Dates are the ultimate superfood! But let’s start at the beginning, what the heck is a date and more importantly, why should you care? To put it simply, these sweet and wrinkly little guys are an absolutely ESSENTIAL in your pantry because they have SO MANY creative uses – Let us count the ways…
- They’re one of the best natural sweeteners out there! They don’t call dates “nature’s caramels” for nothing.These babies are like tasty little candies without the chemical additives and artificial flavors! So, next time you’re thinking of making a dessert with no added sugars, pull out the dates!
- They’re an awesome binder. If you don’t know what I mean, think of it this way: what holds a treat together? What makes a brownie not crumble as soon as it’s sliced? Binders hold all of your ingredients together. The most commonly used binders are include eggs or Xantham gum, however, if you’re looking for a vegan or gluten-free binder, dates are your best bet! Even for recipes that don’t call for dates, toss a few in to your dough to make it smooth and sweet (but not too sweet!).
- They make an amazing addition to appetizers. There are so many ways to dress up dates, but our personal favorite is to stuff them with goat cheese and wrap them in BACON! Of course, there are vegetarian and vegan ways to prepare dates too – try veggie or tofu bacon, hard cashew nut cheese … the possibilities are endless.
NOW LET’S SEE THESE INCREDIBLE DATES IN ACTION:
1) Tahini-Date Salted Caramels by The Kitchn: These “caramels” are AMAZINGLY sugar free and you probably already have all of the necessary ingredients on hand, so why not try this healthy treat today!
2) Date Paste by The Healthy Foodie: Making date paste is SUPER easy, and the end result is a great alternative to processed sugar! Use it IN or ON anything that calls for a little sweetness: Use it as a spread, (that’s our favorite!), in baked goods, in homemade energy bars, or add it to your smoothies!
3) Devils on Horseback by The Kitchy Kitchen: Talk about devilish dates! This dish is both sweet and savory, crunchy and soft, chewy and crispy! Also makes an unbelievable appetizer. You will be the life of the party if you walk in with a plate of these puppies!
4) The Best Date Bars Ever by Vegan in the Freezer: These date bars are AH-MA-ZING! They feature 2 layers of a crunchy, aromatic oatmeal crust and are filled with a naturally sweet, soft and chewy date filling. The author even guarantees you will love them, and so do we!
5) No-Bake Snickerdoodles by My Whole Food Life: We told you dates can do anything! Snickerdoodles are a timeless treat, and we love finding new ways to accomplish their flavor without refined sugars or flours. Best of all, no-bake means no waiting! The recipe instructs to flatten the balls before devouring, but we like the idea of keeping them as cute little snicker-spheres!
6) Vegan Date Truffles: Our team member Abby whipped these date truffles up after much experimentation before perfecting her deliciously smooth truffle recipe! These truffles are dairy-free, vegan, and have NO added sugars! Best of all, there’s only 3 INGREDIENTS!
Vegan Date Truffles Recipe
Yield: About 20 truffles
- 2 cups of Medjool dates, soaked
- 4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder & additional 1-2 tbsp for dusting
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- Soak the dates for 30 minutes, or until soft. Use warm filtered water.
- Combine the dates and coconut oil in your food processor. Process until you have a smooth, chunk-free paste. If the dates aren’t getting smooth, you can add more coconut oil to help.
- Add in the cocoa powder in and process. You may need to occasionally use a rubber spatula to get the date mixture back in the centre of the processor.
- Once smooth, roll the date mixture into small, truffle-size balls.
- Sprinkle 1-2 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder on a small plate.
- Roll the truffles in the cocoa powder until covered. You can also roll the truffles in shredded coconut, chopped nuts…whatever your heart desires!
- Place the balls in a tupperware and refrigerate until cool and sturdy. Enjoy!