I recently took a break from processed sugar, almonds, dairy, and gluten; which is another way of saying: I’ve been eating in a lot. This raw cacao & date recipe isn’t new for me, but it’s definitely seeing its limelight these days. I can whip them up quickly, eat a little, and enjoy the rest over the following days. And, seriously, they’ve been a saving grace, especially when those around me are enjoying their mint chip ice cream or freshly baked toast covered in almond butter (ahem).
Gluten free, dairy free, paleo, vegan, whatever buzz word you’re into, this recipe has you covered.*
Oh, but let’s be real, most importantly, they’re mouth watering delicious.
* See recipe notes at the bottom for more.
prep time: 5 minutes | cook time: 5-20 minutes | yields: 8-12 treats
1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tbsp raw cacao ground from nibs (or use powder)
2 tbsp coconut shreds (optional)
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp psyllium husk or ground flax (optional)
pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, allspice, & cloves*
Coating: I’ve rolled mine in ground coconut shred and walnuts, but you could also use cacao powder
*Spices: I‘ve found that I love the spice mixture above, but have also used cayenne, nutmeg, & ginger. Get creative, try out different spice blends.
1: Prep coating
Grind coconut shreds and cacao nibs into a powder.
2: Blend it
Remove seeds from the dates, place in food processor and blend for about 1-2 minutes (pulsing). Add in walnuts, blend until ingredients are evenly ground together. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until they are evening distributed. This may take a few minutes. You can check the consistency with a spatula or spoon, making sure that when pressed the “dough“ sticks together.
3: Roll it
Begin to make individual balls: take a spoon to create a uniform amount. Roll each ball in your hand, using your fingers to make the ball even all around. Roll each treat in your coating and place on a baking sheet or plate. This recipe will yield 8-12 individual treats depending on the size of your spoon.
4: Cool it
Place in the refrigerator and enjoy after 20 minutes. The cold coconut oil will help the treat stay together - but, believe me, I‘ve thoroughly enjoyed this treat straight out of the bowl.
Walnuts: Considered a brain food because of it‘s good fat, omega-3, vitamin e, and antioxidant properties; Walnuts are also a great source of manganese, copper, biotin, and molybdenum. They support the heart, cognitive function, boosts mood and sleep!
Cacao: Loaded with antioxidants, is rich in iron, sulfur, copper, potassium, magnesium, beta-carotene, and dietary fiber. It‘s a natural mood booster and enhances both physical and mental well-being.
Coconut: Known for its high quality fat content, anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties, coconut products are a great addition to the diet. High in iron, manganese, fiber (shreds), and Lauric acid (antibacterial, antiviral, which supports the immunity).
Dates: Great source of fiber, b vitamins (especially b3 &6), manganese, magnesium, iron, potassium, copper, phosphorus, zinc, selenium and folic acid. They contain a fair amount of sugar, which is why they‘re great in healthy desserts, but they also contain a type of soluble fiber that slows down the glucose (sugar) release in the body, thus regulating blood sugar levels. Amazing!
Psyllium husk & flaxseeds: Both provide an excellent source of fiber, especially the psyllium husk which contains 13g of fiber per 1 ounce! Psyllium is high in iron and calcium as well. Read more about flaxseeds here.
Spices: Great source of antioxidants, immunity boosters, dietary fiber, calcium and manganese, vitamin b complex, c, k, e, and iron. Cinnamon, allspice, and cloves are a great way to boost the nutrient density of any meal.
If you have allergies to any of the ingredients listed above here are some substitution suggestions:
Walnuts > almonds, sesame seeds, hazelnuts, cashews are all great alternatives (used in tandem or alone)
Coconut > leave it out. If your batch isn’t damp enough to stick together try adding a little more flax or 1 tsp of olive oil
Cacao > if you’re not sensitive to carob, it’s a great alternative
Try adding the following items to play around with the recipe > spirulina, banana, hemp protein powder, sesame seeds, chia seeds, matcha powder, or nut butter