3-Ingredient Salted Date Caramel

It’s no secret I have a love for sweets. With this infatuation also comes a sense of selfishness of wanting to eat sweets that are better for me, because if I’m going to eat something sweet anyways, why not make it healthier? Especially when taste is not compromised. But I also know that many of you also share this same sweet tooth, which is where my food blog comes in so handy because it makes it extra easy to share in on the goodness! This makes my endeavor less self-centered, right? That’s what I tell myself at least.

I chose to make a healthier caramel after seeing little packs of single serving caramel sauces to dip apple slices in. Those packs looked pretty darn good too, I thought to myself, but it was the ingredients that steered me away. The ingredients really only mimicked a food-like substance rather than a wholesome food to indulge in. Rest assured, I knew I could make something similar with just a few simple ingredients.

One thing led to another, and then the 3-Ingredient Date Caramel was officially a success.

This caramel is so versatile it can be enjoyed in endless ways! Here are some ideas to get you started:

+As a dip for semisweet or tart apple slices (my favorite!).

+Spread over rice crackers, pancakes, waffles, graham crackers, nut butter toast, etc.

+Used in homemade candy bars like snickers or twix bars.

+Used in a PB&J or A(almond)B&J sandwich in place of the jelly..

+Used as a cake or cupcake frosting.

+Used as a sweet pairing with savory proteins like beef, lamb, pork, tempeh, etc. Or mixed into marinades for sweetness.

+Used as a sweetener in warm drinks or cold smoothies.

+Added over roasted sweet potatoes, butternut squash or pumpkin with some cinnamon.

The ideas are endless. Would love to hear what ideas you come up with as well – Just comment below or let me know on Instagram at @alittledough.eats what you think!

3-Ingredient Salted Date Caramel

(8-10 servings, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, refined sugar free, dairy free)

Ingredients:

  • 25 medjool dates
  • 1 can (400ml) coconut cream
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (add more to preferred taste)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Directions:

Place the dates in a bowl and cover with boiling water so all of the dates are submerged in hot water. Let sit for about 10 minutes so the dates soften. Then drain the water from the bowl and remove the pits (and any hard end pieces of the dates) by splitting the date in half lengthwise with your hand. Place the dates in a high speed blender and discard the pits as waste.

Add the whole can of coconut cream into the blender. The top of the coconut cream may be solid while the remainder is liquid – that’s normal! You just want the coconut cream can to be at room temp or fully liquid so it blends well. If you’re using a refrigerated/frozen coconut cream can just place under hot water to soften for a few minutes.

Add the sea salt and vanilla extract (if using) into the blender and blend all the ingredients together until a very smooth consistency is met. This may take some mixing and 2-3 times to get it extra smooth depending on the blender you use.

Transfer the blended mixture into a pot and heat over medium-low heat, while stirring with a heat-proof spatula or whisk. As the caramel is heated, it will start to thicken and the flavors intensify and become more characteristic of caramel. You want to make sure to continue stirring to prevent burning of the caramel. Once steam is coming off of the caramel, you will likely feel it caramelizing on the bottom of the pot. This is when you will continue to stir and mix in any brown pieces from the bottom of the pot – you just don’t want any burnt pieces, only brown!

Continue to stir for about 10 minutes or until the caramel thickens and is able to hold its form when stirred. Remove the pot with the caramel from the heat and let cool – it will thicken as it cools. Either serve the caramel warm or cool.

This makes a good amount of caramel – Simply store leftovers in an airtight container or jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Reference the list above for a variety of uses for this salted date caramel! You can also easily half the recipe if you’d like to make less.