food crush: dates

Welcome! Today I’m introducing a new series to the blog: food crush. Once or twice a week, I have these moments where whatever I’m eating at the time suddenly becomes the most amazing and delicious foodstuff in the whole fucking universe. I’m sitting at my desk, and suddenly I’m like, “Holy Shitballs, <insert food here> is the most amazing thing I’ve ever put in my mouth. Ever.”

And then I proceed to swoon over said food for a good five minutes, fantasising about the ways in which I’m going to cook and eat it next. Adam has borne the brunt of many a food crush, as they appear seemingly at random – striking with such a force that it requires immediate, effusive, and loud vocalisation. BAM! Suddenly I need to talk about the majesty of a date, or broccoli, or sweet potato or mint.

So, now, instead of pouring my food crush obsessions into Adam’s ears (actually, I probably still will – sorry A!) I’m going to share my food crushes with you. I’ll aim to provide a recipe for a favourite way to eat my food crush, with links to several of my other favourite recipes.

dates

Now for today’s food crush: dates. Holy crap, guys, have you ever eaten one of these things?! (And not the weird dried out ones, I’m talking Medjool.) Of course you have, and if you haven’t, please, please do! Eat them, and be swept up into a swoon of caramelly, chewy, soft (can something be chewy and soft at the same time? I think dates can!), sweet, rich, and moist. Procure one as soon as possible, put it in your mouth, and that way we can crush on dates together.

date

My love for these little suckers knows no bounds. Not only because of they amazing flavour by themselves, but you can do so much with them. Raw desserts? Baked desserts? Sweetener? Snacks? Dates can do EVERYTHING. Plus, PLUS: all that fiber’s gotta be good for you.

ready for the freezer

The most frequent ways I eat dates are: by themselves as a snack (perfect for afternoon sugar cravings!), or in raw desserts (or snacks, no judgment here!). The recipe I’ve included here is for raw cacao chip brownie balls (a hybrid of recipes from My New Roots and oh, ladycakes). Make them, shove them into your mouth and relish their chewy, truffle-y goodness – brought to you by the magical properties of dates, of course. I should note the truffle-i-ness is offset by crunchy cacao chips, which is just about as good as it gets in my books. Perfect for emergency sweetness and chocolate cravings – pull one out of the freezer and BAM! date-y goodness for you to enjoy.

A few of my other favourite date-licious recipes:

A few more ideas for using dates:

  • Bake them into banana bread, or banana muffins.
  • Like in this recipe, use them to replace sugar.
  • Add them to savoury Morrocan tagines (spicy, tomato-y sweet potatoes with dates?! DIVINE).
  • Remove the seeds and stuff them with almond paste.
  • Pop them into smoothies for natural sweetness and toothy texture.

stirring in cacao chips cacao chip brownie balls

Raw Cacao Chip Brownie Balls

makes about 30

Recipe notes:

  • You could press the dough into a brownie tin, freeze, then cut it into slices. But, I really prefer the tablespoon and roll method. The tin method is good, but I can never cut the brownies into the right size.
  • Use any combination/amount of nuts you like (as long as you’ve got 2 cups total): almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.
  • If you like, reserve 1/4 cup of any nut, chop them and stir them back into the dough at the end with the cacao nibs.
  • If you’ve got half a vanilla pod lying around, scrape the seeds in, for extra flavour.
  • For an extra cacao hit, you could roll the balls in more cacao before you put them in the freezer.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw almonds or raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raw hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
  • 8 medjool dates
  • 2 tbsp water
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs

In a food processor, blend the almonds/cashews (I used cashews in this version), walnuts, hazelnuts and cacao powder into a fine meal. Add the dates, water and salt, blend for a further minute or so, until the dough forms and sticks together when pressed. Stir through the cacao nibs. Using a tablespoon measure, scoop level tablespoons of dough onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper, rolling them into balls. Place them in the freezer for 30 minutes, and they’re ready. Stored in an airtight container in the freezer, they should keep for ~ 6 months.

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6 thoughts on “food crush: dates

  1. Sounds delish! The cacao nibs are basically (organic?) chocolate drops yes? So many variations of this… Really want to try making it with pistachios omnom.

    (Your food crush is what I’m currently going through with sweet sweet pineapple and tart strawberries! So good!)

    • Thanks Bec! Actually, they’re crushed up cacao beans, but I don’t see why crushed dark chocolate chips wouldn’t work either. I find it hard to get good dark choc chips, so use cacao nibs instead. Pistachios sound delicious! And so do pineapple and strawberries 🙂

    • Chocolate and orange are divine! I’ve made these before with orange salt instead of plain salt and it was great – I’m sure you could add orange zest to the food processor as well 😉

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