During college, I became good friends with some students from Beirut, Lebanon. We often dined together and when dessert time rolled around, they would throw back handfuls of the fruit of kings, Medjool dates like they were blue M&Ms. At the time (before my real food conversion) I just could not fathom how an individual could choose a wrinkled, amber-brown fruit over a box of Sugar Babies.
Now I would travel to the far reaches of the Arabian Peninsula to nab enough of the oblong, edible fruit of palm to make my Date Truffles.
Unlike its other fruit neighbors, the date doesn’t provide material to craft insightful lines of poetry or titles for novels.
Harvested and grown for thousands of years throughout the Middle East, dates are a quiet newcomer on the American food scene. Dates are beginning to find their way onto the shelves in mainstream American supermarkets.
My real-food palate favors this unpretentious fruit for dessert over a thick slice of the 9-layer Smith Island Cake. I know it sounds crazy, but my Date Truffles are in high demand around my house. We eat the Date Truffles for breakfast and dessert. Here’s why my Date Truffles are part of my real food repertoire:
Dates Truffles are real food
Real food is clean food, and by clean I don’t mean scrubbed. Clean food is unprocessed, grows in nature, not a lab, and not manufactured with synthetics. You don’t need a background in chemistry to read the ingredients in my date truffle recipe.
Date Truffles do not contain added sugar
It’s no secret that I am not a fan of white sugar. Too many people in America get their buzz not from caffeine but the white legal stuff. The sugar addiction has its tight grip on consumers. Sugar shows up in the most unlikely places like meats, canned vegetables, and bread.
It’s no longer safe to assume that the snacks in the individually wrapped translucent paper are the only sugar culprits in the food aisles.
Date Truffles can be made at home in under twenty minutes
Pre-made desserts are not only a strain on the food budget but often when you opt for ready-made desserts, the contents of the pretty packaging contain highly processed ingredients. Boxed brownies require the same amount of prep time as my Date Truffles so use your baking time preparing real food.
Date Truffles are notably nutritious
The real food ingredient list includes almonds, shredded coconut, coconut oil, and flaxseed, all of which are superfoods.
Date Truffles appeal to palates of ALL ages
Just because I blog about real food doesn’t mean that my entire family is sold out on the lifestyle. When it comes to dessert, typically my brood expects brownies or cookies made from freshly ground grain. Going against convention requires a little cooking spunk which I owe to years of watching Christopher Kimball. Kimball is the former editor of the cooking show, America’s Test Kitchen, and its publication offspring, Cooks Illustrated. Kimball now hosts Milk Street, a new Boston-based cooking show, magazine, and cooking school. Known as the cooking guy with the bow tie, Kimball likes to “teach folks how to cook” and to experiment with recipes.
My cooking moxie gave me the guts to not only alter but rename the recipe to its current Date Truffle. With a little ingredient tweaking and a new name, my kids admit, even to their friends, how much they gobble down mom’s yummy date dessert.
Date Truffles are a healthful alternative to traditional sugary treats
When it’s time to fill the holiday plates with festive treats, offer family and friends a nutrient-dense dessert rather than the typically processed confection.
It’s not just about the dates, is it?
Decades after my first encounter with the Medjool dates, I realize that it’s not only important to try new foods, but exercising fortitude in the kitchen develops culinary confidence.exercising fortitude in the kitchen develops culinary confidence Click To Tweet
Do you have a favorite not so healthful recipe that you could alter? How’s your cooking moxie? Add your comment below. Let’s help each other develop cooking confidence.
Date-Almond Truffles: substitute 1/2 teaspoon of real vanilla extract for the vanilla. Chop fine, one cup of toasted almonds and coat balls with mixture.
- 2 cups raw almonds
- 1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut (plus more for rolling)
- 2 Tbsp of coconut oil
- 2 cups of pitted dates
- 1/2 cup almond butter (optional)
- 1 Tbsp of real vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp of freshly ground flax seed (grind in a clean coffee grinder)
- In a food processor with blade, add almonds, coconut and process until combined.
- Through the well of the processor, add the oil, dates, vanilla, and ground flax. Combine until all ingredients are moist and stick together firmly.
- Using 1 inch ice-cream scoop, shape portions into balls by hand. Form uniform balls. Place on a cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet or transfer portions to a large plate and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
- Then dust mixture with cacao powder or roll in shredded coconut.