An excellent natural sugar substitute. Drizzle this rich syrup over pancakes, waffles or toast as a substitute for maple syrup or honey.
Bring water and dates to a boil in a large pot; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally and pressing dates with the back of a spoon.
Line a large colander with a double layer of cheesecloth leaving about 6 inches overlap at the top. Place over a bowl that’s slightly smaller so the bottom of the colander sits above the bowl. Carefully ladle or pour dates and liquid into colander. Press well with the back of a spoon to force liquid into the bowl. Fold over cheesecloth and place a very heavy pot or bowl directly on the dates; set aside for 1 hour to drain. When cool enough to handle gather excess cheesecloth at the top and twist tightly to enclose dates; squeeze dates firmly to remove as much liquid as possible.
Pour liquid into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until mixture has reduced to just slightly over 1 cup, stirring frequently. As mixture reduces, lower heat and stir frequently to avoid scorching. Syrup will thicken as it cools.