In her new cookbook, Eat Your Heart Out, Daphne Oz keeps things sweet with date syrup. This Middle Eastern sweetener, sometimes labeled silan, started trending a few years ago. Oz reaches for it as a minimally processed sweetener with haunting flavor.
“I love the earthy maltiness dates offer, a much richer and more muted sweetness than sugar, plus they contain a variety of health-supportive minerals and iron,” she notes.
You can find date syrup online and in more grocery stores (Date Lady, Just Date Syrup and Joolies are popular brands). But it’s also easy to make.
Homemade or store-bought, you can use date syrup as a more subtly sweet alternative to maple syrup or honey.
- 1 lb medjool dates, pitted
Bring dates and 2 cups water to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium. Partially cover saucepan and simmer 20 minutes or until dates soften. Transfer dates and any remaining cooking liquid to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Add 1½ cups water. Puree until very smooth, 1–2 minutes.
Place cheesecloth in a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl and pour date puree on top. Stir with a rubber spatula to help liquid drain from the mixture. Once you have stirred most of the hot liquid out, let the mixture sit and drain 15 minutes, or until date mixture is cool enough to handle. Squeeze the cheesecloth gently to release any remaining liquid (you should have about 2 cups liquid total). Discard pulp.
Place strained liquid back into saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook 10–12 minutes or until syrup thickens and coats the back of a spoon (it should yield about ¾ cup). Let cool 10 minutes in saucepan. Transfer syrup to a heatproof, airtight container. Cool completely. (It will continue to thicken as it cools.) Refrigerate up to 1 month.
Makes about ¾ cup.