Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Almond Date Truffles

Let's talk about dates.

Not just any dates. Not your run-of-the-mill common date or deglet date. Not the kind of date that tastes fine enough but is really just a glorified raisin sold in a plastic pouch. I'm talking about the crown jewel of dates. I'm talking about medjool dates.

When I come across good ones at the store, I absolutely cannot resist buying. Amber brown, big and plump and sticky and sweet. Lots of athletic nutrition nerds hail them as "nature's fuel" because they're full of glucose for fast energy as a pre- or during-workout snack. I like to think that justifies me eating them like candy for an any-time-of-day snack.

I've been eyeing almond date ball recipes around the web for ages, but I've never gotten to testing one out. Probably because my dates never last long enough in the fridge to make their way into a recipe. There are tons of date ball recipes out there, and this recipe from Sara Forte at Sprouted Kitchen is a pretty classic version.

I saved mine to enjoy in celebration after Juan Agudelo's excellent goal in the New England Revolution's Saturday night win over Columbus Crew.

They're delicious. You should make some.

Almond Date Truffles
Makes 18
Recipe by Sara Forte, Sprouted Kitchen

  • 20 medjool dates, halved and pits removed
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup natural cocoa powder (or cacao if you can find it)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup toasted almonds, finely chopped
  1. Put the dates and vanilla in a food processor and run until a chunky paste forms. Add the almond butter and pulse a few more times. Add the coconut, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon, and pulse again. The mixture should be a tad crumbly, but press between your fingers and stick together. If it seems too wet to hold in a ball, add more coconut, if too dry, add a touch more almond butter or a splash of water. 
  2. Roll a heaping tablespoon of the mixture between your palms to form a ball. Repeat with remaining mixture. Put your chopped almonds on a plate and roll each truffle in the almonds (apply a bit of pressure to get them to adhere). Place the plate in the fridge to chill for at least an hour. Truffles will keep covered in the fridge for a couple weeks.
I rolled a few of my truffles in unsweetened coconut flakes instead of almonds. You could be creative here. I bet they'd taste great rolled in a mixture of cocoa powder, cinnamon, and a teeny pinch of cayenne pepper. Or in pistachios. Or sesame seeds. Or you could mix a little instant espresso powder in with the paste before forming balls. Possibilities are endless! 

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