I’ve had “make date balls” on my to-do list for the last few weeks. Why the last few weeks? Well, I was missing the key ingredient and kept forgetting to buy it. So, step one – buy dates! I finally remembered to do just that over the weekend. Step two – make date balls! On Monday evening, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work in the kitchen.
As simple of a recipe as this is, you have to buy the right kind of dates. I’ve made something similar in the past using pre-pitted dates, and the texture was completely different. If you want balls with a Larabar like consistency, you have to buy the dates with pits and then take them out at home. You can find them in the bulk bins section of Whole Foods (where I went this weekend) or even at Costco. Wherever you buy your dates from, just make sure they aren’t already pitted.
One other note – you can easily make this recipe vegan by using dairy-free chocolate chips (I love the Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips). I promise you won’t be able to tell the difference at all!
Soooo, I call these “Almond Joy” date balls. The quotes obviously mean that they’re supposed to taste kinda sorta like the candy but are a healthier alternative. When I told Vishnu this, using air quotes, he said, “Yeah, saying these taste like an Almond Joy is misleading. They’re really good though.” Air quotes, Vishnu, air quotes!!!
Anyway, I really love these, and so does Vishnu (as evident by a few missing date balls!). Personally, I find these to be the perfect post-dinner treat. And I especially love the taste and texture – sweet but not overly sweet, chewy, nutty, and just plain delicious!
“Almond Joy” Date Balls
Yields approximately 12 small date balls
¼ cup raw whole almonds
1 cup dates, pitted and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips (use dairy-free chocolate to make a vegan alternative)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
- Using a food processor, process the almonds until crumbly.
- Add the dates and process until a uniform batter starts to form.
- Add chocolate chips and vanilla extract and process until incorporated into batter.
- Scoop the date mixture into a large bowl.
- Add coconut flakes and sea salt and work the mixture with your hands to make sure the flakes are thoroughly incorporated.
- Pinch off about a tablespoon or so worth of dough at a time and roll between your hands to form balls.
- Store the balls in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or so.
Have you ever made date balls? What’s your favorite flavor combo?