Date paste is a must if you are eating a whole-food, plant-based diet not only because it’s deliciously sweet, but because it’s the only sweet food that’s actually a whole food and it’s so easy to make and easy to turn into date syrup. Although you can buy date syrup, it’s rather expensive so you can save a few bucks, as well.
The best kind of dates for making date paste and date syrup are Medjool dates. They are the biggest and the most tender of dried dates and very delicious eaten all by themselves. One of my favorites snacks is to take a Medjool date, remove the seed, and pair it with a walnut half… it’s heaven in a bite.
Date syrup is a common staple used in several Middle Eastern countries as a natural, liquid sweetener. Medjool date paste and syrup are often used in plant-based recipes to sweeten dressings or to replace sugar in baked goods although they can impart a stronger taste that we might be used to with refined sugars.
Thankfully, dates are easy to find in the market. Just make sure you have enough on hand because you may go through them faster than you think.
Easy to Make Date Paste
To make date paste, all you need is a blender. A high-powered blender is best but you can also use a regular blender since we’re soaking the dates in hot water before blending. The recipe is super simple. Just add the soaked dates to the blender and blend until smooth.
The amount of water can vary. If you like your past a little thinner, then add more water. For thicker date paste, use less water.
Did you know that dates and molasses are the only sweeteners with any nutritional value? Check out my article, “Two Healthy Natural Sweeteners You Need to Know About,” to discover more about these two sweeteners. Unfortunately, almost all other sugars, including agave, brown rice syrup, coconut sugar, Sucanat, maple syrup, evaporated cane sugar and of course, white and brown sugars, are devoid of nutrition.
Learn more about evaporated cane sugar and coconut sugar in my article, “Coconut Sugar and Evaporated Cane Juice: Health Foods or Hype.”
And, while we’re on the topic of sugar, you might be interested in “The Truth About Fruit Sugar on a Plant-Based Diet,” and my “12 Tips for Avoiding Added Sugar on a Plant-Based Vegan Diet.”
Two Ways to Make Date Syrup
There are two ways to make date syrup. One way is to cook the dates with water for a couple of hours, then squeeze the juice out of them with cheesecloth, put the juice back on the stove to simmer, and reduce for about an hour until you have a thick syrup. This is the traditional way, but I’m a fan of expediency so I’m in favor of the second method.
This method is to take your already blended date paste and thin it to a syrupy consistency. I don’t know about you, but this works for me and should be good for recipes, as well.
To store your date paste or date syrup, use pint glass mason jars and store in the refrigerator for several months.
So, get yourself some beautiful Medjool dates and make some date paste and syrup today. And, try one of those date-walnuts, or any other nut, treat. You deserve it.
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- 4 cups pitted dates
- 2 cups water
- Cover dates with boiling water and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes.
- Drain reserving 2 cups of the soaking water.
- In a high-powered blender, blend dates and the soaking water on high for a few minutes until it becomes a paste. Add more water if it’s difficult to blend or too thick
- Store paste in a covered glass jar and refrigerate for up to 3 months or longer.
I made the medjoul date paste and I used the paste as a sweetener making dark chocolate treats since it would be better than maple syrup. I put two tablespoons of the refrigerated paste in the melted chocolate. This cause the chocolate to thicken and did not sweeten. I added more cacao butter to lessen the thickness. In order to satisfy my desired taste, I added maple syrup. The end results came out the way I wanted to.
Why did the date paste failed?
Hey Thomas, From what I’ve read, date syrup and date paste are less sweet than maple syrup so it seems you’d need to add more date paste than the amount of maple syrup called for in a recipe to reach the same sweetness. I find it can take a few times of testing a recipe when switching out ingredients. I need to do more testing myself on dessert recipes when using date paste or date syrup which is the better choice over maple syrup, as you mention. The chocolate was probably thicker because of the thickness (and cold temperature) of the date paste vs maple syrup. Perhaps if you add more date paste it would help both with the thinning and sweetness of the recipe. Glad it wasn’t a complete fail for you. Good luck with future testing.