Last year, I discovered date caramel/ toffee thanks to santifood co. It quickly became my everything – spoonfuls in tea, spread on bread, with yogurt and on and on.
This discovery led me to make a spiced version that’s amazing – sweet, fragrant and full of flavour.
Like chai tea? Look no further.
Like sweet but not from sugar, sugar? Here you are.
Want a spread, with peanuts? Chocolate? I’ve got you covered.
Dates are very popular during Ramadan as the fruits to break fasts with, as recommended by the prophet. Some people eat them, drink them, add to recipes and the like. In Nigeria, wheelbarrows are piled high dates and tiger nuts, and store shelves are lined with thick, fat Saudit and Emirati dates.
While the imported dates are soft and sticky, the Nigerian ones are hard and dry.
On to the date caramel/ toffee – a combination of dates, water and spices.
You begin by pitting the dates. I’m sure you can find un-pitted ones but I doubt they’d be as delicious.
If using Nigerian date, soak in tea or water till soft. Don’t discard the soaking water – you’ll use it later on to blend the ingredients..
Next is an array of spices. Lots of flavours go well but you have to use a deft hand lest you overpower the mix.
One blender full later, and you’re done.
Ready to ‘flavour, take 2’ – by way of groundnuts and chocolate.
I ended up making three batches – a plain spiced one, one with peanuts (my favourite – halfway to peanut butter but spicier) and one with melted chocolate.
I’ve been enjoying them on croffles, in tea and yogurt. I hope you enjoy it in more…
- 2 cups dates, pitted (softened by soaking in water or tea if hard)
- Pinch of cinnamon powder
- Pinch of ginger powder
- Pinch, black peppercorns
- Pinch, seeds of green cardamom pods
- Pinch of pink peppercorns
- Pinch of salt
- Chocolate, melted
- This is best done in batches. In a blender or food processor, combine 1 cup dates, spices and 1/2 cup water or soaking liquid
- Blitz till smooth 'caramel' is formed
- Repeat with other batch
- Refrigerate for weeks and use as a sweetener, drink, spread.
- I split my 'caramel' into 3 - one half stayed plain, the other got combined with 1/4 cup of roasted groundnuts and I stirred some into chocolate sauce for a number of variations on the theme.
- The key is in the deft use of the spices. Employ a light hand and add in batches, tweaking, recording, tasting till you get the perfect combination. Much success.