“You can’t have your cake and eat it”, goes one English proverb. But whoever came up with it clearly had never heard of dates. These deliciously sweet, chewy and almost caramel-like treats come from the fruit world. But they can almost be mistaken for a relative of biscuits or candy.
And with all that sweet decadence, you are not punished with empty carbs as is the case with any baked good (yes, cake, we are looking at you!). That’s because dates are full of nutrients and minerals, great for your digestive and immune systems: all the reasons to enjoy them more often.
The king of dates
There are more than 1000 varieties of dates, but the crown jewel amongst them is the Medjool date.
These dates hail from Morocco. They are usually larger in size and softer in texture compared to other dates. When buying Medjool dates, you get fresh fruit picked straight from trees with no prior thermal or chemical treatments. Hence, keeping Medjool dates in a fridge is the best way to avoid them drying. Medjool dates will stay fresh for a month if kept in cool temperatures.
Since Medjool dates are 50 % richer in potassium than bananas and contain vitamin B6, magnesium, iron, copper and exactly 0 fats, they are perfect candidates for energy balls. With them, you can ditch sweeteners altogether – medjool dates already bring enough sweetness.
Make outstanding energy balls with Medjool dates
- 8 dates
- 240 g / 1 cup jumbo rolled oats
- 120 g / ½ cup ground linseeds
- 80 g / 1/3 cup coconut flakes
- 80 g / 1/3 cup chocolate chips
- 120 g / ½ cup peanut butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
Start by preparing the Medjool date paste:
- Pit the dates if they aren’t already pitted.
- Cover the pitted dates with 500 g / 2 cups of hot water and let them soak for 20 minutes. The fresher the dates, the less soaking they need.
- Drain all the liquid but 1-2 tbsp of the water in which the dates were soaked.
- Use a high-speed food processor and whizz the dates into a paste, adding the reserved water to help the process.
For the energy balls:
- Mix the rest of the dry energy ball ingredients in a bowl.
- Then add 80 g / 1/3 cup of your date paste, peanut butter and vanilla.
- Combine all the ingredients.
- Create the balls using your hands, place them in an airtight container and store them in a refrigerator.
If you have more dates available, make extra date paste. It is a perfect spread for toast, a sweetener for baking goods like muffins, an ingredient for a smoothie or a topper for morning porridge. In short: add the paste anywhere you need sweet caramel flavour.
Store the rest of the paste in a jar in a fridge or freeze it in a small ice tray container to use within 6 months.