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Cacao and Date Treats

a sweet & easy recipe

Story by The Cupboard June 23rd, 2015

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).

What I love about this recipe:
whole ingredients
easy to prepare
travels well

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.

5. Enjoy


Ingredient breakdown

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.


*Recipe notes and alterations

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

San Francisco, CA, United States