You may have seen date sugar on store shelves and wondered what it’s used for and if it can make a good substitute for granulated white or brown sugar.
It’s definitely more expensive than those standard sugars, but is it something you can use in your baking as a white or brown sugar substitute?
What Is Date Sugar?
Dehydrated dates are used to make date sugar, and they are ground up so that they achieve the same consistency as granulated sugar. Since dates are naturally sweet and often used as a sweetener in baked goods, it makes sense that they would make a half-decent sugar.
This sugar is a bit gritty, and that’s because whole dates with the pits included are ground up to make this product. Even if you try to dissolve the sugar in hot water or tea, there will still be some gritty particles left behind.
The flavor is similar to brown sugar but with tinge of what tastes like butterscotch.
Health Benefits of Date Sugar
Dates are kind of healthy, but what about date sugar? In most cases, date sugar is simply ground dates, so it will have all the nutrients you would find in whole dates.
That includes fiber, antioxidants, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. However, these all exist in the date sugar in trace amounts. There isn’t a lot of nutrition packed into a spoonful of date sugar, but it does offer a lower calorie count than regular sugar, with just 10 calories in each teaspoon.
Each variety of date sugar is a bit different, but the nutritional count is not very high for any of them. It’s healthier for you than regular sugar, but don’t think of it as a substitute for a multivitamin.
How to Make Date Sugar
You can make date sugar at home. Here is how you do it.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Chop up the dates and place them onto a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.
- Let the dates cook for a few hours, until they are only kind of hard but not completely mushed. They should not burn at all.
- After they are done cooking, take them out of the oven and let them cool.
- Once they have cooled, you can put them into a food processor or a coffee grinder and pulse them in batches. Keep grinding until they achieve a powdery consistency.
How Long Do You Roast Dates for Date Sugar?
The baking time will vary depending on how many dates you are cooking at once and what temperature you are baking them at. It takes several hours for them to cook at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Two hours is pretty typical, but you may have to let them cook for 10-130 minutes longer than that. Just make sure that they are semi-hard when you take them out.
Baking is supposed to dehydrate the dates, and if they are mushy, they will make a paste in the grinder rather than a sugary powder.
How Do You Store Date Sugar?
Date sugar should be stored in an airtight container once you have opened the bag you bought or made up a batch of date sugar at home. The sugar doesn’t need to be stored in the fridge, and it can last for several weeks.
Just make sure to check for signs of spoiling every few days with this sugar. It’s not like cane sugar or other types of sugar you are used to. It is made from fruit, which is perishable, so it won’t last forever like your typical sugar would.
How to Use Date Sugar
Date sugar makes a healthy substitute for white or brown sugar, and it looks a lot like brown sugar. It doesn’t quite taste the same, and it has its own distinctive flavor.
You might be wondering if you can use it in your baked goods and recipes the same way you would use other kinds of sugar or if you need to make some alterations to your recipes.
One of the things I love about this sugar is that it is such a perfect substitute for regular sugar that you can use it in the exact same proportions. If the recipe calls for a cup of sugar, then you can safely use a cup of date sugar and get great results.
You don’t need to add or subtract anything when using this kind of sugar. You may find the taste of your finished product slightly different, but that’s all.