Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! What are you up to this weekend?
I’m just getting over a little cold and looking forward to a weekend in before we travel yet again all of next week.
This time I’ll be in Kansas visiting friends and family and tackling a freelance gig while John skips over to New Zealand with a close friend. Lots of adventure in February for us Minimalist Bakers.
Let’s get to the good stuff: dessert. If you’re in need of a last minute treat this weekend, try these simple, naturally-sweetened Dulce de Leche Pops made with just 5 ingredients. (Bourbon is optional, but c’mon).
It all starts with the magic of coconut cream (or milk) and sultry dates.
Origins of Dulce De Leche
Dulce de leche is a gooey, caramely substance that’s usually made from milk, sugar, and vanilla. It’s believed to have originated in the 19th century, but who gets the credit is a topic of hot debate! Dulce de leche is popular in Uruguay and Argentina and a similar delicacy with a different name is enjoyed in Colombia and Perú.
These popsicles are inspired by the flavors and ingredients of dulce de leche, but are naturally sweetened and made with plant-based ingredients.
I could eat dates all day every day – OK, I pretty much do. They work some serious magic in this recipe, providing a caramel swirl that’s seriously reminiscent of dulce de leche.
The process is simple, too. Just blend your dates into a smooth “caramel,” add half to the coconut milk, and mix. Then add the remaining date caramel back into the mix, swirl, and freeze! It’s that easy.
The result is a seriously delectable, naturally-sweetened vegan and gluten-free Popsicle that’s like ice cream on a stick. You’ll likely want to eat all of them at once – trust me. This is why you need a friend on standby for help (in both restraint and sampling).
What do they taste like? So glad you asked. They’re:
& Soooo dreamy
These would make a delicious dessert any time of year, but especially when you want something creamy without breaking out the ice cream maker.
If you don’t have Popsicle molds, use oversized ice cube molds instead! It makes a fun shape and they can be easily blended into a milkshake with additional coconut milk (and/or bourbon – c’mon). Live a little – that’s what I say.
We hope you love this recipe! If you try it, let us know: Leave a comment, rate it, or take a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram! I also joined the Snapchat revolution (all the kids are doin’ it), so you can send me a pic there as well (username: minimalistbaker). I’m a super newbie though so bare with me.
Happy Valentine’s weekend, friends! We’re sending you all a giant John + Dana sandwich-style hug (even you, Rhonda). Cheers!
Creamy Dulce de Leche Pops
- 14 whole medjool dates (pitted // 15 dates equal ~253 g or 1 1/4 cups // if dry, soak in warm water for 10 min. then drain)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 14-ounce can coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk (if using full-fat milk, add 1 Tbsp melted coconut oil)*
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp bourbon (optional)
- Add pitted dates to a food processor and blend until a caramel-like paste is achieved. If you have trouble blending, add 2-4 Tbsp (30-60 ml) warm water (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) to help achieve the right texture – thick and spreadable. Scrape down sides as needed and blend until a thick, caramel-like consistency is achieved.
- Once the date caramel is smooth and creamy, add 1/4 – 1/2 tsp (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) sea salt depending on how salty you prefer it. Taste and adjust as needed.
- Scoop out caramel and set aside. Then add coconut cream (or coconut milk + coconut oil), vanilla, 1/2 cup of the date caramel, and 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup or agave nectar for additional sweetness (amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). Blend until creamy and smooth and taste and adjust flavors as needed. Bourbon is optional, but recommended for flavor.
- Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl, cover and chill in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours (or freezer for 1-2 hours) for best results. (If you’re impatient and can’t wait, skip this step. The Popsicles just won’t be as swirled as if you were to let the batter chill.)
- Once chilled, add the remaining caramel back in in small spoonfuls and loosely stir to combine / swirl.
- Scoop/pour into popsicle or ice cube molds (about 7-10, depending on their size // as original recipe is written) trying to evenly distribute the caramel swirls, and tap to remove air bubbles. Insert popsicle sticks and freeze for at least 6 hours or until firm.
- Once set, remove from freezer and let rest for 5 minutes to soften. Then gently pull out of molds and enjoy. Pops keep covered in the freezer for up to 1 week, though best when fresh.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without bourbon.
*Prep time does not include chilling / freezing.