*This Caramel Dipping Sauce is Vegan, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Paleo, Clean Eating and makes an incredibly delicious and strikingly similar alternative to store-bought, sugar-laden Caramel Dips.
So. A month after my farewell to refined sugars I realized that you simply cannot make it through the Fall, no, OCTOBER, without caramel dipped apples. Whether you love to eat them or you’re more in it for the decorating and tradition aspect, caramel apples are a quintessential Autumn treat.
However, regular old caramel sauce doesn’t exactly fit my requirements any longer. Basically, a standard caramel sauce consists of LOADS of white sugar, butter, cream, and even corn syrup.
Not happening. Although I’m not opposed to butter and some nice, organic sweet cream.
I fashioned myself a new caramel dip. One without refined sugars. It just so happens that it is vegan and dairy free as well. Actually, what I love most about this sauce is that it is a great fit for almost every dietary restriction out there.
Lactose intolerant? No Prob.
Gluten sensitive? Have at it!
Vegan? Just try not to eat the whole jar.
This dip is for everyone.
The caramel consists of coconut milk, coconut palm sugar, and a little maple syrup cooked down into a deep brown, rich syrup. It is then thickened a little with tapioca starch and the flavor is rounded out with vanilla. The syrup is then blended with dates to thicken it even further while adding a little more caramel-y sweetness.
A few notes:
If you don’t have maple syrup you can use honey instead, but it won’t taste quite as good. I’m telling you this from experience as I made this caramel a second time for family and didn’t have maple syrup so I resorted to honey. Good, but not as good as maple syrup.
If you don’t have tapioca starch, arrowroot starch can be used in it’s place.
Don’t cook the syrup for too long after adding in the vanilla. It will cook out all of the vanilla’s flavor.
The sauce will thicken quite a bit after being refrigerated. If you prefer it to be runnier, gently heat it before using. I like it cold because it is the perfect texture for scooping little slices of apple into.
You can use this caramel dip to make caramel dipped apples, or just for dipping apple slices into. Or anything, for that matter. We like to scoop a little into a steaming bowl of steel-cut oats.
If you are using it to make caramel dipped apples, note that you will need to roll the apple around in the sauce to coat it, rather than dipping the apple straight in the sauce. Press the apple into your favorite toppings and you have a much healthier version of this classic fall treat.
Do note as well that the caramel will not harden like a traditional caramel. It will stay softer due to it’s lower-sugar, unrefined-sugar content.
- 1 can (13.5 oz) Coconut Milk (full-fat)
- ¾ cup Coconut Palm Sugar
- ¼ cup Organic Maple Syrup
- large Pinch Himalayan Pink Salt
- 2 teaspoons Tapioca Starch
- 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
- 6 Medjool Dates, pitted
- Place the coconut milk, coconut sugar, maple syrup, and salt in a saucepan and whisk together. Bring to a boil over medium/high heat and reduce heat slightly to a simmer. Let simmer for 12-15 minutes. The mixture should be a dark, rich brown color that has reduced by about ⅓ and has slightly thickened.
- In a small bowl, mix together the tapioca starch and vanilla. While whisking constantly, pour the mixture into the saucepan and quickly whisk it into the caramel. Cook for another 30 seconds, or until the mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat.
- Place the pitted dates in the bowl of a blender or food processor. Pour the hot caramel over the dates and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Place the lid on the blender and process until completely smooth. Scrape into and store in an airtight container. Mixture will thicken up as it cools.
- Will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.