As a Functional Nutritionist, you may be wondering why I’m sharing a recipe for sweets… for an amazing spoonable vegan caramel, in fact!

Everyday, I work with people who are trying to figure out what foods they can eat to support their health. What foods trigger symptoms? Which ones enhance energy and reduce pain? The relationship with food becomes challenging. It becomes confusing.

When you follow an anti-inflammatory diet or most any dietary approach, you may come to categorize foods as good and bad. The “food as fuel” mentality may feel like a mantra. Being mindful of what you eat is good practice, but there is always room for balance. Food is social. It is comfort and pleasure. Eating is sensual and tactile. Fuel alone, it is not… and buying into that is buying into imbalance and denying yourself the primal human experience and relationship with food. With the holiday season upon us and New Year’s a breath away, remember that it is normal to enjoy food. Even on the strictest diet, pleasure can be part of the plan.

This spoonable vegan caramel is a recipe you’ll want to save. It keeps in the fridge and freezes well so you can make a batch and enjoy it when you desire something sweet.

 

Spoonable Vegan Caramel

⅓ cup coconut sugar (light brown sugar can be substituted but is more processed)
½ cup pitted dates
½ cup unsweetened plain non-dairy creamer
¼ cup vegan butter (Forager is my favorite brand)*
¾ teaspoon salt

1. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine sugar, creamer, and butter. Whisk until combined and bring the mixture to a boil. Once sugar dissolves, reduce the heat to medium.

2. Simmer mixture for 7 minutes, whisk every 2 minutes. Once caramel is bubbling, check temperature with candy thermometer until it reaches between 225 to 230 degrees. Add salt.

3. Carefully transfer the sauce to a food processor or high-powered blender. Add the pitted dates one at a time and blend until smooth with desired consistency. You may not need all of the dates.

4. Scrape into a pyrex container or freezer safe mason jar. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.

*Alternative – substitute the vegan butter with sunflower seed butter, cashew butter or macadamia nut butter

 

5 Ways to Enjoy Your Caramel

There are a million ways to use this caramel sauce, but here are some of my favorites:

  1. Dip slices on fresh apple.
  2. Drizzle it over thick yogurt and granola.
  3. Stir a spoonful into a latte (Coffee, Dandy Blend and Chaga lattes all feel more decadent with this addition)!
  4. Mix equal portions caramel and unsweetened nut butter. Use this as a dip for fruit. The fat from the nut butter helps lower the glycemic impact.
  5. Use as a topping for raw vegan cheesecake filling. Make my favorite raw cheesecake by soaking 1 cup of raw cashews in boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain the cashews and blend them with ¼ cup water, ¼ cup plain unsweetened vegan yogurt, 10 drops plain liquid stevia, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and ⅛ teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth. Pour into cups or ramekins and chill in fridge or freezer for 30 minutes to firm up. Top with caramel and dust with cocoa powder or graham cracker crumbs (use gluten free vegan ones if you are gluten free!)

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