Sugar has been getting a lot of attention lately. Really, it’s always gotten some type of attention. Is it good or bad? Are there better or healthier sugars? Are no calorie sweeteners ruining our health? Will you die immediately if you have one of your grandma’s famous chocolate chip cookies?
There are so many opinions, studies, research, and questions swirling around sugar lately as more and more people are trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle. I don’t have all the answers about sugar, but I can share my experience/relationship with sugar.
When I totally changed the way I ate a few years ago, I cut out refined sugar. No more white sugar or brown sugar. I relied mostly on honey as a sweetener, but for a long time I avoided anything sweet other than fruit. That worked for a little while and eventually I didn’t crave sugar like I used to but every now and then I wanted something sweet. At first I thought that was a weakness on my part, but I’ve learned that it’s ok to crave things and to address those cravings in the way that makes me feel best. I still avoid refined sugar, but I use things like honey, molasses, and maple syrup as sweeteners when I’m baking and cooking.
Today’s DIY is all about another type of sweetener, date sugar. I’ve seen it in stores like Whole Foods and usually it’s really expensive for a small amount. When I saw that dates were the only ingredient, I figured I could make my own. A quick search on Google confirmed that it is a thing and you can make your own date sugar. I like this sweetener because it isn’t a liquid sweetener like honey or syrup. It doesn’t dissolve in liquid like white sugar, but it does add a really nice caramel flavor. You can use this in oatmeal in place of brown sugar, in baked goods, or even in coffee or tea if you don’t mind the grainy bits. I also like this sweetener because it offers all the nutritional benefits of dates while adding a sweet flavor.
- 20 Medjool dates, pitted and sliced in half
- Preheat oven to 250 and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.
- Arrange the sliced dates on the sheet and bake in the oven for 2-3 hours checking every so often to make sure the dates don’t burn.
- Turn off the oven and let the dates sit in the oven for another few hours or overnight until the are completely hard.
- Once the dates are cooled and hardened, put them into a blender or food processor and grind until you have a fairly fine powder.
Told you this one was easy! Now remember, the one thing about sugar I can tell you is that sugar is sugar. Your body can’t tell the difference between high fructose corn syrup or date sugar. It’s ok to have a sweet treat now and then but don’t make this the basis of everything you put in your mouth. It’s all about balance people!