Rich and sticky and way less sugar than other natural sweeteners. Yep, that’s true.
But you’ve got to like dates to enjoy it, or at least that molasses-treacley type of flavour. It’s smells of molasses and has a lovely silky feel in the mouth when you try it off a teaspoon, and it’s clean, not cloying, but it tastes overwhelmingly of dates and if dates aren’t your thing ….
BUT (a big but this time!), when you use it as a sweetener, that datey-ness dissipates somewhat, giving baking a rich sweet and fruity flavour that is quite delicious.
Why should you use it?
Dates have excellent antioxidant activity – they can just about sustain life (not quite!) – and are rich in potassium, have heaps of Vitamin C when fresh and have an assortment of minerals and fibre, and they contain protein and carbohydrates. Read about dates here Dates
Apart from fresh and dried dates, date syrup is also available. It’s made from dates and nothing else and saves you the faffing around soaking dates and turning them into a purée (to make a purée, soak dates in warm water for 30 minutes, drain and blend with a little lemon juice and fresh water to form a purée). Date syrup is easy to use, squeezed over porridge, waffles, French toast, pancakes or crêpes, or used in baking in place of refined sugar. It’s also easy to add a squeeze to smoothies and drinks when you want a hint of sweetness but don’t want to use traditional sweet ingredients like refined sugar or bananas. In baking, use less date syrup to replace refined sugars, approximately ⅔ cup date syrup to replace 1 cup of sugar, and you will need to reduce any liquid in the batter a little as well. Experiment! It works particularly well when replacing brown sugar in baking because it has a similar flavour profile. And it helps keep cakes moist, meaning they will stay fresh for longer. You can also try it in savoury dishes.