The Secret to Healthy Desserts: 6 Recipes That Get Down With Dates

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Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shutterbean/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shutterbean/

Are you interested in unlocking the secret to healthy desserts? The answer doesn’t even require much digging. Dates are the fruit of the date palm tree, and are often used as an ingredient in desserts and other recipes, naturally sweetening dishes and offering several nutritional benefits. The fruit has certainly been around for a while now, but it has been gaining in popularity within the past year, and now more health conscious consumers are catching on to the fact that dates can easily be enlisted in cooking and baking to sweeten dishes, sometimes even taking the place of sugar or other artificial sweeteners.

The health benefits of dates are far-reaching, but one of the best things about the natural fruit is that although it is high in sugar, studies have shown that dates are actually a low-glycemic index food and do not significantly raise blood sugar levels after they are eaten. Dates are also loaded with fiber, have been shown to lower triglyceride levels, and deliver vitamins and minerals that are necessary to maintain optimum health.

Now, you really have no reason not to get down with this naturally sweet fruit, and dessert is arguably one of the best ways to give dates a try. Here are six healthy dessert recipes using dates that give traditional desserts a run for their money. Why use added sugar when you can just use dates?

1. 5 Ingredient No-Bake Vegan Date Squares

First up, a no-fuss easy vegan dessert recipe from Oh She GlowsAs the name of this recipe suggests, these date squares require only five ingredients, and they come together in under 30 minutes with no time in the oven. The star ingredient in this dessert is of course the date (surprise!), but there are also a lot of other elements that make up the dessert that give it its impressive nutritional profile. Loaded with whole raw almonds, regular oats, and coconut oil, these date squares reflect a dessert that any health eater can get down with. Cheers to natural sugars!

Ingredients for the crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole raw almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups regular oats
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 10 Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 25 Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions: Line a square pan (8-inch x 8-inch) with two pieces of parchment paper going opposite ways. In a food processor, process the almond, salt, and oats until a fine crumble forms. Now add in the dates and process until crumbly again. Melt the coconut oil and add to the mixture and process until sticky. You can add a tiny bit more oil if the dough is too dry. Remove from processor, set aside 3/4 cup of the mixture for later and press the rest of the mixture very firmly and evenly into the pan.

Grab your pitted and roughly chopped dates and water and process in the food processor until a paste forms. You will have to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl often. You can add a tiny bit more water if needed, but you want the paste quite thick. Scoop out the date mixture onto the crust and gently spread with the back of a wet spatula until even.

Sprinkle on the 3/4 cup of mixture you set aside and gently press down with fingers. Refrigerate in the fridge until firm for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight. Cut into squares and serve. Store in the fridge or freezer.

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