Friday, April 27, 2012

Date Addiction

I will admit it. I have an addiction. I am in love with my Medjool date balls and there is nothing I can do to stop now. I may have even forced some other people to try them thus causing addiction issues for others. I am a troublemaker.

I know I have already posted about these date balls or bars as I sometimes like to make them, but I know you haven't tried them yet. I know they are the kind of thing you kind of have to taste to be convinced that you too need to get yourself some Medjool dates. That is why you might see me carrying around a little container of them begging people to taste my new flavor. I am a crazy lady and I have gone crazy inventing new flavors. I have now made seven different kinds. Have I convinced you yet???

The process begins the same no matter what flavor you choose to make. You need to start with almonds and Medjool dates.

I have used both raw almonds and dry roasted and it doesn't really seem to make a difference so whatever you can find is fine.

But you do need to use the Medjool dates. They are larger and sweeter and have a nice chewy texture. You will need exactly 12 of these dates to make the perfect consistency.

Cut them open and take out the pits. I like to cut each one into fourths to help the food processor along. COUNT YOUR PITS! Make sure you have 12 and throw them away. I have accidentally put one in the processor a few times. Trust me. You will know if this happens to you. Set the dates to the side.

Place one over flowing cup of almonds into the processor and turn it on for a few minutes. You want it to be ground pretty finely.

It should look like this with no big chunks. Pour the almonds into a separate container and put the dates into the processor.

You will want to process the dates until they form into a ball. It is one sticky big ball of dates! Then dump your almonds back in and get your other ingredients ready.

This is where the fun begins! Most of these date balls I have made have only 4-5 ingredients. I absolutely love that! It makes them a cinch to whip up and I feel good about how healthy they are. For the sake of this post I will pretend you are all making my latest version, Chocolate Cherry, but I will give you all the recipes!

You do need to use dried fruit. Regular fruit would have too much moisture and would also leave chunks of the peel which wouldn't roll up nicely or taste great. I added about 2/3 of a cup of these dried cherries. It can be a bit of a struggle to find dried fruit without added sugar. Do your best! The dates already have plenty of natural sugar and are super sweet. You don't need any added sugar. Pour the cherries into the processor.

Then add about 3 tbsp. of unsweetened cocoa powder. You can add a bit more if it isn't chocolaty enough for you.

Because the flavor of the cherries was a bit mild the flavor wasn't turning out like I had imagined it would. Almond extract can sometimes take on a cherry flavor so I added about 1/2 tsp. Don't go overboard with this. Start with the 1/2 tsp. and add more if you find it isn't enough for you. It is a strong flavor! This was the perfect addition. Process this mixture until it all comes together. Stop the processor and pick a bit out and try to roll it into a ball. If it comes together easily then you are done. If you find it isn't coming together easily then you may need to add a bit of milk or process a bit longer. I like to use almond milk but regular is fine too. I would definitely keep them in the fridge after that though. You probably won't need more than a tsp. of milk.


This is what your mixture should look like. Dump that out onto a piece of waxed paper and start rolling into balls. I usually get about 30-32 balls out of one batch.

This happens to be the lemon ginger flavor but this is an idea of the size for you. I would probably call them one inch balls or maybe just under an inch.


You can also flatten the mixture and use a rolling pin to get a nice even square and cut them into bite size squares. I like to do this if I am serving these more as a dessert then an energy ball or little pick me up. I do have to cut the uneven edges off when doing it this way and press those scraps into a new square until the mixture is all used up.Store them flat with parchment or waxed paper between layers if you do it this way.

This is how I like to store them. I do keep them in the fridge. I like them to firm up a bit and the date container says to store the dates in the fridge after opening. If you like them softer then take a few out at a time and leave them on the counter for a bit.

Miles and I have both loved having these around the house. They are perfect for before or after a workout or for that little something sweet to cleanse your palate after a meal. I also like them when I am just having a snack attack!

So now for all seven recipes! For the record this Chocolate Cherry is Miles' new favorite and he won't stop talking about it. Yes a man is in love with these too. My favorite is by far the Apple Cinnamon. This whole craze was inspired however by the lemon ginger that I found on a blog I read called The Edible Perspective.

Since each kind is made the exact same way I am only giving brief instructions below for each flavor. The process is pretty simple and hard to mess up. You can be sure that I will come up with some more flavors soon too so you might want to check back for a post publish update! I am thinking something with mango and vanilla could be next! I will also be experimenting with some different nuts soon too like pecans for a pecan pie tasting flavor!

One more thing, I get that container of dates at Sams for only $8.58 I believe. That is a steal of a deal. You can get these dates here in Willmar at the Potpourii Health food store next to Jakes for about $6.95 a pound or a smaller container at Cash Wise near the raspberries. They are pretty expensive at Cash Wise however.

Lemon Ginger Date Balls
1 over-flowing cup almonds
12 Medjool dates, pitted
1 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp ground ginger.

Grind almonds and dates separately in a food processor. Place them both back into the processor and add the rest of the ingredients. Process until it sticks together nicely, about 1-2 minutes. Rolls into balls or cut into squares or longer bars.


Lime Coconut Date Balls
1 over-flowing cup almonds
12 Medjool Dates, pitted
1 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lime juice
2 tsp. lime zest
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes finely processed.

Grind almonds, dates, and coconut flakes separately in a food processor. Place all ingredients back into the processor and mix until it sticks together nicely. Roll into balls or flatten and cut into squares or bars.


Chocolate Orange/Coconut Date Balls
1 over-flowing cup of almonds
12 Medjool dates, pitted
1-2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed orange juice
2 tsp. orange zest
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes finely processed (optional)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips finely processed
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Grind almonds, dates, coconut flakes, and chocolate chips separately. Place them all back into the food processor and add remaining ingredients. Process until mixture comes together. Then shape into balls. (This recipe does have more ingredients and sugar because of the chocolate chips. You can leave out both the chocolate chips and the coconut flakes. With the extra ingredients you may need more juice)

Apple Cinnamon Date Balls
1 over-flowing cup of almonds
12 Medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup dried apples (no added sugar if possible)
1/2 -1 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. almond milk

Grind almonds and dates separately in the food processor. Place back into the processor with remaining ingredients and process until mixture comes together. Add more milk if too dry. Shape mixture into balls or bars.

Apricot Nutmeg Date Balls
1 over-flowing cup of almonds
12 Medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup dried apricots (no sugar added if possible)
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 Tbsp. almond milk

Grind almonds and dates separately in the food processor. Place back into the processor and add remaining ingredients. Process until mixture sticks together nicely. Roll into balls or bars.

Lemon Blueberry Date Balls
1 over-flowing cup of almonds
12 Medojool dates, pitted
2/3 cup dried blueberries (hard to find without added sugar so choose lowest sugar possible)
1 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp. lemon zest

Grind almonds and dates separately in the food processor. Place back into the processor and add remaining ingredients. Process until mixture sticks together well and form into balls or bars.

Chocolate Cherry Date Balls
1 over-flowing cup of almonds
12 Medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup dried cherries (no sugar added if possible)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2-1 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. almond milk

Grind almonds and dates separately in the food processor. Place back into the processor and add remaining ingredients. Add more milk if necessary to come together. Process for 1-2 minutes until mixture comes together nicely. Roll into balls or form into squares or bars.






 




















2 comments:

blessedmama said...

Wow, what a great site! I love your style of writing. And, bonus...I get seven date ball recipes at once. What more could a girl ask for?

Monu Teena said...

i have made dates ball too, got my mom's recipe : added wheat biscuits too, Dates ball ~ do visit my place when time permits! happy to get feed back :) HAPPY BLOGGING