alternatively, you can roll the mixture into balls. You can also omit the butter and just mix everything together after pureeing the dates adding - even adding more oats for more of a granola bar consistency. We're not trying to make candy, so you don't really have to follow the recipe on this one. Add sprouted seeds for more protein and texture - the possibilities are endless.
Date sweetened treats can be a great way of having a guilt-free choice for your sweet tooth craving. What are your favorite date sweetened recipes?