So you know that dates and date paste are great healthy alternatives to refined sugar in various recipes, and it’s easy to see why. Because of where date palms grow and the conditions they grow in, the fruit’s natural sugars are concentrated, resulting in a taste that’s reminiscent of caramel.
Fortunately, making date paste is simple; you just need some hot or boiling water to soak the dates in before adding them to a blender or food processor to blend into a paste. Once you’ve made the paste, though, where and how do you use it, particularly for snacks? Here are a few guidelines to help you get started.
In Baked Goods
Whether you’re making muffins or a pound cake, you can use date paste as a natural sweetener and substitute it for dry sweeteners (e.g. white sugar) using a 1:1 ratio. If you’re using it as a substitute for other types of sweeteners, the ratio will change. For example, use a cup of date paste for every ½ cup of maple syrup.
Bonus: using date paste in place of other sweeteners will often give your baked goods a hint of a caramel-like taste and can make certain treats such as cookies a little softer or chewier.
As a Spread
If you love nut butter on muffins, biscuits, crackers, or bread paired with a cup of coffee or tea in the morning or afternoon, you can use date paste in the same way. Just make sure what you’re spreading the paste on isn’t already sweet, since dates have a naturally sweet flavour and too much of it can be overwhelming.
In Oatmeal and Smoothies
No one said that oatmeal is strictly a breakfast food, so there’s nothing wrong with having a small bowl of it for a snack. The same goes for smoothies; even if you replace breakfast with a smoothie, you can still have one in the afternoon – especially if you’re trying to beat the heat. Whichever one you plan on having, you can swirl some date paste into it for some sweetness.
As A Drink Sweetener
If you enjoy coffee or almond milk – or both – but want to temper the bitter flavour a little, you can use date paste as you would sugar. Just make sure to add a little at a time until you get the desired level of sweetness in your drink.
Some salads call for emulsifiers in the dressing as well as some sweetness to balance out other flavours. Date paste can fill both roles without sacrificing the overall taste of the salad. While not strictly a snack, a nice, cold fruit salad would be a welcome treat on a hot day, and you can still use date paste in the dressing for that if it needs any.
As you can see from the above, there’s no limit to the uses for date paste, in snack food or otherwise, as long as it can benefit from something sweet. We recommend buying the readymade version before making the spread yourself since it would take time to make the perfect date paste.
If you are in Australia and looking for an authentic date paste for sale, you can find what you need here.