My all time favorite summer beverage is a classic iced caramel macchiato. Hands down. It’s so simple yet so perfect and full of sweet, milky, coffee goodness. Give me a tall glass of this stuff, put me on the beach with a good read, and I could stay forever.
After my fair share of said beverage this summer, I realized how far away I’ve gotten from my goal to cut back on added sugars. Summers are the hardest for me in this regard, but I am determined to keep my added sugar intake to a minimum. However, I am not as determined to give up my iced caramel macchiatos. Conflicts = solutions, right?
And then it happened. The a-ha moment I needed. After my most recent Starbucks purchase (literally as I was leaving the drive-thru), it occurred to me that date caramel was my answer!
If you’ve ever rummaged through a caramel sauce ingredient list, I’m sure you can attest to the fact that it’s not very comforting. The first ingredient is usually high fructose corn syrup and the last is some type of preservative to make it shelf stable. Yeah, no thanks. I’ll have date caramel, instead.
Dates have been used to naturally sweeten foods for centuries. They mimic a caramel flavor and provide the perfect solution for special dieters (vegan, paleo, dairy free, refined sugar free, etc.) or for those who just want to eat an unrefined, natural diet (me, hi!). The main difference between date caramel sauce and regular caramel sauce, in my opinion, is texture. Date caramel is not as smooth as regular caramel sauce because of the fact that it’s a wholesome, unrefined food. If you ask me, though, I much prefer a little texture in my iced caramel macchiato versus a highly processed sauce/syrup.
In order to make date caramel sauce, the process requires a powerful blender or food processor. Ideally, fresh dates are best for making date caramel but because that’s not an option where I live, I always use dried dates. If you use dried dates they must be soaked in boiling water before blending. Overall, making date caramel sauce is a quick process and it’s well worth the 5 minutes.
And now for a little iced caramel macchiato action to excite your day:
- For the date caramel sauce:
- 16 dried dates
- 4-6 tablespoons water
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- For the iced caramel macchiato:
- 2 cups ice
- 1.5 cups milk (of your choice)
- ¼ cup date caramel sauce (plus more for topping)
- 2 shots espresso (2 fluid ounces or ¼ cup)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- To make the date caramel sauce, soak the dried dates in boiling water for approximately 10-20 minutes.
- Remove dates from water and add to a blender or food processor, reserving the water for making the sauce.
- Add 2 tablespoons of the water + ⅛ teaspoon salt to the blender/food processor and pulse until dates start to form a paste.
- Continue adding 1 tablespoon water at a time and scraping the sides of the blender/food processor until the dates are completely blended and have a sauce consistency (I use ~4-6 tablespoons water total).
- To make two iced caramel macchiato beverages, add 2 tablespoons date caramel sauce + ½ teaspoon vanilla extract each to the bottom of two glass beverages.
- Next, add 1 cup ice to each glass then pour ~3/4 cup milk of your choice over ice.
- Top each glass with 1 shot of espresso (1 fluid ounce or 2 tablespoons) + extra date caramel.
- Add straws and enjoy immediately!
As always, don’t forget to subscribe or connect with me on your favorite social media outlets (insta, facebook, pinterest) to get weekly inspiration of wholesome, unrefined recipes from my kitchen. Cheers to health, friends!