This post is sponsored by Natural Delights, who I love for their ooey gooey tastes-like-candy medjool dates. Does anyone put medjool dates in their oatmeal while it's cooking? Seriously, the best thing ever. Omnomnom
There is something about the cold weather that just makes me want to stay inside, make 20 thousand cups of tea, and create delicious treats in the kitchen. The best part is, that everyone seems to be on board. Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas... so many excuses to make delicious treats.
One of the treats I love at this time of year are caramel apples. I rarely make them because they are so fussy and potentially dangerous. This is why I am SO excited about this recipe. The easiest way to make caramel apples ever! No candy thermometers, no working with hot liquid sugar (seriously the worst for burns, it might as well be lava). This is a safe, easy, and HEALTHY way to make caramel apples.
The (not very) secret ingredient? Natural Delights Medjool Dates. The fruit that basically IS caramel. No added sugars, just the deliciously sweet fruit doing it's thang. You're not going to bounce off of the wall with a sugar high, just to later crash and burn, medjool dates provide long lasting energy. Fun fact: Did you know that medjool dates contain 50% more potassium than bananas?
This is a great recipe to make with kids (warning: they will get sticky), but is also perfect if you just want to wow your friends.
To wow your friends, you are going to want to take these apples up a notch. Roll the caramel apples in fun toppings, such as peanuts, mini chocolate chips, coconut, melted chocolate, sprinkles, whatever your heart desires, and then drizzle with chocolate. Now that is some show stopping gorgeousness right there.
When I was testing out this recipe, I let my friends sample the caramel (stop by my house and I will likely make you taste test whatever recipe I am creating). Everyone was amazed at how incredibly delicious the caramel is. Like really, they would take a little taste and come back for seven. Even if apples on sticks aren't your thing, you can make this caramel, put it in a bowl and dip apple slices into it, or use anywhere you see fit. So yummy.
To make Medjool Date Caramel Apples, the first thing you want to do is remove the pits from the dates. Dates pits are blender breakers!! To do this just split the date open with your finger and pull out the pit.
Then add the dates along with the rest of the caramel ingredients to a blender or food processor. If your blender doesn't have a wide bottom, then your best bet will be a food processor. I actually would have probably opted for a food processor for this recipe but mine is currently lost... Did I mention I have been moving? I LOVE the taste of peanut butter in this recipe, but if peanut butter ain't your thang, you can use any nut butter you like. But seriously, the peanut butter. [Insert a Homer drool sound here].
Blend everything up until it is all delicious and caramel-y. You will probably have to stop to scrape down the sides several times as this stuff is sticky, but it is so worth the trouble. It will likely have little speckles of the date skin throughout and that is a-ok.
Shove a stick into each apple. I bought mine at the dollar store but you can buy them online here, or you can use chopsticks, or stick sticks... like from trees.
Use a spatula to spread the caramel in a nice thick layer over the apple. You can choose to do a thinner layer and make more apples, but thick caramel = scrumptious idea.
If you want to have just plain caramel apples (with no additional toppings) you might want to smooth out the caramel a bit to make them look prettier. To do this, wet your fingers and lightly rub out the bumps. Wetting your fingers help so your fingers don't stick to the caramel. This step is totally optional.
If you want to add toppings, just roll the caramel apple right into your toppings of choice. Drizzle with melted chocolate if desired. Then pop in the fridge for an hour so to firm up the caramel. Store in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
Medjool Date Caramel Apples
- 16 Natural Delights Medjool Dates, pits removed
- ¼ cup plant-based milk, (such as soy or almond)
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil
- 1 ½ tablespoons peanut butter (or other nut butter)
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6 granny smith apples
Additional toppings (optional):
- Chopped peanuts
- Coconut flakes
- Mini vegan chocolate chips
- Melted vegan chocolate
- Vegan candies
- Melted vegan chocolate
- Add the pitted dates to a food processor or blender along with the plant-based milk, melted coconut oil, peanut butter, and vanilla extract. Blend well, stopping to scrape down the sides often until you reach a smooth caramel. It will be thick and sticky, so it might take awhile and lots of stopping to scrape the sides before everything is blended well.
- Push a stick into the center of each apples to create a handle. Use a spatula to evenly spread a thick layer of caramel over the apples. If you don't want any toppings, you can smooth the caramel down by wetting your fingers and lightly rubbing away any bumps. This is just for look and is optional. If you want to use toppings, you can skip that step and just roll the caramel apples into toppings of choice. Drizzle melted chocolate on top for extra glam.
- Put the apples on a tray and chill them in the fridge for an hour. The caramel will firm up, and if you used melted chocolate, it will set. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.