So I have rambled on and on about how my favorite snack is Medjool dates slathered in almond butter. By now you are probably tired of hearing it, but sadly today’s post is ENTIRELY date related. That’s because I have found a way to make them taste EVEN BETTER and I want to share it with you. There is only one ingredient and one oven (two if you want to make ALL THE DATES) standing between you and this amazing candied snack.
Let’s talk about caramelized Medjool dates.
These are Medjool dates. They are larger than regular dates and tend to be softer and sweeter. They are used to make amazing things like caramel sauce, are the base to many of the protein or energy balls floating around on Pinterest, and can be used to sweeten things like smoothies or nut milks.
I have shared before that I hate soft, mushy dates. In an experiment to try and dry them out, I cut them in half, removed the pits, and put them in the oven at the lowest temperature for something like 5 hours. I was left with perfectly tough and chewy dates that I then devoured with half a container of almond butter. Ok, not that much but it was bad.
I learned that drying them out in the oven also changed their taste. It brought out the richness of the sugar and left a deeper caramel flavor. I have no idea how to describe food except with absurd adjectives, so this is as close as I come to describing it. Bottom line: they were better, richer, and tasted like candy.
Now 5 hours in the oven seemed a bit excessive to me, so I decided to up the temperature some and lessen the cooking time to see if I could still get that chewy, caramelized bite of heaven (am I overselling this?).
I cooked the dates on a cooling rack to allow the air to circulate and evenly dry them out. Here is a nice horizontal shot.
But perhaps you would like a vertical one from my need to share everything date-related on Instagram.
As well as cooking them on a cooling rack, I also left the door cracked slightly to allow that air in to circulate.
After a 1/5 reduction in cooking time, I can safely say that I am fully equipped with an amazing snack that is way healthier than it tastes. My personal recommendation is to dip them in almond butter, but if you don’t have any on hand never fear…amaretto almond butter to the rescue!
Caramelized Medjool Dates
- Medjool dates (as many as you want and will fit on a cooling rack)
- Preheat the oven to 185 degrees. The temp needs to be low to avoid burning the sugar in the dates.
- Cut dates in half lengthwise and remove the pits.
- Arrange cut side down on a cooling rack.
- Place in oven and cook for 60 – 75 minutes (lower time for chewier dates). Leave oven door partially cracked.
- Remove cooling rack from oven and let cool for 10-15 min. The dates will firm up as they cool, so don’t worry if they still seem soft when they are done.
- Eat by themselves or a dip of your choice (almond butter, peanut butter, or I’ve even heard cheese is good from some readers!)
- Are you tired of me talking about dates?
- What’s your favorite healthy indulgence?
- What’s your favorite UNhealthy indulgence?