It’s Easter Sunday and lots of us associate that with chocolate in various shapes: eggs, bunnies, bilbies. Although my favourite is a Lindt dark chocolate bunny, I have a passion for those little eggs that you hide in crazy places around the house for the annual easter egg hunt. They always end up in a bowl in the fridge, regardless of who found what, where. These eggs are for sharing, or more correctly, stealing from the fridge when no-one else is around. The sneaky chocolate egg you can deny and say, it wasn’t me, when they seemingly disappear into thin air. Luckily Easter and the associated chocolate consumption only comes around once a year. So what do you do when chocolate is off the agenda?
Dates! The best thing about dates is that they are naturally sweet, which leads them to filling the gaping hole left when you decide to omit chocolate from your diet. You could argue that sugar is sugar regardless of its source, but really, I have no time for that. To my mind, I deserve a pat on the back when I decide not to indulge in chocolate and if peanut butter and date balls make it easier when the 4pm chocolate cravings kick in, then so be it.
The thing that is particularly good about making date balls is they are so incredibly quick and easy, (the downside is you need a food processor to make them). Simply throw everything in the bowl, blitz until it all comes together, then roll into balls. The other great thing is you can change up the flavour depending on what you feel like on the day. This version has peanut butter in them, but you could also try these or these.
Since making the first batch of date balls, I’ve been given a hot tip (thanks Georgia!) that makes the blitzing so much easier. Once you halve the dates to make sure they were all pitted in the packaging process, place the dates in a bowl and cover them with water whilst you measure out the rest of the ingredients. You drain the dates before adding them to the mixture, but the result is they are more moist and easy to blend. The finished product tends to be softer as well.
Once last thing. You find a whole lot of recipes out there using medjool dates, but the reality is they are super expensive. For that reason, when making balls of any flavour, I use the regular dates that are sold in 500 gram packets in the dried fruit section of the supermarket. They work a treat. Actually, there’s another thing…I have started using only half a packet of dates – 250 grams when I make these. The reason: they are so easy to make, and there are so many options in terms of what to put in them, that small batches mean variety. Enjoy!
- 250 grams dates
- 100 grams walnuts
- ⅓ cup shredded coconut (and extra for rolling balls in)
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 heaped tablespoon peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon vailla extract
- Roughly chop the dates to make sure there are no seeds in them. Place in a small bowl and cover with water. Set aside.
- Place the walnuts, coconut, chia seeds, peanut butter and vanilla extract in the bowl of a food processor.
- Drain the water from the dates, then add the dates to the food processor.
- Blitz until everything comes together.
- Roll the mixture into small balls and place on a plate. Sprinkle with shredded coconut and roll the balls around to give them a good coating of coconut.
- Store in the fridge in an airtight container.