The sweet celebration of Valentine's Day this past weekend got us thinking about candy - big surprise! And though chocolates are the traditional sweet during this time, we were thinking a little differently. We wanted to try to make a candy with no added sugar, sounds crazy right?! Well not if you utilize nature's candy, a little piece of food perfection called the date.
Dates are a flowering edible plant from the palm family that grow in hot climates. They grow in clusters on a species of palm tree well named "date palms" and are most commonly eaten once dried. A date palm can take up to 7-10 years to mature and once mature may produce a crop of up to 300 lb per harvest season. Our favorite variety of date is the Medjool date native to the Middle East and North Africa but also grown in other desert like regions across the globe. In our opinion, Medjool dates are superior to all other dates because they are the largest in size, have the softest texture, and the sweetest taste.....AKA nature's candy! Dates can be enjoyed on their own as a sweet snack, blended into beverages to add a little sweetness, or chopped up and added to baked or raw recipes. They are also great stuffed in savory or sweet recipes similar to our post this week. They provide, of course, sweetness but also a caramel reminiscent flavor and a chewy and slightly sticky texture. If blended, this sticky texture can even be used as a binder in raw granola bar recipes. But we will save that for another post. Today, no-added sugar candies!
Raw Coconut-Cashew Butter Filled Dates
PREP TIME: 5 mins
TOTAL TIME: 30 mins (includes chilling time)
Servings: 24 candies
12 Medjool dates
1/8 cup raw cashew butter
1/8 cup raw coconut butter
1/4 vanilla bean, inside scraped out
1/8 tsp salt, or to taste
In a microwave safe bowl, carefully melt cashew butter and coconut butter in 10 second increments making sure to stir frequently to prevent the butters from burning (this should take about 20-30 seconds). Add vanilla bean and salt to the butters, stir mixture thoroughly, then set in the fridge to cool for at least 10 minutes.
Remove the pits from 12 dates by slicing open one side with a small, sharp knife but not cutting the dates all the way through. Once filling has completely cooled, add 1 tsp of filling to the center of each date and carefully pinch closed. Repeat until all the dates are filled. Place the filled dates back in the fridge and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Using a sharp knife, cut the ends off of each date making two flat sides in which you can see the cream filling. Then cut each date in half making 2 candies per date. Repeat until you have made 24 individual candies. Place prepared candies in a candy box or tin or simply wrap each candy in plastic wrap. Keep candies in the fridge for taste and freshness.
So how's that for satisfying a candy craving the natural way? The dates are gooey and oh so sweet and pair nicely with the rich coconut-cashew filling. This might be just what you need if you may (or may not have) had too many boxed chocolates this past weekend. And don't forget about the wonderful date as a sweet ingredient in your kitchen from now on.
Jess and Cecelia
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Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.