I’m dreaming of a weekend escape from the city. A few days in the fresh, crisp autumn air. A little hiking, aimless exploring, wine sipping and apple picking. Unfortunately, however, there are no consecutive days off in the foreseeable future. The holidays are approaching and the days and weeks are quickly filling up, so I will have to get cozy at home and reminisce of our apple picking get-a-way of last fall. This dip is great for cozy fall days. The rich, caramel notes in the dates and the fall spices are wonderful with crisp apples. Even if, like me, the closest you are going to get to picking apples yourself is going to the farmers market, it’s worth making a batch of this dip to have around during the holidays. It so much better for you than the processed caramel apple dip you find in the store (take a look at the label and you’ll see what I’m talking about!) This is also a great snack for kids, satisfying the sweet tooth with fruit and all natural ingredients.
When it comes to sweets and sweeteners, dates are an excellent choice. They are unprocessed and rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Dates are rich in vitamins A & C, folic acid and a number of B vitamins. Minerals including potassium, iron, magnesium, zinc, fluorine, selenium and iron are also found in dates. As you can see they have more than sugar to add to whatever it is you maybe whipping up.
Raw Caramel Date Dip
- 2 cups medjool dates, pitted and soaked
- ¼ c tahini (or nut butter of your choice)
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- sea salt
- 1/4 t cinnamon, cloves and allspice
- 1 c reserved soaking water
Remove pits from dates, place in a glass bowl, cover with water and soak for at least 4 hours. After soaking, remove dates from water and save the soaking liquid for pureeing the dates. In a food processor, add dates, tahini, lemon juice, vanilla seeds, spices, a pinch of sea salt, and ¼ c soaking liquid. Blend on high, adding more water as needed until a smooth, creamy texture is reached. I used almost ¾ cup of soaking liquid, but add it slowly, as needed because the amount will vary depending on the consistency of your dates and the juiciness of your lemon. Top with a sprinkle of sea salt.
For a very smooth texture, put in blender after pureeing in the food processor. Note: if you have a Vitamix you can make this all in the blender. My blender is not powerful enough so for the best result I started in the food processor and finished in the blender.