Made with just 4 simple ingredients, this healthier date caramel apple dip is the perfect fall dessert. Get the recipe now!
Last month for our anniversary, Bry and I headed up to Colorado Springs to hike the Barr Trail up Pikes Peak. With 23 miles and 7800 vertical feet to climb up the next day, we figured a little dessert was just what we needed the night before.
Sure there were ice cream places and cute shops to buy homemade fudge at. But what caught my eye was Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Growing up, this shop was the place for caramel apples.
Not only do they have regular caramel apples, but they have one’s drizzled in dark and white chocolate, sprinkled with nuts or Snickers bars, and, my favorite, covered in mini M&Ms.
Now, while I love caramel apples, I hate biting into them. Besides being painful if the caramel is too hard, it gets all over your face and the ratio of caramel is far from consistent.
Instead, you end up with a bunch of bites at the beginning that are mostly caramel and apple skin, then by the time you actually get to the apple, all the caramel is gone.
No. The best way is to ask for your apple sliced. This way you get optimal caramel-to-apple ratio in every bite.
Which brings us to this healthier date caramel apple dip.
Ever since making this date fudge frosting, I’ve had my mind on a recipe featuring date caramel. But I kept getting a creative block when thinking about how to use it.
Sure apples came to mind, but it seemed too obvious. But then, as we were sitting outside eating our caramel apple slices before the big hike, I knew I had to do it.
And let me tell you, I’m so glad I did. Not only is date caramel healthier than regular caramel, but it’s also super easy to make. All you need are dates, water, a little milk, peanut butter (optional) and salt — and the apples of course.
Yes peanut butter. Stick with me.
I don’t know about you, but growing up my mom would buy this caramel apple dip that tasted like it had peanut butter in it. While I’m not even sure how often she bought it, to this day I still crave that dip — just without all the high fructose corn syrup and other additives.
This dip tastes even better than that one! So creamy, smooth, and sweet without being sickly sweet.
Use this Healthier Date Caramel Apple Dip to Make Caramel Apple Slices
Originally this recipe was just for the caramel apple slices, but I ended up loving the taste (and convenience) of the peanut butter dip version so much that I made a last minute switch.
However, I did try making the dipped slices and they were really, really good! Just a little more work.
As in slicing the apples, dipping slices into the dip, and then cooling in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
One tip if you do want to make caramel apple slices is to leave out the peanut butter. Not only will the taste be closer to a traditional caramel apple, but it’ll also be slightly thinner and set faster on the apple.
What You’ll Need
Medjool dates: these dates are easy to find in the bulk section of most grocery stores or in bulk online. Fresher dates will be softer and easier to blend. P.S. make sure to remove the pits before blending!
Hot water: the key to making a smooth date caramel is softening it with boiling water. I like to heat water in a tea kettle as it’s easy to pour into a measuring cup. However, you can also heat water in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove.
Oat milk: I love the slight sweetness that oat milk gives this caramel, but you can also use other milks. Plain almond milk, cashew milk or regular cow’s milk would be great options. I’d avoid coconut and soy milk as their strong flavors will affect the taste of the dip.
Salt: I used ¼ teaspoon of salt in the mixture, but if you like a salty caramel, then add a sprinkle of sea salt over the caramel after dipping the apple slices.
Granny smith apples: I love how tart these apples are, as it helps to balance out the super sweet dates. Other tart apples would work, such as Pink Lady, Fuji, or Gala.
Peanut butter: as mentioned above, if making caramel apple slices rather than just dipping apples into it, I’d leave out the peanut butter for a more traditional taste and texture. However, if making this recipe as a dip, keep the peanut butter in as it makes the texture smoother and creamier. Make sure to use a natural peanut butter to keep out any added sugars and hydrogenated oils.
How to get the dates super smooth and creamy
Now, there are a few tricks to getting smooth rather than chunky, date caramel:
Soak dates before blending. This one is huge. If you have fairly fresh, softer dates, 10 minutes may be all you need. However, if your dates are old and starting to get hard, you may need to soak them for up to 30 minutes in order for them to soften.
Use a high powered blender. Even softened, dates still aren’t the easiest thing to blend. So, make sure you’re using a high-powered blender like a Vitamix or Ninja.
Blend on high first. Unlike smoothies where you generally want to start off slow and gradually increase the speed, for a smooth caramel make sure to go straight to the highest setting. Once it’s mostly all broken down and smooth, you can stir and then blend another 30 seconds or so on a slower setting.
Add more water as a last resort. If you just can’t get your dates to smoothen out, try adding more water or milk, one teaspoon at a time.
Other similar recipes you might like
Looking for other recipes involving dates or fun desserts? Check out these other Healthy Toast recipes!
Made with just 4 simple ingredients, this healthier date caramel apple dip is the perfect fall dessert.
Keyword: Healthier Caramel Apple Dip, Kid-Friendly
Author: Kelli McGrane MS, RD
10large (about 1 cumedjool datespits removed
¼cupunsweetened oat milkor milk of choice
½ – 1tablespoonof natural peanut butterdepending on how strong of a peanut butter flavor you want*
Granny Smith applessliced (or other tart apple)
Place dates and boiling water in a high-powered blender. Let soak for 10-20 minutes, or until dates are very soft.
Add milk, peanut butter, and salt (if using making apple slices instead of a dip, option to leave out peanut butter). Blend on high until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides.
Pour dip into a bowl and serve immediately with apple slices or let chill until it’s time to eat.
To make caramel apple slices:
Slice apples and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Dip about a ⅓ of each apple slice in the date caramel and set on the prepared baking sheet.
Once all apple slices are dipped, place baking sheet in fridge for 2 hours, or until caramel has slightly hardened.
*Option to leave out peanut butter entirely for a peanut-free option or a more traditional caramel flavor.
Nutrition for approximately 1 tablespoon of dip (made with 1/2 tablespoon of peanut butter): 70 calories, <0.5 grams fat, 19 grams carbs, 2 grams fiber, 16 grams sugar, 1 gram protein
I’m Kelli MS, RD, and my mission is to prove that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. Follow along to learn more about food and cooking, with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!
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Hi, I’m Kelli McGrane MS, RD! My mission is to show you that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. I believe getting to know your food is the first step to a healthy relationship with it. Follow along in my journey to learn all I can about ingredients and cooking with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!
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