Is it just me, or is salted caramel the new chipotle mayo? Although I would like to think I stay away from food fads, this Raw Salted Caramel Apple Dip would qualify as trendy. After seeing recipes pop up on so many food blogs, and restaurants featuring salted caramel in all kinds of desserts, I suppose I have been slowly brainwashed into believing this sauce is more than just a condiment, but a totally obsession-worthy miracle food.
I gave up, or I gave in. But trying to get to the heart of the hooplah did not lead me down the path of refined sugar, butter, and cream. Of course not. In fact, the inherently unhealthy nature of salted caramel sauce inspired me to create something that is in fact, a wholesome indulgence. My Salted Caramel is totally raw, made of little more than fruit and nuts, and tastes so sinfully good you may find your fingers a suitable substitute for apples slices.
Now, don’t let the name fool you: Raw Salted Caramel Apple Dip is so much more than it suggests. For breakfast, this is a delicious spread on toast topped with bananas, it makes an incredible cake frosting, and can even be used to sweeten up a smoothie. However, the very best alternative purpose I’ve found for Raw Salted Caramel is to use it as a raw tart filling. Simply make this crust recipe, fill the tart shells with Raw Salted Caramel and top with thinly sliced apples and a dusting of cinnamon. This was a brain wave at work recently, and the tarts were enormously popular. Such a simple, yet elegant autumn dessert that really takes advantage of the beautiful fruits in season. Pears would also be lovely.
If you have kids, this is a great thing to have on hand in the fridge for snack time. For one, all the ingredients are pronounceable, it isn’t full of processed sugars, and it will actually get them to eat more fruit. Or try veggies – Raw Salted Caramel is even good on celery, seriously!
Raw Salted Caramel Apple Dip
Makes 2 cups
2 cups pitted Medjool dates
¼ cup raw nut or seed butter (almond, cashew, sesame tahini, sunflower)
4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
½ tsp. sea salt (or more to taste)
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
soaking water as needed
1. Soak dates for at least 4 hours in water.
2. Drain dates, reserving the soak water.
3. Add dates to a food processor along with all other ingredients, except for soaking water. Blend on high until dates are smooth. Add soaking water, 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached (for a sauce to pour or drizzle, add more water).
4. Store in an airtight glass container in the fridge for up to a week.