Guilt-less Desserts & Treats for your Family
It’s almost Mother’s Day (at least here in Australia) and I wanted to share a little story about 4yo S and his interesting choice of present for me.
S’s kinder requested that we send along empty glass jars so that the children can make Mother’s Day presents. Historically, these handmade gifts have been pasta necklaces (which are apparently loved by both mums and mice!), paper flowers, teabags, flower seeds and placemats with family portraits drawn on them. I asked S what he was going to make to put in the jar and he told me it was “Camel Sauce”. I questioned him about the Camel Sauce (maybe that’s what they keep in their humps!) and he proceeded to tell me all the ingredients and how he was going to make it.
Now before you call the RSPCA, S did not mention camels in his long list of ingredients as what he really meant was Caramel Sauce. This become obvious when he explained to me how he was going to make it and that we could eat it with our Chocolate Ice Cream, and at no stage did it involve live animals! S does have a slight problem pronouncing some of the harder R sounds in words; which turns ‘versions’ into ‘virgins’ and ‘caramel’ into ‘camels’.
This Sticky Date Sauce could also be called a Camel Date Virgin; sorry Caramel Date Version of a Caramel Sauce. It has a caramel flavour but as it is made primarily from dates it also lends its self to the indulgent Sticky Date dessert genre. I didn’t want to have to choose between my favourite caramel sauces (because we all know I’d marry this one if I could!) so now I have a favourite Sticky Date sauce as well.
This Sticky Date Sauce is easy to make and would make a tasty Mother’s day gift. The sauce is made from softened dates, coconut cream and some added sweetener and is thicker than a traditional caramel sauce. The salt is an important addition as it gives the sauce an extra bite, but don’t go overboard. A little bit goes a long way; and too much makes it inedible. If you find your sauce is too thick add some extra coconut cream and make sure you allow sufficient time to soften the dates. I find cutting them into smaller pieces before soaking them in boiling water helps to soften them even more and will give you a smoother sauce.
This Sticky Date Sauce can be eaten as a hot sauce over pudding (like my Christmas pudding), muffins (like these Sticky Date ones with hidden vegetables) or with Banana Ice Cream (the one when it’s just frozen bananas – no recipe needed!). Cold, it can be used as a spread or as part of a Sticky Date Banana Bread or Sticky Date Chocolate (both these recipes to come but I’ve left you with a sneak peek just to make you drool!).
I always love handmade gifts for Mother’s Day. The kids are brimming with excitement to give them to you and they are so proud of their efforts. Maybe this year I can make something for my Mum too… but not this Camel Sauce. It’s all for me from 4yo S.
- 1/2 Cup Dates, chopped
- 1/4 Cup boiling water
- Dash Bi-carb Soda
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
- 1 Cup Coconut Cream (the thickened part from the top of a chilled can), divided into 2 1/2 Cups
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt (start with 1/4 and add to desried taste is reached)
- Place the dates into a small bowl and cover with boiling water and add the bicarb. Allow to sit and soften for at least 20 minutes.
- Place the date mixture, maple syrup, vanilla extract and ½ cup of coconut cream in a blender and purée.
- Pour the purée mixture into a small saucepan and, over a medium heat, stir until bubbling.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the remaining ½ cup of coconut cream and cook, stirring occasionally for 7-10 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the salt and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
- The Sticky Date Sauce can be served warm on cakes, muffins, Ice cream etc.
- It can also be stored in the fridge and used to make Sticky Date Chocolate, in Sticky Date Banana Bread or as a spread.