Sugar Free Sweetening (Dates)

dates

 

Sugar free baking….hmmmm is there such a thing? Or at least such a tasty thing.

Since I personally boycott  artificial sweeteners and the people asking me for this sort of goodie either can’t have or don’t want honey, molasses or pure maple syrup my options are limited. So where did I turn? Fruit of course.

Dates, apples, bananas and pears are all great choices but all aren’t always available, ripe or don’t perform at the same glycemic index level. I am a big believer in weighing pros and cons on whatever road you travel so my take…. I NEED a sweetener, it HAS to be natural, the DESIRE is for fruit based, they ALL have sugar content, and I WANT the most health benefits possible. The winner that best fits this…Dates.

These dates are very high in sugar but also full of fiber. Why is fiber in sugar consumption so important? Fiber slows down the absorption of sugar to your liver, which helps to regulate how your insulin responds. Dates are also packed with nutrients and minerals…not just 1% and 2 % of daily values, but significant amounts. So in my book this sweet little package is action packed and full of lots of those necessaries that I’m looking for.

Unfortunately though I had never eaten one, seen one up close or know how to use it in baking so what did I do? Research and more research. One point that stood out in all my searching was that medjool dates seemed the way to go. Picking them out was easy and there are more “expert” tips on how to prepare them than I care to recall, but most are pretty similar and relatively simple.

My condensed, cut corners (not necessary ones) super simple version.

 

  • Remove pits and stems (about 1 lb)
  • Soak dates in a bowl of warm water (about 2 cups; enough to cover dates) for about 30 min. (until softened)
  • Puree dates in food processor using water that they were soaked in adding a little at a time until you get the consistency you desire.
  • Store in glass container(s) in refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Simple and yummy. So far I’ve used mine for baking brownies, sweetening oatmeal, and yes right off the spoon as well.

Enjoy!

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