Recipe: Homemade Date Caramel and Vanilla Coffee Creamer

by Melody on February 18, 2013

Homemade Date Caramel and Vanilla Coffee Creamer

I have been making my own coffee creamer for about a year now and love playing around with different flavor combinations.  I start with my original Chocolate Almond Creamer recipe and swap in different extracts and sweeteners to change things up.  While I love the chocolate-based creamer, I have been on the hunt for something with a sweeter profile without a huge amount of sugar or other sweeteners.

My husband and I started a Clean Eating Challenge with our gym at the beginning of the year and have migrated to a semi-Paleo lifestyle, omitting all grains and most sugars and dairy.  Since I am addicted to food blogs and Pinterest, I have spent some time finding lots of different recipes that fit this lifestyle.  After making my 3rd or 4th batch of Homemade Larabars, I came up with the idea of making a homemade date caramel to add to my creamer.  While the caramel is pretty mind-blowing by itself, adding it to coffee every morning is pure heaven.

First step is to make up a batch of super easy date caramel.

Homemade Date Caramel and Vanilla Coffee Creamer

Homemade Date Caramel

6-8 ounces whole pitted dates
3 T. unsweetened almond milk
1 T. coconut oil
1/2 t. pure vanilla extract
Sea salt to taste

Soak dates for approximately one hour.  This will make them more pliable and easier to process.  Strain and add to food processor.  Add almond milk, coconut oil and vanilla extract and blend until fairly smooth.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, as you will end up straining any larger particles at the end of the creamer process.

Add a pinch or two of sea salt and blend.  This will help with the sweet/salty flavor and gives the caramel the perfect kick.  Add more if desired.

Homemade Date Caramel and Vanilla Coffee Creamer

Ingredients:

6 cups half and half
1 batch Homemade Date Caramel
2 T. honey (I use organic raw honey from Tropical Traditions)
2 T. vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium sauce pan, whisking well to fully combine the caramel.  Bring to a low simmer over medium-low heat (usually takes 5-7 minutes).  As soon as it starts to simmer, remove from heat and add vanilla extract.

Pour through a fine mesh sieve into container of your choice and immediately refrigerate.

You can definitely adjust the recipe to make more or less, but this amount will last me about a week and a half in the fridge.  You could make the date caramel ahead of time and keep it refrigerated until you are ready to make your creamer.  You could also use vanilla beans for a stronger vanilla flavor.  Amazon generally has them for less than $1 each, Winco also has them in the bulk section but they are crazy expensive.

Please note: This is nowhere near as sweet as the store bought stuff.  It took my taste buds a week or two to adjust to the different flavor profile, but now I prefer the homemade version.  The flavors are true and are a great complement to my morning coffee.

Check out our Recipe Box for more ideas and inspiration.  Don’t miss our list of Homemade Pantry Staples as well, with great ideas for replacing boxed or processed items with homemade.

Don’t forget to follow This Beautiful Frugal Life on Facebook so you don’t miss an update.  We post lots of fun recipes, random thoughts on parenting, our journey through the clean eating world, our obsession with CrossFit and more.


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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Kari February 19, 2013 at 4:25 am

You. Are. A. Genius. For real. That has been my only “cheat” on paleo. Now you have figuted out the key to success!!! Thank you!!!!

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Melody February 19, 2013 at 7:08 am

So glad I could help. :) Enjoy!

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mary February 19, 2013 at 8:51 am

Sounds delicious!

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Rachel Clarke February 20, 2013 at 1:48 am

I wanted to ask if the caramel ends up tasting like dates or caramel or a combination of both? Caramel is one of the things I so miss when detoxing sugar out of our diet! Not a huge date fan tho, so I would love your thoughts. Thanks so much!

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Melody February 20, 2013 at 6:56 am

I was really surprised at how good the caramel is! My second batch tasted more like dates, but I think it was because I used less salt. My first batch tasted quite a bit like caramel. You could definitely play around with the amount of vanilla and salt. Maybe try a half batch first? It really was mind-blowing how much this satisfied my sweet craving.

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Rachel Clarke February 21, 2013 at 1:25 am

So awesome, thank you. I’m super excited!

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Jim March 14, 2013 at 3:02 am

Thanks for sharing this delicious sounding creamer! I have ONE huge suggestion for you though…Since you and your husband have committed to a Clean Eating life style, take a look at the ingredient on your Blue Diamond carton of Almond Milk…there in small print is the word Carrageenan…now, Google “Carrageenan” and educate yourself on the issues this “filler” causes to the human body and then switch your brand of Almond milk from Blue Diamond to Silk…”Caveat emptor”

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Melody March 14, 2013 at 8:10 am

Thanks for the heads up on the Blue Diamond. We use so little in this recipe, I could probably just make my own. I wish this journey wasn’t filled with so many potholes. We are learning something new every day!

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Dixie March 14, 2013 at 8:37 am

New to this, am diabetic,retired an learning how to deal with it all. Have never eaten or bought dates. What do I look for,how do I buy them?

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Melody March 14, 2013 at 8:43 am

I buy mine in bulk at either Fred Meyer or Winco, but you can also find them at the grocery store packaged. You are just looking for pitted dates (Medjool are the fancy ones). I have definitely found that the least expensive way to purchase is in bulk. You can buy them online through Amazon as well.

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Laura March 15, 2013 at 11:39 am

This sounds great. I can’t wait to try it. I love caramel and I love dates. I have stuffed a date with a walnut or pecan and dipped in melted chocolate, it’ just like a turtle! I wonder if you could use coconut milk creamer instead of half and half.

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Melody March 15, 2013 at 7:22 pm

Definitely! This is totally open to interpretation.

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Erin March 24, 2013 at 11:52 am

Just made my first batch and really love the flavor (I used almond milk instead of half & half to make it nondairy–next time might use soy). Have a few questions, though:
1) What is the consistency of your caramel? Mine was very thick, like a paste. We had to use a spatula to get it out of the food processor.
2) What else do you use the caramel for?! It’s SOOOOO good.
3) How important is getting it to simmer? I took it off the heat a little early (I had it on the stove for at least 25 mins and it wouldn’t simmer–are you using a gas stove??) and it seems to be ok but it’s only been a day.

And then I have one tip: use a small food processor. I started in my large one (the 11 cup) and the dates wouldn’t chop. Transferred the mixture to my small food chopper (about a 1 c. capacity) and it blended up just fine.

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Erin March 24, 2013 at 3:07 pm

One more tip! Forgot earlier. :-) Before you strain the creamer through the fine mesh sieve, strain it through a regular colander that has smaller holes if you have one. My sieve was getting way too clogged with all the particles, so I pulled out a colander with small holes and put it through that, THEN put it through the sieve. Still a slow process getting it through the sieve but definitely sped things up.

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Melody March 25, 2013 at 10:37 pm

My caramel is super thick! I tried to take a picture of it, but couldn’t get it to not like poo, so gave up. :)

I just eat mine with a spoon, it’s that good. Honestly though, you could use it for just about anything. Type in “date caramel” on Pinterest and you will get lots of ideas!

I don’t think it’s super important to get it to simmer as far as shelf life goes, I just like to get it there so I know all the flavors are incorporated. So glad you liked it!

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Sia April 29, 2014 at 4:39 pm

Got all the ingredients and going to try your Almond Chocolate recipe tonight!! Thanks for the tip!

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