The Natural Liquid Sweetener I Can’t Stop Drizzling on Everything

published Aug 5, 2019
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Credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani

There are countless ingredients clamoring for space in your kitchen. Taste Makers are the ones that actually make a dish amazing. Each month, we’re exploring one ingredient that has earned its place in our small kitchens and will make even simple food taste spectacular.

If you visited my house, you would know I am a honey fanatic. I have a whole corner of my pantry devoted to jars of all shapes and sizes. I use honey in everything. So do I need another sweetener in my life? Hardly.

Yet somehow I’ve become so enchanted with this — *gasp* — alternative syrup, that I think my collection has started to take notice. Hopefully there are no hard feelings, because Soom Silan date syrup now has a permanent spot in my pantry.

Date Syrup Is the Natural Liquid Sweetener That’s Missing in Your Life

I knew about date syrup, but had never tried it until I picked up a bottle of Soom Silan. Silan, also known as date syrup, is pretty simple stuff — just dates that have been steamed and pressed into a thick, dark brown syrup. You can find other versions in the store labeled date honey or date molasses.

And it is, indeed, molasses-like in color, texture, and flavor. It’s rich and deeply sweet, but not overpoweringly so. If you enjoy the natural flavor of dates, with their notes of toffee and dark brown sugar, you’ll love silan.

Credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani

An Alternative Sweetener That Doesn’t Taste Alternative

While I’m not throwing out those jars of honey — or the jug of maple syrup tucked in my refrigerator — I am constantly on the lookout for natural ways to consume less sugar without well, just eating less sugar. My sweet tooth is fierce and I’m resigned to never being able to let go completely.

Silan‘s advantage for those who are sugar-conscious is that it contains less natural sugar per gram than honey, maple syrup, or granulated sugar, so it sits lower on the glycemic index (the index used to measure how different foods spike your blood sugar).

It also contains fiber, since it’s made from fruit, which helps slow absorption down, so the sugar doesn’t hit you as fast. And it’s full of other good nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and iron. It’s most definitely still a sweetener, but one that feels a bit more wholesome. It hardly tastes wholesome, though.

Buy it: Soom Silan

My Favorite Ways to Use Soom Silan

  • Drizzle it on ice cream. If you’re in need of a fast and fancy dessert for a dinner party (or a random Tuesday), drizzle silan on vanilla ice cream.
  • Bake it in your favorite granola recipe. Most granola recipes calls for honey or maple syrup. Next time you make a batch, try it with silan instead. I particularly love it in this Soft & Chewy Granola.
  • Shake it into a cocktail. Right now I am loving the touch of complexity silan brings to a Gold Rush, my go-to honey/lemon/bourbon drink. Come winter, I’ll put it in my hot toddies.
  • Improve your roasted vegetables. When tossing vegetables with olive oil, salt, and pepper to roast them, add a spoonful of silan. The syrup helps the vegetables become deeply caramelized and flavorful, particularly root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, winter squash, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
  • Pair it with tahini. Soom also makes my favorite tahini, so of course the two work perfectly together. I’ll drizzle both on oatmeal or

    slather toast

  • Use it as a glaze for meat and fish. Honey and maple syrup both make for a rich glaze on chicken, pork, and salmon. Silan works just as well, if not better.

Your turn: What’s your favorite underrated ingredient in your pantry? What do you reach for when you want to elevate your cooking quickly and easily? Tell us in the comments below! We may give it the star treatment in an upcoming edition of Taste Makers.