I used to dread making caramel sauce. It was really temperamental and there were all these things that could go wrong. Cooking it too long would make it hard as a rock. Not melting all of the sugar completely would turn it into a grainy mess, and what I did on more than one occasion, burning it…such a bummer 🙁
Every once in a while the sugar mixture would actually turn out, which meant it was time to stir in a bunch of butter and heavy cream. Then I’d proceed to gain a few pounds after licking the spoon, which had what seemed like a bazillion calories 😉
Well, I found a much better way to get my caramel fix—raw date caramel! Is it the exact same as the caramel made with sugar, butter, and heavy cream?! No. But, I think that it’s pretty close. So close that if I had to choose between the two, I’d pick the one made with wholesome ingredients any day. It’s delicious AND much healthier. That’s always a winner in my book!
The possibilities for toppings are endless! Chopped nuts, toasted coconut, and CHOCOLATE are always great choices…but really, when is chocolate ever not a good choice?! I mean, seriously, can’t even think of one.
They’re not only delicious, but they’re also super simple to make. I’m talking less than 5 ingredients and less than 5 minutes simple. Yeah, that means you could actually be eating this in just a few minutes…
Well, what are you waiting for? Go make you some and don’t forget to take a pic and tag me on Instagram so I can see your creation!
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- 8 oz. pitted dates
- 4-5 tablespoons water, coconut milk, or almond milk (More liquid may be needed. Milk makes it a little lighter in color.)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- pinch of salt, to taste
- 4 large or 6 smaller apples (granny smith, gala, or honey crisp are all good choices)
- popsicle sticks or other sticks of choice, one per apple
- Assorted toppings: chopped pecans, almonds, melted dark chocolate, cacao nibs, toasted coconut, flaked sea salt, mini chocolate chips, etc. (use dairy free chocolate, if needed)
- Add dates to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until broken down. If your dates are hard, soak in water for a few hours and then drain for better blending. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water/milk and blend until creamy. Continue to add liquid as need, one tablespoon at a time until caramel reaches your desired consistency. I prefer my caramel to be thicker, like almond butter, because I find it stays on the apples better than a more runny caramel. Add vanilla and salt, to taste, and blend until creamy.
- Place a popsicle stick into the core of each apple. Use a butter knife or off-set spatula to spread caramel evenly over each apple. Cover with desired toppings—chopped nuts, cacao nibs, toasted coconut—and then drizzle melted chocolate over toppings, optional. A good trick to get a nice drizzle is to place melted chocolate into a sandwich baggie and cut a small tip off the bottom corner and use the baggie like a piping bag. Squeeze chocolate out of the small hole of the baggie to get a thin chocolate line, perfect for drizzling!
- Place apples, bottom down, on a parchment lined plate or tray and refrigerate for at least 10-15 minutes to get chocolate and caramel to firm, although apples can also be eaten right away. Wrap leftovers in plastic wrap/bags or an airtight container and store in the fridge for 3-4 days.