An Alluring Date

Give me a new ingredient, and I’ll practically move heaven and earth to find a way to use and enjoy it, no matter how unusual or scarce it may be. I make a point to try everything vegan at my disposal at least once, and some of my favorite fresh discoveries have been made this way. Thus, when I was approached by Organics Are For Everyone about trying out date syrup, the mere concept was irresistibly appealing. Never before had I considered a syrup made solely of those naturally sweet and succulent fruits, and yet it made so much sense- Thank goodness someone thought of the concept and bottled it!

Tasting for all the world like pure dates in liquid form, like one would expect, it pours just like molasses and has a pleasantly demure sweetness, much less in-your-face sugary than agave or maple. Though I can happily see using this as a simple topping on pancakes or even ice cream, I was clamoring to get this nectar into the kitchen to see what it could do in some treats.

Using the deep, molasses-like, earthy flavors to my advantage, I started out by dabbling a bit on the savory side of the street. Truthfully, more like the sweet-and-salty side, these candied cashews are all of the above, and then some. Tangy from a healthy dose of balsamic vinegar, and just a touch spicy thanks to a little pinch of cayenne and paprika, they’ve got it all going on, and are incredibly addictive to boot. Pleasing all realms of the palate, it’s disconcertingly easy to just munch on handfuls of these little morsels while watching a movie or chatting it up with friends.

Thinking more towards healthy sweets, this date syrup seemed like the perfect thing to introduce to a crispy snack bar. Packed with wholesome things like oats, wheat germ, and puffed rice, it’s easy to excuse that little handful of chocolate chips and think of these as health food. Plus, the date syrup keeps things from being tooth-achingly sweet, so it’s hard to feel guilty about these simple little squares. Ideal for packing in a lunch box or taking along for a snack on the road, these will absolutely see a repeat performance in my kitchen sooner or later.

Now I don’t usually share two recipes in one post, but both of these were so incredibly good, I can hardly leave you guys hanging. Just consider it a little “thank you” gift for being so patient while I got my school situation under control!

Sweet and Salty Balsamic Cashews

1/4 Cup Date Syrup
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Raw Sesame Seeds
1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Paprika
2 Cups Whole, Raw Cashews

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

Simply whisk together all of the wet ingredients and spices, and once everything is combined, add in the cashews and toss to coat. Pour everything out onto your prepared sheet, spreading the nuts out into an even layer so than none are overlapping. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until there’s no remaining liquid between the cashews and the nuts themselves are golden brown.

Pull the silpat or parchment paper off the baking sheet to let the cashews cool. Break up any clusters, and store in an air-tight container at room temperature.

Printable Recipe

Double Date Chocolate Chip Bars

2 Cups Rolled Oats
1 1/2 Cups Crispy Brown Rice Cereal
1/2 Cup Wheat Germ
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Date Syrup
1/4 Cup Date Sugar
2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Chocolate Chips

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees, and lightly grease a 9 x 9-inch baking pan.

Place the oats, rice cereal, wheat germ, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl, and toss to combine. Set aside.

In a medium sauce pan, combine the date syrup, date sugar, and coconut oil, and set over medium heat. Cool until the sugar has dissolved, and the mixture is just on the brink of boiling. Incorporate the vanilla, and quickly pour the hot syrup into the bowl of dry goods. Mix gently but thoroughly to combine. Add in the chips and stir to distribute them through the mixture. (Adding them last helps to prevent them from melting, but if you’d prefer an all-over chocolate bar, go ahead and add them first to the syrup, let them sit for a moment to melt, and them stir everything together.)

Transfer everything into your prepared pan, and use lightly greased hands or a non-stick spatula to firmly press the mixture into the bottom of the pan. Bake for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges. Let cool completely in the pan before turning out onto a cutting board and slicing into bars.

Makes 16 – 25 Bars

Printable Recipe


55 thoughts on “An Alluring Date

  1. Ooooh dear… Dates in liquid form? Hannah, I just recently (over the past few months) discovered dates after buying them by accident (I always used to mix them up with dried prunes). They are now my favourite fruit ever (well, for now) and I easily consume about four a day. Now, you offer *two* recipes using this heavenly liquid? Oh, I must find some in Montreal! Great job improvising with this lovely sweetener, and I look forward to trying my hand at this–even if I have to resort to making the syrup myself ;) Good luck with school work!

  2. FANTASTIC! Date syrup is a very common ingredient here and you can find it at all the grocery stores. I’m a huge fan of dates so it is a favorite of mine. I can’t wait to try these recipes, especially the double date bars, those look YUMMY!

  3. Looks great! I’m getting to the point where I really prefer a more subtle sweetness.
    Nice idea pairing it with balsamic.
    Eco Mama

  4. I have never seen date syrup anywhere around here, but if I ever find it I will be sure to buy it. If it tastes nearly as amazing as dates themselves do, I know I’ll like it!

  5. I was JUST thinking about date syrup lately and attempted to make it myself in the kitchen. I learned that you’d probably have to have about 10 cups of dates to make about 1 cup of date syrup that would be usable. So I put the idea on the back burner (pun intended). $10/jar isn’t too bad. This is a great way to expand into fruit-sweetened baking. I can’t wait to start experimenting. Nice job on the cashews!

  6. I must get my hands on a jar of date syrup! I have a bag of rock-hard date sugar in my pantry that I grate on a microplane or box grater, so a jar of thick, easy-to-pour date syrup sounds fantastic.

    Your cashews and bars look fantastic. Great use of a fun new ingredient!

  7. Hannah,here in Israel date syrup is very popular and it is called silan.There are even theories,that when saying the country of milk and honey,the honey actually is date syrup,which was used already thousands of years ago.It is a lovely syrup, which I use a lot,in sweet and savoury things.You have some nice recipes here using the date syrup:-)

  8. I am so much the same way with a new ingredient! And your two recipes look DIVINE. I love a sweet-salty combo, and those squares would be perfect for a quick energy boost (or breakfast on the go)! Gotta get me some date syrup, I think!

  9. I love the use of dates in desserts to replace sugar or other sweetener and I bet this would be just as good! I made a molasses-based cake not too long ago that I loved and I bet the date syrup would be a great molasses substitute. I’ll definitely have to try those bars – they look awesome!

  10. Oh man I am drooling over those cashews… Nom. Also, that post about the cheddar ice cream was awesome! My friends scoffed at me when I baked cheddar cheese into my apple pie once, but they still ate it. I have a hard time believing that I could convince them to eat ice cream with cheddar though!

  11. Thanks Hannah. I just bought a bottle from a Middle Eastern store and wondered what I could do with it.

  12. I agree Hannah if it comes to using a new ingredient or an old ingredient in a new way, you can do it!
    I use date sugar so I’m all over this date syrup!

  13. hey! i just bought a jar of date molasses! that’s got to be close to the same thing. both recipes look just lovely. although i’m always too afraid to make candied nuts because of their alarming deliciousness.

  14. Oh my gosh Hannah, date syrup?!?! I love dates and especially love baking with them so this is something I’m sure would see a lot of use at my house. I don’t know if I would be able to control myself around those cashews!

  15. I love dates! I found a some particularly candy-like varieties at the farmers’ market this weekend and just had to buy some, because they were just that good. Date syrup sounds amazing–thanks for providing the review and recipes. :)

  16. Hi Hannah, I love the name Hannah by the way-my sister is ‘Hannah Banana’. Anyway, these bars look great, and I love dates. So I can imagine date syrup is probably pretty great, especially for stuff like this!

  17. Oh wow, date syrup + balsamic vinegar on salty cashews = big love :) mighty yumm- going to look out for this delicacy for sure!! And of course, your bars look absolutely delectable, too ;)

  18. Oh My Goodness! Both look absolutely amazing! I love dates and cashews, can’t wait to give these wonderful recipes a try. You’re the best, Hannah!

  19. I adore cashews in all form and those look amazing! incredible! dangerous! I’m gonna need some date syrup because I have got to make those! My brother is also a cashew fiend – we often give eachother roasted cashews as a gift – so these will be such a great treat to brig to hom next week for Passover. Thank you!

  20. Oh, I have a jar of date syrup in my cupboard and I didn’t know what to do with it! Thank for the recipes- yum yum YUM.

  21. Oh dear heavens that first photo of the cashews is pretty much food porn at its greatest… I think I spy a replacement to my stand-by Union Square rosemary/cayenne/salt recipe! And date syrup in general? You’re right,that is such a brilliant idea.

    Lastly – keep on keepin’ on with school. It can only get easier (and over-er :P), right?

  22. I *love* dates! Date syrup sounds so incredibly good! Your bars look fantastic! The candied cashews look especially delicious, as well.

  23. I love using new ingredients in my recipes. Ingredients that no one heard about ! Date syrup sounds wonderful for diabetics like me. I’m gonna try to make it on my own. Can’t believe I never thought about it while I’m using dates for sweetening most of my recipes. Very excited to discover a new sugar alternative ! Thank you Hannah !

  24. Thanks for these recipes. I’ve already seen date syrup in stores but have never bought it yet. Some recipes are welcome. And as I was recently disappointed with a Chip Bars book (the bars where more granola than bars…), I’m very interested in your second recipe. Thanks.

  25. I’ve never seen date syrup – sounds like a wonderful ingredient to use in baked goods! Both of the things you’ve created look delicious. I used to hate date bars then came to really love them.

  26. Date honey is AMAZING! I also use it when cooking meats or chicken, as the sugars carmelize beautifully and give an amazing rich color. It’s also excellent in stew. A traditional Jewish sabbath stew is called cholent, and it cooks for close to 24 hours in the crock pot, I’ve been adding date honey to mine and it turns the potatoes and carrots the most gorgeous golden color, and adds a wonderful note of sweetness without overpowering.

Leave a Reply