All hail the naturally sweet things in life, like dates. I’m not very shy about using dates as a go-to source of sweetness in recipes because their natural fruit sugars are wrapped in a mineral-rich package that makes for a prime treat with benefits. My only gripe about them is their fiber content isn’t always a good fit for recipes that require a smoother texture.
And then, what do you know. This company comes along and makes my wildest dreams come true by introducing a fantastic new product: organic date syrup.
Date. Syrup. (OMG).
I hadn’t heard of date syrup until recently, only now finding out that it’s been used (like so many fabulous foods) in other cultures for thousands of years. I do realize I just wrote a whole article on sweeteners, but this syrup is simply too good not to share. Its most exquisite quality is perhaps its luxuriously smooth texture – extra thick like caramel, with a softness that literally just melts away in your mouth. It’s very sweet, but not squintingly so (like agave syrup) if you taste it straight. More than I care to admit, my finger found its way into the jar . . . and to be honest the taste is so inherently delicious, I found it almost a waste to mix it into the flavor chorus of a recipe. Date syrup has all the elements of a gourmet treat just flying solo.
Because of this, I’ve taken to utilizing it in applications where it is not wasted as simply a sweetener, but where it can act like a true syrup and be appreciated in all its glory . . . drizzling it atop a warm oatmeal, a homemade banana soft serve, or just a touch on my little apple pear energy tartlets. It undoubtedly has an affinity for fruit, and quickly settles into the background flavors if you’re not careful.
One of my favorite experiments thus far turns out to be one of the easiest: Red Raspberry Popsicles – enhanced by date syrup that’s added just before freezing so it stays in tight little flavor pockets throughout the popsicle. Heaven brought to you by your freezer, and an ideal summertime treat. Here’s how to make them:
Red Raspberry Popsicles
Stevia (as used below) is fickle from brand to brand in terms of sweetness — making it nearly impossible to dictate measurements — yet remains a wonderful way to cut down on sugars. In this recipe, stevia extends the sweetness of the fruit sugars from date syrup and raspberries without adding a single extra calorie. If you’re not a fan of stevia, use another natural sweetener like palm sugar, or even additional date syrup.
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup frozen raspberries
white stevia powder (or liquid), to taste
2 tablespoons date syrup
Get popsicle vessels ready – use either a plastic popsicle mold or kit, or small cups with sticks. Recipe makes about 10-12 oz of mixture – servings will vary depending on size of molds used.
In a medium bowl, stir together the almond milk and vanilla. Add the frozen raspberries, and use a fork to “mash” them into the liquid – the milk will begin to freeze into a slush around the raspberries, which is the objective. Mix until chunky, but not blended.
Add a tiny, tiny dash of stevia and mix well. Taste the mixture and add more stevia if needed, mixing after each addition. The overall taste should be quite sweet, as freezing will bring the sweetness flavor profile down a notch.
Drizzle the date syrup into the mixture. Stir once or twice ONLY – just enough to incorporate the syrup into the raspberry mix, but allowing large date syrup swirls to remain.
Carefully spoon the mixture into popsicle molds. Freeze for 3 hours or until mixture is completely frozen through. Thaw for a minute or two just before serving.