Unprocessed Caramel Apples

UNPROCESSED by Chef AJChef AJ is a chef and culinary instructor in Los Angeles. The author of UNPROCESSED, she specializes in plant-indulgent food that is free of sugar, oil, and salt, and is proud to say that “her IQ is higher than her cholesterol.” She is the former Executive Vegan Pastry Chef at Sante restaurant and the creator and co-producer of the annual Healthy Taste of LA.  She is also the host of the TV show Healthy Living with Chef AJ on Foody TV.

To learn more about Chef AJ visit her website, or find her on Twitter and Facebook.


When I gave up processed and refined sweeteners I never thought I would be able to enjoy a caramel apple again, until I created this.

Although they’re perfect for the Fall or Halloween, you can enjoy this healthy treat any time of year!  They look just like the “real” thing and kids of all ages love them!

Caramel Apples - Raw and Unprocessed
Recipe Type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Sticks for Caramel Apples can be found at craft stores or cake decorating stores. If you have trouble finding them, just slice the apples into wedges and make individually dipped apple slices.
For the Date Paste:
  • 1 pound pitted dates
  • 1 cup liquid (water, unsweetened non-dairy milk, or unsweetened juice)
For the Apples:
  • date paste
  • one tablespoon alcohol-free vanilla
  • apples
  • sticks
Optional Toppings
  • unsalted, chopped nuts
  • cacao nibs
  • unsweetened, shredded dried coconut
  • goji berries
For the Date Paste:
  1. Soak dates in liquid overnight or for several hours until much of the liquid is absorbed.
  2. In a food processor fitted with the “S” blade, purée the dates and liquid until completely smooth.
For the Apples:
  1. Place each apple upside down on a flat surface and push a stick into the center. Roll the apple in date paste, using your hands if necessary, to get it to stick over the entire surface of the apple.
  2. Roll in your favorite topping such as unsalted nuts, cacao nibs, unsweetened coconut or Goji berries or a combination.
  3. Chill well before serving.
Any extra date paste can be stored in the refrigerator and used to sweeten other recipes.

Photo courtesy of Chef AJ.

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12 Comments on "Unprocessed Caramel Apples"

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October 9, 2013 10:02 am

Mmm. Cinnamon would be excellent in the date paste, too.

October 9, 2013 2:38 pm

This is a cool (and beautiful) idea but it can’t possibly taste like caramel. ..can it?

Charles B
Charles B
October 9, 2013 6:25 pm

If you use a creamy milk for the liquid and be sure to include the vanilla extract in the date paste, then yes, it tastes a lot like cream caramel. I used 1/2 lb dates, 1/2 cup half and half (dairy), and 1/2 TBSP vanilla.

Julia Bird
Julia Bird
October 10, 2013 6:35 am

What non-dairy milk do you use ? Soya, almond? I’m assuming it should be unsweetened?

Julia Bird
Julia Bird
October 10, 2013 6:49 am

Fantastic resource – thanks!

November 4, 2013 7:29 pm

Where do i find the alcohol free vanilla? particular brands??