Satisfy your sweet tooth cravings with the help of delicious date-infused desserts. While dried fruits may not be one’s first thought for baking, they make an excellent addition to various baked goods like cookies, loaves of bread, and olive oil cakes.
Nutrient-rich dates are also significantly healthier alternatives to granulated or brown sugars. Therefore, you can enjoy date-infused versions of your favorite sweet treats without any guilt.
We will explain how to substitute sugar with dates in your desserts and provide a few helpful baking tips in this post.
Are Dates A Good Substitute For Sugar?
Yes! Dates are the ultimate all-natural sweeteners and act as healthy alternatives to refined sugars. They contain substantial copper, fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, and Vitamin B12 contents. The dried fruits also boast a lengthy nutrition profile, including several immune-boosting antioxidants.
When baking with dates, it is best to use a 1:1 ratio to substitute the dried fruits for standard sugar varieties. Turn the dates into a paste for optimal results. Thanks to the fruit’s texture, your sweet treats will likely be on the softer side, which makes for an excellent base for chewy oatmeal cookies. In addition, date-infused desserts tend to be slightly less sweet, so you can always incorporate more paste as necessary.
Plus, they are often featured in vegan-friendly and gluten-free dessert recipes.
Types Of Dates To Use For Baking
While there are quite a few types of dates on the market, these two varieties reign supreme when it comes to baking:
Deglet Noor Dates
These yummy dates are a must-have in your kitchen. They have a firm texture and somewhat nutty taste. However, the date’s flavor is not too intense or overpowering, making them ideal for baking. Deglet Noor dates are also easy to work with and mix into dessert batters due to their drier consistency. Thus, they may even make an excellent substitute for raisins or chocolate chips in different cookie recipes.
Medjool dates are preferred for making paste since they are much larger and sweeter than other varieties. They provide a caramel-like flavor that is further highlighted in sweet treats. Although, please note that these dates produce chewier desserts since the dried fruits have a gummy texture.
Fresh Dates vs. Storebought Date Paste
Incorporating a date-infused paste is a fantastic way to feature the dried fruit in baked goods. It is straightforward to work with and quickly adjusts to a myriad of recipes. The product is not the easiest to find in-store but handy to keep stocked in the pantry, especially if vegan baking is common in your household.
However, we recommend whipping up your own version of the paste at home using a blender or food processor. Utilizing fresh dates will offer a more prominent flavor while allowing one to take full advantage of the fruit’s positive health benefits. Plus, this method saves you a trip to the supermarket.
Date paste also has a long shelf life and can remain in the refrigerator for one to three months. You may also freeze the paste in an airtight container for up to six months.
How To Make Date Paste
The first step is to ensure that the dates are correctly pitted. Slice the dried fruit in half and carefully push back the flesh to remove the pit. You may also begin to bring water to a boil while you work on date preparation.
PRO TIP: Removing the fruit’s pit by hand may get messy or sticky. So, we highly recommend wearing gloves for this process.
Next, allow the dates to soften in hot water for ten minutes. Depending on your desired consistency, the dates can remain in boiling water for up to thirty minutes. Strain once the fruits seem soft enough. In addition, you will want to reserve one and a half cups of the date-infused liquid to feature in the paste.
Then, add one cup of reserved water with the pitted dates in a blender or food processer. Blend to combine the ingredients until the paste has an overall smooth consistency. You may add more water as needed to ensure the date paste’s texture is to your liking.
Lastly, you can store the finalized paste into lidded containers in the refrigerator. We recommend using glass jars, such as mason or jelly jars, since they keep food fresh for more extended periods.
Simple Date-Infused Dessert Recipe Ideas
Dried fruits like dates make a stellar addition to baked goods in terms of flavor, consistency, and nutritional value. Check out these quick and easy to make dessert recipes featuring dates: