It’s a Date
A staple food of the Middle East for thousands of years, dates have originated, as legend has it, around the area that is now Iraq, and they have been cultivated since ancient times, possibly as back as 4000 BCE. From Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt, where they were used to make date wine, until today’s organically defined diets, dates have had a lasting popularity, finding their way in every type of lifestyle.
Packed with vitamins, especially those of the B family (this explains their popularity amongst vegans), minerals and fibre, this sweet dried fruit boosts metabolism and bone density, while balancing cholesterol levels. A small date snack offers a healthy surge of energy before a demanding workout session, or during a lazy afternoon, when you feel you are about to shut off.
During this time of year, steering away from chocolate bites that are the typical festive treat to have around for friends, I have decided to follow a healthier path.
All the ingredients of this recipe are raw and the sweetness of the medjool dates combined with that of honey is enough. The aroma of blossom water comes in as a discreet reminder of the date’s eastern past and almonds add up a crunch to the power snack value of this healthy truffle, earning it a sure place in my energy food list.
Date Truffles with Nuts
200 g Medjool dates, seeded and halved
300 g blanched almonds
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons blossom water
1 cup unsweetened powdered coconut (or alternatively, crushed nuts, chocolate sprinkles, flaked coconut or cinnamon)
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F). In a medium saucer, fitted with a perforated metal basket, place the dates and steam for 15 minutes, to soften.
2. Meanwhile, roast the almonds on a baking sheet until they become golden, for 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Pour the almonds and cinnamon in a food processor and pulse until they are finely ground. Add softened dates, honey and rosewater. Pulse together until a thick and sticky ball forms. Remove from the blender.
4. Roll a heaping teaspoon of the mixture between your damp palms to form a ball. Repeat with remaining mixture, until 18 to 24 balls are made (the amount depends on the size of each ball).
5. Putting the topping: Spread the topping of your choice on a plate. Roll the balls in the toppings, while applying a bit of pressure on them, in order to get the topping to adhere to the balls.
6. Place on a plate in the refrigerator to chill, for at least one hour. Serve truffles cold. May be kept in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to 3 weeks.
Makes 18 to 24 truffles
Did you know? Dates have been a staple food of the Middle East for thousands of years. The Ancient Egyptians used them to make date wine and ate them during the harvest.