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Ever have a date?  Not that kind of a date.  A perfectly sweet dried fruit date.  I had never touched the things before I came across this recipe from "The Well Fed Homestead".  Now we buy them from Costco, yes in BULK?  They are delicious.  We call it Nature's candy (no need to have the processed stuff, really).  Just pop one of these chewy bits of deliciousness in your mouth, and mmmm.... they're really too good.  

Besides their deliciousness, they're good for you too!  Candy that's good for you, yes it is possible, when it comes from nature.  Dates are full of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.  Plus they are full of fiber, who doesn't need more of that (you know we're supposed to have 30g per day according to the USRDA!  Most Americans get 11g per day).  Want more?  Check out some more studies here.

The Recipe

INGREDIENTS

40 Medjool Dates (with pits - they stay gooey and yummy that way)

1c Honey

1/4c + 1TB butter

8oz unsweetened Baker's Chocolate

Essential oil of choice 
  • Wild Orange (get it here)
  • Cinnamon (get it here)

A sprinkle of Hawaiian Sea Salt

DIRECTIONS

Carefully remove the pits from each date (I use a small 1/8 tsp like the one here.

Use your finger to make the holes a little bigger (my 3 year old used her thumb - it was so fun for her).  Set aside.

Bring the honey to a rolling boil and continue to let it bubble for 3 more minutes.

Whisk in the 1/4 c butter bit by bit until it's all melted and fully incorporated.  Set this mixture aside to cool for a bit.  Hot caramel can be dangerous!

While it's cooling set your dates with the holes upright in a container (in the picture below the dates are already filled, but you get the idea.)

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Once the caramel mixture (butter and honey) is cooled down, pour the caramel carefully into the hole of each date.  A small pyrex measuring cup make it super simple! 

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Set the dates in the fridge until the caramel hardens (about 1/2 an hour).

While the caramel is hardening, start melting down the chocolate and 1TB butter in a double boiler.

Set up a cookie sheet with parchment paper to set the chocolate dipped dates on.

Once the chocolate/butter has melted down remove from heat and add in an essential oil of choice (8 drops of Wild Orange and/or 2-3 drops Cinnamon).  Mix with a whisk until fully mixed in.  Take a little swackle (just stick your clean finger in and lick it off) to see if the essential oil is strong enough for your taste. 

Now your ready to dip your dates.  I just drop them in my chocolate and pick them back out with a fork (use it like a spoon scooping it out of the chocolate).  Let the excess chocolate drip off a little and then place it on your cookie sheet covered in parchment paper.

Sprinkle a little sea salt over the top of your dates.

Place your cookie sheet of dates in the fridge to harden (about 10 minutes).

If you can resist eating them ALL, store the rest in the fridge.

If you have extra carmel, use it along with sliced apples - so good!
Chocolate Covered Caramel Dates

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