Happy Tu BiShvat, a.k.a. Rosh Hashanah for the trees! In honor of this special New Year, why not challenge Daniel to an ingredient showdown and feature one of the 7 species – the humble date! No, I’m not talking about a romantic walk on the beach or a candlelight dinner with your boo, but rather the sweet and sticky dessert-like treat that is native to Israel (sorry, I couldn’t help it)! Dates are so versatile and they can be used in both savory and sweet treats!
So while Daniel may be whipping up something deliciously decadent and laden with meat (obviously), I’m going old school. This was one of the first recipes I developed for my other (food and fashion) blog riskyveggie.com. It’s been such a favorite among my readers and fellow food-eaters that I’ve done different versions of it over the years as well (mocha chocolate chip date balls, poppy-seed vanilla date balls – you name it)! But time and time again, I always come back to this classic.
This is the dessert treat that I’m known to make for a family with a new baby – since it’s the perfect bite for nursing mothers! My friend Joy had a baby a few years ago and of course I made her and her family a feast of a dinner and included a batch of these date balls. She emailed me immediately and said it was the perfect middle-of-the-night bite when she needed some sustenance as she nurses her newborn at 3 a.m. Granted, you can always omit the coffee, though it’s not a lot in the whole batch but if you are sensitive to it, just don’t include it! What’s great too is that this recipe is so versatile and a great base for making it your own. Sometimes I add cinnamon or maybe a scoop of vanilla protein powder or vanilla extract. Sometimes I mix up the different coffee flavors! And I might even add a few tablespoons of raw cocoa powder to amp up the richness of these bites of heaven.
My favorite part is how little time it takes to whip up a batch. Add your ingredients into a food processor, roll them into balls, dust with coconut, freeze or refrigerate on wax paper until firm. That’s it. No oven to pre-heat or dough to make, or waiting for the dough to rise, or even a gazillion steps or ingredients. But probably my FAV part about making these? Even my picky-eating husband is a fan.
L’chaim to that! 🙂
- 1 cup Dates I like Deglet Noor - they're softer and they come pitted in a big container from Costco (make your prep so much easier)
- 2/3 cup Nuts Any type you have on hand is good - I like to mix it up between pecans, almonds, walnuts and cashews
- 2 tbsp Ground Coffee I don't mind using ground coffee in this recipe but you could always add some cold brew or cooled coffee
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 cup Unsweetened Dairy-Free milk I like using almond milk
- 1 cup, divided into 1/2 cups Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
- 1 pinch Sea salt
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract Optional (or you could do maple extract which would be delish)
Add the nuts into the bowl of a food processor and grind until finely ground (don't over-process or you'll end up with nut butter).
Add the dates, 1/2 cup of coconut coconut, nut milk, cinnamon, coffee, vanilla (if using) and salt.
Pulse until the mixture comes together kind of like a sticky dough. Check the consistency to make sure it's dry enough to roll into a ball but not too sticky where it won't form.
Using a mini ice cream scoop, form the mixture into small balls and roll in the other 1/2 cup of shredded coconut.
Place on a sheet of wax paper and freeze for 2 hours until firm or you can set them in the fridge. If it's warm outside, it'll take a bit longer to set up, but they'll still be firm enough to eat. I like mine frozen so I keep some there, anytime I need to deliver a batch of these date balls!
Don’t forget to check out Daniel’s Tu BiShvat date recipe: Mergez Stuffed Dates Wrapped in Beef Bacon