Dates...oh how I love them. I am new to dates...I really knew very little of them before becoming vegan, weird I know! However, once I found them and tried them...I knew we were meant to be, hahaha!
A little history for ya...did you know that dates originally trace back to the Middle East? I had no idea! It is a fruit that goes through a drying process to get what we see in the stores. It is a part of the palm family that has a long history of cultivation. WOW! Dates are also a significant piece to Ramadan as it is known as "the first food" after Muslims have fasted from sunrise to sunset. This is pretty interesting stuff! Additionally, growers in Iraq and the Middle East ship thousands of dates to places in America with high Muslim population to prepare for Ramadan. More information on this can be found by following this link
So, lets talk about these date balls, date rolls...little balls of joy is what i like to call them (no pun intended,hahaha)!! Once I really started to dive deep in sweets and snacks for my new lifestyle, dates kept popping up in almost every recipe. I was extremely nervous...I always peered at them in the store and couldn't imagine buying them let alone enjoying them. The first time I bought three of them from the bulk section...as a trial. I now buy a minimum of 2lbs!
I make date balls, "granola", carmel sauce, sweeten smoothies and the list goes on! I will admit, they do look intimidating but they are extremely yummy!! Trust me!
The date balls are the fan favorite in our house...my boys on average eat 4 a day. My husband loves them...the teenager is not as adventurous so she still has yet to try them! haha! I love them and will eat them as a snack, put them in my smoothie bowls or on a hummus plate. I use a food processor to make these...if you do not have one I highly suggest investing in one! I (my husband) spent less than $40 for our food processor that we ordered from Amazon.
Here's the thing when I cook...I never measure EVER! When I bake, I DO follow instructions and measurements but with regular food I don't bother. While I can give you the ingredients I use and what to look for on how it should look or feel I can't give you an exact measurement.
Oats (I use Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Old Fashioned)
Dates (I use Organic from Whole Foods--I have tried Trader Joes, Costco and Fresh Thyme but I like the one organic ones from Whole Foods the best)
Chia Seeds (these little seeds are amaaaaazing! protein, omegas, fiber..you naaaame it! lol!)
Cacao nibs (chocolate in it's healthiest form--they are bitter by themselves but they bring a burst of energy when combined in this mixture)
Flax (ground flaxseeds or flax meal--big bag from Costco will last MONTHS. Packed with omegas)
Raw Pumpkin seeds (need magnesium? No problem! Pumpkin seeds have tons of benefits and you can use them in or on anything)
*Cinnamon (I don't use it all of them time but cinnamon is such a diverse and beneficial spice)
Directions: I pulse the oats, cacao, chia, flax and pumpkin seeds (cinnamon if using) until the mixture is all ground down and mixed together.
Next, be sure you have pitted the dates. Add dates. I make large batches so I use close to 10 dates, sometimes more.
Blend the oat mixture and dates until the mixture sticks together and is thick enough to make a ball and not stick to your hands. If the mixture is still crumbly, add more dates. It is best to start with a few dates and add as you go.
Roll them into balls and place them on a flat sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the freezer for 5-7 minutes to set.
They're ready to eat!! I like them cold...but you may like them room temperature, whatever works for you!
DO keep them in a sealed container and in the refrigerator so that they last!
Thanks for hangin out with me as I rambled through that...haha! Enjoy!