If you choose to add coconut cream to your caramel, either buy cans of actual coconut cream (just make sure not to buy the sweetened kind), or refrigerate a can of coconut milk overnight and then scoop out the solid coconut cream that rises to the top of the can.
- 12 ounces Medjool or Halawy dates – as plump and fresh as you can find
- 1 1/2 cups of hot water, just below boiling
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons coconut cream (optional)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
1 Soak the dates in hot water for 5 to 10 minutes: When ready their skin should easily to peel off with your fingers. Strain the dates from the soaking liquid, reserving the liquid.
2 Peel the dates and remove the seeds: Peel the skins off all the dates with your fingers. Split them open (you should be able to just pinch them open; otherwise use a paring knife). Remove the pit.
3 Puree the dates until creamy: Put the dates into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Add the vanilla, 2 tablespoons of the reserved soaking water, and salt. Process until very smooth, 5 to 10 minutes. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl every couple of minutes. If the sauce seems too thick, add a little water until you reach a smooth, spoonable consistency.
4 For a creamier sauce, add coconut cream: Add the coconut cream at the very end and pulse 10 times to incorporate.
5 Taste and adjust as needed: Taste the sauce. Add lemon juice or more salt if needed.