The following caramel sauce recipe brings together only a few ingredients, each of which provides incredible nutrition and flavor. It is also vegan!
Caramel sauce is easy to put together and has an all-purpose worth that transcends dessert time and has found place in breakfast, beverages and even savory dishes. However delicious and creamy traditional caramel sauce is to the senses, it is only doing bad for your body. Based in white sugar, caramel sauce is a load of empty calories and spurs an unhealthy spike in blood sugar levels. Luckily, Mother Nature provides us with more than enough to turn the tide, even on our guiltiest of indulgences.
Traditional caramel sauce (homemade or store bought) contains sugar, cream and butter. When the sugar cooks, it browns slightly, melting down to form a smooth, thin texture. The butter and heavy cream help to make the sauce more malleable when it cools and adds a thick, melt-in-your-mouth creaminess.
One of the snacks I love most during the autumn and winter seasons are caramelized apples. Often, there is more caramel than there is apple, so there is absolutely no writing off such a snack as a “fruit serving” – the caramel’s lack of nutritional benefits far outweigh the apple’s nutritional boost. And this isn’t good news, especially when the traditional caramel sauce recipe offers you next to no nutrition and far too many calories in such a small serving. In 1 tablespoon of homemade caramel sauce, there are 132 calories, 6 grams of fat (5 of which are saturated), 17 grams of carbohydrates and 66 milligrams of cholesterol. And does anyone ever really stop at 1 tablespoon? Imagine how many calories and fat grams you end up consuming in just one sitting – on a mid-day snack, no less.
But, before you become downtrodden, know that there is indeed a solution, and it’s easier to assemble (and more delicious) than you may think. The following caramel sauce recipe is just what you need to fully enjoy the flavors of this cool-weather season.
Healthy Caramel Sauce Recipe
Makes about 1 cup
Chop the pitted dates. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, add the coconut milk, dates and salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer, stirring constantly. Continue to stir for another 10-15 minutes, or until the mixture’s color deepens and the texture becomes thicker. Store in a sealed container and keep in the refrigerator. Serve cold or hot. I like to use mine as a dip for red apples!
Aylin Erman currently resides in Istanbul and is creator of plant-based recipe website GlowKitchen.
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Photo Credit: GlowKitchen