A Date (Paste) for Dessert

by Sarah on March 8, 2013 · 20 comments

In February, I was presented with the rare treat of teaching not only one, but two, cooking classes at Whole Foods.

As part of their Engine 2 Diet, 28-Day Challenge, each week there were sponsored workshops and cooking demos to support the (often) newly plant-strong participants, and I was lucky enough to not only teach a lunch-focused class (that I still like to think of as The Smart Kitchen Sandwich Shop) but also my very first class focused on desserts.

The Engine 2 Dietand the Whole Foods Health Starts Here program that evolved from its tenantscall for avoiding  processed sweeteners or any refined oils, and while you and I all know that sugar and oil do not always a dessert make, I wanted to get a bit more creative in my dessert delicacies than simply fancified fruit or whipped tofu mousse.

peach raspberry oat cake

 Mission accomplished.

frozen cinnamon date-nut cream pie

More on those in later days, because today I want to focus on something that anyone who has ever proclaimed love for raw tarts or Larabars knows all too well (and Miss Smart wishes she got more of ;) ):

Dates.

Did you know that when you soak dates–much like when you soak cashews or pistachios–magic can happen?

They might look like little poo*—

*And I don’t mean of the Winnie variety.

someone had to say it.

–but oh my goll, y’all

Soak them for an afternoon or overnight, then blend them up in a food processor, and you have a natural sweetener on your lips hands that is almost sinful on its own.

Add vanilla extract and carob powder, and you’ve made yourself a Carob ‘Fondue’ that is deliciously decadent.

(Let’s be honest, it’s really just Carob Sauce. Unless you considering the lack of patience that led me to dunk strawberries directly in the food processor bowl–in front of my class–an appropriate fondue form.)

 It also forms the base of one of the best treats I have ever made.*

*And the clear star of the show at my class.

just y'all wait...

Even better yet, not only do you get perfection from the plumped up poo dates…you also end up with leftover date-infused pee water.

Which I can tell you from experience is not only really delicious to drink straight up, also makes for a crazy good breakfast…

….when you use it (perhaps diluted a little bit) to cook up your oats.

Dearest date paste, I don’t know where you’ve been–

–but I sure am happy you are here with me now.

——————

Any post that references poo* and pee in glowing forms of eatable adoration deserves a Strange But Good nod, no?

*Not my first time in the toilet.

Make sure to check in with Laura today to see who else has joined the potty! [Errr--I mean...party.]

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

lindsay March 8, 2013 at 7:55 am

had no idea you could soak dates! oh i bet it’s delicious after. gonna make me some paste!

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Sarah March 8, 2013 at 8:02 am

You will seriously LOVE it. I want to eat it by the spoonful but have to remind myself that that would be pretty much the same thing as straight shooting honey or maple syrup. [Although how good does THAT sound? ;) ]

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Tricia @ Saving room for dessert March 8, 2013 at 8:40 am

Saving and using the date infused water is nothing less than brilliant! Awesomeness – completely! Have a lovely warm spring-like weekend Sarah!

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Lindsey @ Pas de Deux March 8, 2013 at 9:34 am

Per your excellent advice, I soaked some dates last Saturday (for use is a semi-failed attempt to make nutella, but that’s another story), and saved the “juice.” I used it today to make a smoothie sauce with butternut squash, banana, pumpkin pie spice, and coconut milk, poured over a bowl of popped amaranth. Strange? Yes. Delicious? For sure!! I can’t wait to make the pure date paste…

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Michelle @ Eat Move Balance March 8, 2013 at 9:57 am

Dates in desserts are fantastic for a natural sweetener! But I’ve never soaked them first. Agreed–they look like poo. But, hey, it’s all in the name of delicious date goodness!

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Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning March 8, 2013 at 10:06 am

Geez, what’s with all the poop and pee? Nothing like a little bathroom humor to make me hungry! ;)
I love dates- they’re definitely something that is (sadly) underutilized in my kitchen!

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Liz @ iheartvegetables March 8, 2013 at 11:02 am

Hahaha you crack me up. That date stuff sounds delicious (but yes, looks a little gross) haha

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Allie March 8, 2013 at 11:18 am

Good lord this paste looks so insanely rich, delicious and yet, somehow, not too bad for you. But I have to admit…I kept scrolling back up to start at that pie ;)

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Heather @ Better With Veggies March 8, 2013 at 11:38 am

What an AWESOME idea!! I want date carob fondue now. :)

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table March 8, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Oh yum. I made date paste loooong ago for a vegan brownie recipe on a no-defunct blog. There is no point to this story other than to say it was deliciius and your idea is amazing. I love carob. And I love strange things in fodue-form.

And I totally respect any potty references. Because I’m a 10 year old. ;)

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Maria March 8, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Oh potty humor. And this is why you and my husband will get along juuuust fine. (When you finally meet him.)

And this is why you and I get along just fine as well.

Happy a wonderful weekend! xoxo

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Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers March 8, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Mmmm, I want that oat cake! Though I prefer soaked raisins, I never thought of soaking dates. Yum!

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Haley @ fullnfit March 8, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Never thought of soaking my dates! I can’t believe how versatile they are, too :)

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Carla March 8, 2013 at 8:15 pm

Well, that was kind of an interesting post turned disgusting.

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Sarah March 8, 2013 at 8:24 pm

It’s all in good fun! Just a little stupid giggle on a Friday. :)

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Brittany @ Delights and Delectables March 8, 2013 at 10:12 pm

I can say from experience… Date paste= heaven!

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Debbie (Accidently Delish) March 8, 2013 at 10:13 pm

i LOVE dates and even though carob isn’t in my near future i’m sure unsweetened cocoa would make just as a delicious paste. this is moving top on my list of things to make from you. it’s a long list by the way.

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Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli March 13, 2013 at 8:20 am

The last line…omg, I about peed myself!! No seriously! I have to pee, but I was like, wait, I have to finish reading this post first…I’m almost completely caught up!! Bahahaha!

I’ve made what I called date paste in the past, but I didn’t soak them first…thus missing out on the glowing pee part of this that now I see I must get in on…I want date pee infused oats! Said no one…until now! ;)

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