I’m sure that by now, most everyone reading this has heard of the magical substance that is coconut butter. It is so versatile, and most importantly, quite delicious. Perhaps even more versatile, though, are dates. Just as simply as dried coconut can be ground into coconut butter, so, too, can dates be whirred around to form date paste, a wonderful, complex, and rich natural sweetener for anything from savory sauces to the sweetest of treats. Now, we know that both coconut and dates are wonderful on their own, but what if we were to combine the two? And perhaps add a dash of vanilla to the mix? We would be left with an utterly heavenly combination, perfect for spreading on toast, dolloping on warm oatmeal (or overnight oats!) or simply eating straight from the spoon. I do imagine that this spread would be equally, if not more lovely with the addition of a bit of cocoa powder, or even melted chocolate. Of course, I’ve not yet tried that variation, but I’ll report back just as soon as I do.
I tend to buy my dates and coconut in bulk from Nuts.com. They have a wonderful variety of dried organic fruits, nuts, and nearly every other specialty baking item I ever find myself in need of.
Coconut Vanilla Date Butter
•1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
•1 cup packed pitted dates (I used a combination of Barhi and Medjool, but any variety will work)
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Soak dates in warm water for 30 minutes to an hour.
2. Process coconut in a food processor until it forms a buttery paste.
3. Remove dates from soaking water and add to food processor along with the vanilla. Continue to process until the mixture is smooth and homogenous.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Apparently, cats are fans of dates, too!
What are your favorite homemade spreads? This coconut date butter is a close second to my favorite, chocolate sunflower butter.