Here’s a great, simple way to turn the season’s amazing apples and pears into a dessert (or anytime) treat. I served this date caramel drizzled on top of a pear and apple tart at the raw dinner/demo at Fresh Thymes last week. But it is so good just drizzled on fresh fruit slices (or even on its own – naughty!), you don’t even need to go to the effort of making a tart! Tastes just like the caramel apples I used to love to get at the fair when I was a kiddo…even better! Dip some slices and sprinkle on some crushed nuts or coconut for an extra tasty treat.
Makes about ½ a cup
½ cup (packed) of medjool dates, pitted and soaked for at least an hour
1 heaping tablespoon almonds (or cashews) (soaked for a few hours is best – not the end of the world if you forget!)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
½ teaspoon vanilla (or more, to taste)
2-3 small pinches of sea salt
Several teaspoons agave nectar, to adjust sweetness (optional)
In a blender, combine almonds or cashews with 3 tablespoons of water. (You could also just use 3 tablespoons of an already-prepared nut milk or soy milk, and skip the blending.)
Blend to a milky consistency, straining out solid particles if necessary (if there are only nut tiny particles, and you aren’t picky, don’t sweat it).
Add soaked and drained dates, coconut oil and vanilla, and blend until smooth, pausing frequently to scrape down sides. (This step can also be done in a food processor.)
Add salt – a pinch at a time, so you don’t over salt – and blend again. Taste for salty/sweet balance, adding a little agave or a date or two more if you prefer a sweeter caramel.
Refrigerate in an airtight container to chill the caramel prior to using, if desired.