Almond Date Truffles
Oh my gosh. Dates. Seriously. Sweet as candy, but so much better for you!
What are Dates?
Dates are one of the oldest known fruits in the world, originating in the Middle East thousands of years ago. Dates grow in clusters at the top of the Date Palm trees, which can grow to over 100 feet in height. They grow all year round, though they are harvested in fall and early winter, and a single tree can produce over 1,000 dates in one year!
Most dates are grown in the Middle East, but there are also plentiful crops in the United States as well, specifically in California. There are several different varieties of dates, ranging in sweetness and in texture. The most commonly found varieties are Medjool and Deglet (Deglet make up about 95% of the type of dates grown in the US.) In Indio, California there is another variety called Empress, which are slightly less sweet than Medjool dates and are firmer in texture.
Dates & Sugar
Yes, dates are sweet. They are one of the most calorie-dense fruits out there, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid them altogether! Dates are a good source of fiber and also contain vitamins that can help maintain healthy eyesight.
Dates are a natural sweetener, but a little goes a long way. You can certainly use dates in cooking or smoothies to add some sweetness and fiber or eat one or two as a dessert. If you are sensitive to sugar, you probably want to eat these pretty sparingly.
Many athletes eat dates to fuel their workouts and help their bodies recover. After a workout you might throw a date or two into a blender with a banana, spinach, cacao powder and almond milk to make a quick and healthy recovery snack.
Dates and Pregnancy
I am not a mother nor am I pregnant, but I read the most amazing facts about dates and labor while doing research on dates! If you or someone you know is pregnant, you should check this out-- there is research that suggests that eating dates every day for the month before your due date can ease labor pains, spurn more natural labor, reduce the amount of pain medication you need for delivery, and help you to have a shorter labor. What!?! Check out this article for more information.
Let’s Get Cooking
Okay, so this isn’t really cooking per se… but it is delicious! These sweet treats are so easy to make and are the perfect ending to your dinner. You won’t need more than one! They are easy to make, chocolatey, sweet, salty, and crunchy. They are little pockets of deliciousness. Make these for yourself or for a gathering and watch as your friends are amazed by their tastiness!
Almond Date Truffles
12 Medjool, Deglet or Empress Dates (I used Empress because they are easy to find out here and have a firmer texture)
12 Roasted Almonds
½ c dark chocolate (chips or bar broken into pieces)
1 TBSP coconut oil
2-3 TBSP Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
Slice alongside each date and remove pit. Place one almond in the center of each date where the pit once was.
Add chocolate chips (or broken chocolate bar) into a double boiler with 1 TBSP coconut oil. Stir carefully and frequently as the chocolate melts. When melted, remove from burner.
If you don’t have a double boiler, you can also do this in a Pyrex dish in the microwave. Heat chocolate and coconut oil for 30 second increments until chocolate is melted (shouldn’t take more than one minute to melt ½ c of chocolate.)
Using a fork, dip each date into the chocolate and turn to coat. Shake off extra chocolate and place on a sheet of parchment paper or on a dish. Sprinkle sea salt and coconut on top of each date and place dates in the refrigerator or the freezer for about 20 minutes to harden the chocolate.
With the warmer temps in California, I keep these stored in a container in the refrigerator. If you live in a cooler climate, I would imagine these would keep on the counter with no problem.
Don’t like coconut? Switch up your toppings! Try chopped nuts or a dusting of cinnamon. Tag your creations on Instagram using the hashtag #karenscolorfulkitchen. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!
What’s your favorite way to eat dates?