sugar poached dates

step 1

100 fresh dates--peeled

water to cover

3 Tbs orange blossom water

parchment paper

100 non-pareil  almonds

place the dates in a pot large enough to hold the dates and water enough water to cover. you will want the water to come about 1 1/2 inches higher than the top of the dates. add the orange blossom water.  cut the parchment paper to a round that will fit just inside of the pot, and then cut a small 1/2" circle out of the middle of it. place it on top of the water and simmer the dates, about an hour,  until they are soft but not gushy.(the parchment paper will keep the dates submerged in the water. drain and let cool--discard parchment. using a small knife cut a slit in the date and remove the pit. do not cut completely in half, just enough to remove the pit. 

replace the pit with an almond, and close the date around it.

step 2

3" lemon peel-pith removed

3" orange peel-pith removed

1 cinnamon stick

4 green cardamom pods--lightly crushed

1 Tbs lemon juice

1/2 vanilla bean

3 Tbs honey

1 Tbs orange blossom water

3 cups water

3 cups sugar

cook to dissolve the sugar. add back dates and simmer on low for 30 minutes.  turn off heat and let sit 12 hours or overnight-covered-once cooled, place in the refrigerator

step 3

remove the dates from the syrup once again, reserving and measuring syrup.  add enough water to make 5 cups.  however much water you added, add an equal amount of sugar. (example, if you needed to add 1 cup of water to equal 5 cups total syrup, then also add 1 cup of sugar). stir

add back the dates and simmer, very gently, until the syrup is very thick and dates are a nice amber color. this may take 1 to 2 hours. do not just let it boil away--keep a good eye on it.  the syrup should not get any more dense than corn syrup.

-these will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator. you may also can for longer storage...please use proper supplies and techniques.