Medjool dates are my friend! I head to our local markets and buy 1kg at a time. They store really well in an airtight container in the fridge for about a month.
Now – yes, dates have a quite a high sugar content (roughly 80%) … BUT… and it is a big but, they are loaded with other beneficial nutrients and fibre that reduces the load on your body and mutes your insulin response when compared to regular sugar. So if you are after a small amount of sweetener in you food – dates are a great option.
I use 1 in a smoothie, or 4-6 in a whole batch of muffins or cookies, or even 12 in a batch of about 24 bliss balls. So you get the sweetness and the benefit of the whole food but the overall load is quite small.
I have been experimenting with date paste as my sweetener in cooking when I want a smoother option (or less obvious ‘bits’) and it is divine!
There are 2 ingredients (if you count water?!) and 2 steps – so very very easy!!!!
Pit 12 medjool dates, place them in a bowl and cover them with 1/2 cup boiling water.
Leave them sit for 1/2 an hour, then transfer the dates, with habout 1/2 of the water, to a high powered processor/blender/nutribullet/thermal cooker and blitz until smooth. If the mix is to chunky to blend, add 1 tsp of the remaining water at a time until you can form a smooth paste.
Store in a glass jar in the fridge for a couple of week, or freeze in ice cubes for later use.
1 heaped tsp = 3/4 of 1 date.
P.S. If you want a yummy ‘caramel’ – blitz equal parts of this paste together with my sunflower seed butter, a pinch of cinnamon, a pinch of pink salt and a bit of vanilla bean pastes – heavenly!!!!