Date Nut Bites
Keeping little boys calm and engaged is not an easy feat and only works within certain windows, timing is everything. While we operated a no-sugar policy until Little Boy Green was 2, in the last year or so (this started with Baby Green’s arrival throwing our household into total chaos) that policy has given way to periodic bribery with date bars and the odd chocolate button. Our fondness for cacao has been translated to Little Boy Green who is now too old and savvy to be fooled by our old tricks, like steamed broccoli lightly dusted in raw cacao powder… The little dude has caught on, he knows that if he rummages through my running kit he is sure to find a date bar that he can squirrel away for a later date. Little Boy Green’s most recent display of masterful skills of warfare (Mission: Destruction and Loot) is pouncing on Baby Green, and thus avenging the broken train tracks, leaving him to cry, then darting off and acting as if he were feeling remorseful, retreating into reflective solitude and hiding only to emerge with a chocolate-covered face and fingers.
To avoid the much unappreciated surgical strikes on Baby Green, we are continuously on the lookout for engaging and rewarding recipes. This one has worked very well so far and has the bonus addition of not leaving me with a disappointingly empty date bar wrapper mid-run. Date Bites are easy to prepare, store well and are a great bribe for a desperately jealous big brother.
A more appropriate name for these little bad boys should be “daddy if you don’t hand over a few of those date balls, I will throw a tantrum like you have never seen!” Not least because there is just enough easily digestible glucose and caffeine to trigger a little child jonesing for their next fix. Parents, you have been warned. They do remain, however, a clear and opportunistic sure-fire route to the happiness of anyone you may throw them at. (Except for those non-chocolate loving folk, do they really exist?)
As usual the recipe below is just a suggestion and any number of ingredient substitutions can be made. We use medjool dates as they are wonderfully gooey, chewy, sweet and very smooth when blended, but almost any dried fruit would work as long as they are not too dry. If the fruit you are using is very dry, then a good 2-4 hour soak should moisten them up nicely. Nuts and seeds are a great way to add texture and are best if left a little coarse. Many recipes that I have looked at suggest a protein powder, but we feel that is unnecessary, but do suggest using a powder of some sort to firm up the mixture when blended as well as a coating for the balls as they can be sticky to the touch. Coconut oil, or a nut/seed butter are a great glue and when cold are are great way to firm up the bites. We like to add some good-quality vanilla extract to add a little luxury to the mix, and are keen to experiment with other natural extracts and flavours, including mint and orange. Go forth and experiment, and do report back if your experiments suggest any particularly successful flavour combinations.
- 14 dates roughly 250g or 1 cup, packed
- 150g or 1 cup raw almonds
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp raw cacao or cocoa powder
- Place all ingredients except for the cacao in a food processor fitted with the S blade and process until a paste forms but the nuts are still coarse. Put the cacao on a large plate.
- Scoop out enough of the mixture to form a ball, the size is up to you, but probably no larger than a golf ball. The flavour is pretty intense, so even smaller balls will throw a punch.
- Roll the mixture in the palm of your hand and then roll over the cacao to coat.
- Place the balls into a container and place in the fridge or freezer until ready to serve.