Happy Medjool Date Day everyone!
What you didn’t know? Don’t worry I didn’t either until about a week ago. I usually don’t make recipes for national food days unless they are foods I really enjoy.
I haven’t always loved dates. A few years ago my mom introduced me to the medjool date. We were at a farmer’s market and they were selling boxes of them. She bought a box and started raving about how they were so sweet and tasted like candy. Despite looking a giant lumpy terd, all I had to hear was her say candy and she had my attention.
I took one of the unattractive dates and bit into it. I was so surprised! It was chewy, creamy, and had an almost carmel like flavor to it. I was hooked! Since that day I have enjoyed eating dates in many ways. Obviously the easiest is just popping them in my mouth like candy, but I’ve also used them in muffins, cookies, granola, stuffed them with goat cheese, and most recently used them in a batch of apple date pecan pancakes.
The real kicker to these pancakes is the sweet date syrup that I made to go with them. I was inspired to make date syrup from this recipe from the wonderful website Oh Ladycakes. Some of the changes that I made to the syrup were adding a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and a 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract. I also decided I wanted my syrup to be thicker, almost the consistency of caramel sauce. To achieve this I poured the date syrup into a small saucepan and brought it to a boil of medium high heat. I let it boil for a minute and then reduced the temperature to medium low and let it simmer for about 5 minutes until it thickened. The syrup was delicious! It wasn’t overly sweet, but sweet enough, and the cinnamon and vanilla added a nice warmth and sweetness to it. The syrup was perfect drizzled on top of the whole wheat pancakes that were filled with shredded apple and studded with chunks of chopped dates and pecans. If you are skeptical about dates don’t be! Be brave, look beyond their not so attractive wrinkly bodies and take a bite! I promise you will be pleasantly surprised by the sweet, creamy, candy like filling that is waiting inside!