They’re wonderfully sweet and chewy with an awesome caramel-like flavor, which makes them the best candy replacement for snacking, the best sugar replacement for cooking and the best life savor during a workout when you are completely energy depleted (that’s why I always have some in the back pocket of my jersey when riding my road bike 🙂
Medjool dates are the best variety as they are much sweeter and stickier than normal dates, but basically you can use any type of dates. For baking, I use the cheapest organic variety and buy them in bulk. Dates are a wonderful natural sweetener and are packed with an impressive list of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals as well as fiber. Sugar on the other hand has absolutely no health benefits except it does give us an immediate short-term lift in energy levels. We are a society of sugar addicts. The average American consumes about 22 teaspoons of sugar. Sugar has absolutely no health benefits except it does give us an immediate short-term lift in energy levels…which is followed by a rapid energy drop.
Natural sweeteners will satisfy your sweet cravings (although the more fruits and vegetables you eat and the less processed sugars, the less will you feel these cravings) while supplying you with important nutrients.
Instead of using whole dates for cooking, I use my homemade date paste as a sweetener instead of refined sugar, sugar syrup or whatever unhealthy ingredient a recipe calls for.
Nothing is easier than to make your own DATE PASTE:
1. Place 2 handful of pitted dates in the blender.
2. Cover them with hot water and soak for 10 minutes.
3. Puree until smooth.
Store the date paste in a closed container in the fridge for up to three weeks. Mine usually never lasts longer than a couple of weeks because I bake a lot and use it up pretty quickly. Here are few of the recipes you can use the date paste for:
- OIL FREE LEMON CAKE
This recipe uses a buttermilk-like base. A replacement of dairy buttermilk has to mimic the original rich, tender taste of buttermilk which lends a creamy texture and tart flavor to dips, sauces and salad dressings. This can be accomplished by stirring in two tablespoons of lemon juice or cider vinegar into every cup of almond milk. Let the mixture stand for five to ten minutes. Avoid using rice milk, which won’t thicken the same way as other plant milks.
- BLUEBERRY QUINOA BREAD
Filled with antioxidants and extremely moist it’s a whole different way of using leftover cooked quinoa.
- LITTLE CHOCOLATE COFFEE CAKES
As the cacao bean is the most antioxidant rich food source known, this cake will provide you with an extra load of protection.
- RED VELVET BROWNIES
The combination of red beans, red beets, banana and raw cacao in this recipe is hard to beat. These brownies are brimming with nutrients.
What all these desserts have in common is the fact that I replaced oil or butter with apple sauce and refined sugar with date paste. Using these two substitutes easily changes every unhealthy dessert into a sweet nutritious treat.
Looking at the dessert recipes made me realize that far I haven’t included a lot of cookie recipes. This needs to be changed right away- be on the lookout for my next post about mouth watering PLANT-BASED COOKIE RECIPES.