I sometimes like to add a tablespoon or so of dried cranberries to give this a bit of a tart twist.
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup pitted dates (about 4 to 5), cut into quarters
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder, any kind (I usually use Hershey’s Special Dark)
- Scant 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup almond butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup whole almonds
- Cooking spray (optional)
For topping/rolling the balls:
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 Make the date balls: Place the walnuts and dates into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade, and pulse several times until well combined. The pieces should look like a rough crumble.
Add the cocoa powder, maple syrup, almond butter, vanilla extract, and sea salt and pulse until the mixture is smooth and thick; it will start to peel away from the edge of the bowl.
When this happens, stop the food processor; if it keeps whirring away, it may get stuck because these ingredients are, well, sticky! Keep a close eye on this, as it will come together quickly.
2 Add the almonds: Add the almonds and pulse a few times to incorporate them. You want them sort of irregularly sized, so that some pieces are still pretty crunchy and offer a variety of textures.
3 Roll the date balls: Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Place the coconut in a small bowl and the cocoa powder in another bowl.
Using a cookie scoop measuring about 1 1/2 tablespoons (like this one) and sprayed with cooking spray for easy release, scoop out the mixture, roll it into golf-ball shapes, and roll in the shredded coconut or the cocoa powder. (I usually do some in coconut and some in cocoa powder, and leave some plain.)
4 Chill and store the date balls: Transfer the date balls to the baking sheet and chill them for a few hours or overnight, if needed. Once they've firmed up, transfer to a plastic lidded container and keep in the fridge for several weeks, but I've never, ever, had them last that long. They are usually consumed too quickly.