A while ago, I went through a phase of fascination with healthy snacks – both home-made and store-bought. One of the ready-made snacks that I discovered were date balls covered with crushed nuts. Literally, just dates and nuts – the ingredient list had 4 items (dates and 3 types of nuts 🙂 ). So I thought, why not try and make them at home? I then discovered that date balls were actually a thing and a trend (yep, I know I’m not the first one to make them). I’ve seen loads of recipes and – by trial and error – combined them into one that works best for me.
For around 20 walnut size balls you’ll need:
- 200g dried dates
- ~1cup of water or coffee – enough to cover the dates
- 80g of your favourite chopped up nuts – this time I used hazelnuts, walnuts, cashew nuts and almond flakes
- A sprinkle of cinnamon, a few drops of vanilla extract – optional
- ~50g desiccated coconut, some extra finely chopped nuts – to cover the balls
Start by soaking the dates in the liquid for about 20 minutes. Water works perfectly fine, coffee lovers might want to use coffee instead for that subtle aftertaste. For an adult party version you can use alcohol instead 😉 They won’t be as healthy though and you’ll probably have to waste some alcohol when you drain the dates.
Once the dates are soaked, drain them (you can save the liquid and use it in other recipes – for example, you can cook apples in it and use them in a porridge). Blend the dates into a smooth paste. If you’re having trouble with this step because the dates are too sticky and/or hard for your blender, it probably means they haven’t been soaked enough. Try adding some of the liquid back and blending again – that’s why it’s good to keep the liquid after draining the dates. 😉 If you’re having an opposite problem and the mixture is very runny, almost liquid (that’s what happened to me when I first gave this recipe a go), you can save the situation by adding a little bit of oats/oat flour (or any other flour). To give you an idea of the expected texture, at this step you should be able to form balls out of the mixture. I probably made it sound like it’s really hard to nail it but trust me, it really isn’t! Just don’t rush the recipe and let the dates sit in liquid for the recommended time and then drain them well. Patience is the key – I made my mistakes so you don’t have to. 🙂
One the dates are blended and you feel like forming balls out of them would be doable, stir in the nuts and spices and… form the balls! Cover each ball in coconut and/or nuts and enjoy 🙂