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Substituting Pureed Dates for Sugar

Pitted Dates

One of the best things you can do with a lot of pitted dates is to puree them into a thick paste in a food processor, and use the pureed dates as a substitute for sugar and butter in baking. To make date paste, simply process soaked pitted dates in a food processor, adding the soaking water 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dates turn into a smooth, thick paste. You can freeze your date paste if you don't want to use it right away.

When using freshly made or thawed frozen date paste, you should think of it as a sweetener and thickener in one. You can often substitute date paste successfully for some of the sugar and butter in recipes for spiced cakes, cookies and brownies; however, it may take some practice to get the substitution ratio right for a given recipe. And, don't expect it to work as a substitute in all recipes. If you are fascinated by the idea of making healthier treats by using dates instead of sugar, you may also want to look for actual date-focused recipes developed by bakers and raw food chefs with experience in using Medjool dates and other types of dates.

Dried Dates CookbookTip: If you want to avoid processed sugar and make sweet treats using alternative natural sweeteners like dates, check out the cookbook Ani's Raw Food Desserts by Ani Phuo, one of America's premier raw food chefs. Pecan Pie Cookies, Acai Cheezecake, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Strawberry Macaroons, Mini Chocolate Lava Cakes are just a few examples of the date-sweetened recipes you will find in this inspiring book. To learn more about this wheat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, processed sugar-free cookbook, head to, or

Now, if you do want to develop your own recipes, here are some things you should be aware of: Dates come in many different shapes and sizes, which makes it difficult to say exactly how many dates you should use for every cup of sugar when you are using whole dates as a substitute for sugar. A common recommendation is to use 1 cup of pureed dates for every 1 cup of sugar as a starting point but to adjust the amount based on the unique characteristics of the recipe you are trying to tweak. This also includes making adjustments to the amounts of the other ingredients, particularly butter.

Finally, a few words on date sugar. Date sugar is a whole food sweetener made by grinding dehydrated pitted dates into coarse powder. Increasingly popular among health-conscious baking enthusiasts, date sugar can be used as a substitute for regular sugar in many types of baked goods. When substituting date sugar for regular sugar, a good rule thumb is to use 2/3 to 1 cup of date sugar for every cup of sugar the recipe calls for. In addition, you may want to consider increasing the amount of liquid in the recipe to account for the fact that powdered dates absorb moisture.

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