Chemical-free, gluten-free, sugar-free sweeteners are hard to come by outside of honey and maple syrup. I mean, what’s sweeter than sugar, Sugar? And as much as I’m a sugar fiend myself, I’m trying to lay off because that stuff doesn’t do me any favors in the long run—mentally, emotionally, or physically.
Now, honey and maple syrup (all natural) are great substitutes for sugar. Honey is especially beneficially due to all of it’s ‘magic.’ However, if you’re trying to avoid those kinds of sweeteners as well, a totally fruit-based sweetener is a great alternative. Enter dates and prunes—the sugar sources of the fruit world. You can make a thick, sticky, sweet syrup from a combination of these two. It works as a fantastic sugar substitute in paleo baking (flourless pumpkin bars, anyone?) or, like me, in your coffee!
DATE AND PRUNE SYRUP
You’ll need dried, organic, dates and prunes for this recipe. Water, a blender, and a storage container—a Ball canning jar works great. The ratio of dried fruit to water is 1 to 2—I’ve used cup measurements, but you can make as large a batch as you want based on that ratio. Also, I’ve found the mixture thickens to a near jelly consistency as it cools, so you can add water until you’re happy with the consistency. Just keep in mind that more water dilutes the sweetness.
Toss 1/2 cup of dried organic dates and 1/2 cup of dried organic prunes in a blender. Cover with 2 cups of boiling water and let sit until the water cools a bit and the fruit softens. Whirl on high until the mixture liquifies completely. There should be no bits of fruit in the mixture. Add more water as if necessary, scraping down the sides of the blender as you go.
When you’re finished, store syrup in a airtight container in the fridge.