Although some might say incredibly delicious on their own or kept simple (hello stuffed dates), dates are one of the most versatile natural sweeteners and can be added to an array of sweet recipes.
These flavorsome little fruits add sweetness and a delicious caramel taste to treats and snacks. Their fibrous composition provides structure to desserts. Because of their natural sugary stickiness, they can also act as a binding agent.
Dates are native to the Middle East and grow from big trees known as date palms. They can be eaten both semi-dried or fresh and are intensely sweet, more so once they are partially dried. (source: Bon Appetit)
Whether you want a healthy date caramel dip for dunking apples or decadent date-sweetened brownies, there are countless ways to incorporate these nutrient-dense fruits into your recipes.
🍬 Date Sweetened Desserts and Snacks
Dates are the perfect natural sweetener for making no-bake cookies and healthier snacks. Here are some simple recipes using dates that will satisfy any sweet tooth.
Chocolate Covered Dates with Peanut Butter
Vegan Oreos (No-Bake)
Vegan Wagon Wheels (Moon Pies)
🍫 Date Brownies
Juicy dates are the perfect way to sweeten raw brownies as they help stick and keep all of the ingredients together.
Vegan Caramel Brownies (No Bake, Gluten Free)
Vegan Peanut Butter Brownies (No Bake)
Raspberry Mocha Mousse Brownies (Vegan)
No Bake Date Brownies
Vegan Peanut Butter Jelly Brownies
🍯 Desserts with Date Caramel
As well as being an amazing snack paired with fruit or cookies, date caramel makes a lovely addition to desserts, especially no-bake recipes.
In fact, you can even use date caramel as a means to sweeten smoothies or serve on the side with some dairy-free ice cream.
Vegan Snickers Bars (No-bake, GF)
Vegan Mars Bars
Vegan Snickers Tart (No Bake, Gluten Free)
Mars Ice Cream Bars (Vegan)
🍰 Cakes Sweetened with Dates
One of the most common ways to make desserts with dates is to add them to the crust in no-bake cheesecake recipes.
Their main purpose here is to provide sweetness and to hold ingredients together. This is a great way to disguise their flavor and incorporate dates into your recipes - even if you're not too fond of their flavor!
Strawberry Cheesecake Bars (No Bake, Vegan)
Vegan Sticky Toffee Pudding
No-Bake Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake
Vegan Mango Cheesecake
Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Bars
No-Bake Carrot Cake Cheesecake
No Bake Lemon Cheesecake Bars
👩🍳 Expert Tips
- Select the best quality dates. Medjool dates will always have a special place in my heart, their deep caramel flavor and juicy texture make them perfect for desserts. Whichever variety you go for, make sure you go for dates that are plump, soft, and shiny.
- Store dates in the fridge, not at room temperature. Although dates are usually sold from the ambient section of the supermarket, they actually hold their freshness much better in the fridge. So do yourself a favor and keep them stored chilled in an airtight container for maximum freshness.
- Soak dried dates before adding them to your blender. This is not always necessary but helps if your dates are on the drier side. Presoak your dates in warm water for 30 minutes, drain and then gently dab off the excess water with a clean tea towel before use.
- Make sure you remove the pits. Seriously, your blender (no matter how high-end) will not appreciate date pits in the mix. Do your equipment and your teeth a favor, and make sure you remove all date pits before adding them to any recipe.
➕ More Naturally Sweetened Desserts
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