An amazing topping that could easily be mistaken for real caramel, vegan date caramel sauce is delicious with fresh fruit, baked goods, and vegan ice cream.
The typical caramel sauce recipe consists of a cup of sugar, half a cup of butter, and some milk or cream. This 2-ingredient caramel sauce contains none of those, and instead gets its yum factor from dates and plant-based milk. That’s it!
Make it salted caramel: The optional third ingredient is a pinch or grinding of salt — you know, to make salted caramel — which takes it up a subtle notch. And unlike regular caramel sauce, there’s no need to cook this at all. You do need a good blender for this, though, to make it nice and smooth.
This is incredible as a dip for sliced apples and/or pears, or as a topping for vegan cakes and ice creams. The best thing is that you’re delighting your sweet tooth with fruit rather than devilish sugar.
Recipe adapted from 5-Ingredient Vegan by Nava Atlas. Photos of 2-Ingredient Date-Caramel Sauce by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com
A bit about dates
Dried dates come in several varieties, and you’ll find them in natural foods stores or well-stocked supermarkets, in bulk or in containers.
There are several varieties of dates: Medjool dates are large, with a soft, wrinkled skin and an exceptionally sugary flavor. Deglet Noor are smaller with a smoother skin. Less common are Zahidi dates, which fall in between the latter two in terms of size; these are less sweet and lighter in color.
There are others, but these three (especially the first two) are the ones most commonly found in Western markets. Though some may beg to differ, these dates may be used interchangeably in recipes.
Dates are a good source of minerals like iron, potassium, and magnesium. They contain moderate amounts of vitamins A, B, and C, and are fairly high in fiber.
Here are some other uses for dates:
- Date-nut is a common culinary pairing, and you’ve probably had them together in quick breads and muffins.
- Chopped dates are a good addition to hot cereals.
- Stuff pitted Medjool dates with whole nuts or a bit of nut butter as a snack.
- Added to smoothies in your high-speed blender, dates are a good, natural sweetener.
- Dates make wonderful chutneys combined with apples or pears.
- 1 cup pitted dates (preferably Medjool, but Deglet are fine)
- 2/3 cup (or as needed) vanilla unsweetened plant-based milk (almond and oat work well, but use any)
- Pinch of salt or grinding of coarse salt, optional
- Soak the dates in hot water to cover for 30 to 60 minutes, then drain well.
- Combine in a blender with the nondairy milk and blend until very smooth.
- If it seems like the sauce will be difficult to pour out of the blender, add just a touch more nondairy milk and blend again. On the other hand, if the sauce seems thin (it should have body, though it won’t be as dense or sticky as sugar-based caramel sauce), add a couple more soaked dates.
- Pour into a serving container and serve over vegan ice cream, vegan cakes or muffins, or as a dip with fruit.
If you like this fruit-based dessert, you might also enjoy …
See lots more easy vegan desserts & sweets.