Ok, so I have a confession. I’m not really a recipe girl! There I said it. I hardly ever cook with a recipe. I love being creative in the kitchen – pictures and recipes are my inspiration rather than the hard and fast rule. So, documenting my kitchen adventures, while rewarding and fun, is also hard work and time consuming. Worth it I hope?
Now having said that, there are some recipes I come back to time and time again so that I HAVE actually written those ones down. We were invited to a special little girl’s 3rd birthday party a few weeks back and at the last minute I volunteered I could bring some food. Maybe not as helpful as I could have been! With everything planned to perfection for a magnificant party, I took on the task of making the date balls. Healthy kid food – yep right up my alley 🙂 Both recipes got the thumbs up and now after three requests to send the recipes … Here they are!
Ingredients Instructions Soak the dates with enough hot water to just cover them. If you are using the date paste, then add enough hot water that you can get stir it to soften it. Once soft, put together with other ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. If you like your date balls more chunky, mix the oats in by hand at the end once all the other ingredients are processed together into a smooth paste. Roll into heaped teaspoon sized balls and roll into desiccated coconut. Chill to serve. Note:
Energy Date Balls
Soak the dates with enough hot water to just cover them. If you are using the date paste, then add enough hot water that you can get stir it to soften it. Once soft, put together with other ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. If you like your date balls more chunky, mix the oats in by hand at the end once all the other ingredients are processed together into a smooth paste.
Roll into heaped teaspoon sized balls and roll into desiccated coconut. Chill to serve.
Chocolate Orange Date Balls
- 1 cup macadamia nuts (or cashews if you can’t get macadamias)
- 1 cup almonds
- 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
- 4 tablespoons ground linseeds
- 6 tablespoons cacao powder + extra to coat
- 7 medjool dates or about 3/4 cup to 1 cup date paste (available at Spinneys or Geant)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup (optional)
- zest of 1 orange
- Optional: 2 tablespoons cacao nibs or finely chopped almonds for some crunch
Soften the dates by mixing with a little boiling water and set aside for 10 mins.
Add the macadamia nuts and almonds to the food processor and blitz until they are finely ground. Don’t go too long as they will turn to nut butter!
Add all the other ingredients into the food processor (including the date water) and pulse until it just starts to come together into a dough. Empty the contents into a bowl and give it a good mix. It should be a fairly stiff mix at this point and if not, add more ground flaxseeds or coconut. If too stiff, add more orange juice.
Roll into small balls, then refrigerate for 30 mins to firm them up a bit (or 10 mins in the freezer if you are in a hurry!).
Then roll in the cacao powder for a chocolate truffle indulgence! They might need a bit of re-rolling if they got a bit flat on one side sitting in the fridge.
- the perfect after dinner snack if you crave a little sweetness at the end of a meal.
Dates are natures candy, but are also packed with an impressive list of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, as well as high in fibre and antioxidants. They contain simple sugars so break down quickly revitalising the body quickly – so date balls or homemade protein balls made on a date paste base are a good choice for athletes also. When I cook with dates, I normally don’t add much if any additional sweeteners as they are make most dishes sweet enough. We are very luck in the middle east to have access to a wide variety of dates for eating and enjoying fresh or cooking and adding sweetness to delicious treats. For recipes like this where the dates are being blended to a paste, I find it much easier to start with date paste which has no pits, clean of stems and bits and ready to scoop!
The kids helped measure out the ingredients and used their fine motor skills to scoop out a teaspoon of mixture then roll it. They are also my chief test tasters and we are normally a few balls short by the time the container makes it into the fridge! I normally allocate 1 ball per serve for children and 2 balls per serve for adults. We usually make a double batch of date balls and store the in the refrigerator for up to 1 week…if they last that long. Wink wink!
Enjoy from our kitchen to yours. xx