Did you know that, on average, Canadians consume about 88 pounds of sugar a year? And that one out of every five calories consumed come from sugar (Macleans, 2014)?
I love sugar like everyone else, and, as a baker, I use it often. But, sometimes, we get so used to using sugar that we forget there are other ways to sweeten things.
There is always honey and maple syrup (if you are going the natural route), but they definitely have a unique taste that you may not want in your dish.
With the push on health lately, we have tried agave nectar (which turns out to be highly processed) and coconut sugar (which is also good but doesn’t have that sweet punch you might need).
So, I started thinking of other ways to get that added sweetness but without all the processing.
This date paste is nice because it is not granular and can be stirred into things like oatmeal for an evenly sweet bowl of goodness.
And you can even use it as a filler for cookies like these rugelach!!
1. Take a decent amount of dates (I used about 2 cups) and place them in a small sauce pan; cover with water.
2. Bring to a boil then shut off heat and cover; let sit for 15-20 minutes (the length here will depend on how fresh your dates are).
3. Drain the dates (but reserve the water) and, if they have stones in them, remove the stones and puree in a high speed blender or food processor; add some of the soaking liquid to thin it out and get a smoother consistency.
4. If you want it a bit more creamy, add a splash of almond milk.
5. You can either spoon the paste into a mason jar and keep it in the fridge or pour into ice cube trays (or this awesome Ball Frozen Herb Starters which is used to freeze herbs but it works brilliantly with this too!) and freeze.
6. Pop out and place frozen cubes in a Ziploc bag to use whenever you like (just defrost and use).
Add it to your next bowl of oatmeal or your morning smoothy…then you can pat yourself on the back for being good today!!