Saturday, March 10, 2012

Honey Almond Date Balls

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
I love dates. And I don't mean the meeting someone and having dinner with them type of dates. I meant dates as in the sweet edible fruit of a date palm. I typically use dates to make Food for the Gods, a brownie type of treat that is very common back home. A favorite of my nephew and nieces, I make a ton of these whenever I visit them in Illinois. I'm just glad that dates seem to have reached a certain level of popularity here in the US that they are not as expensive as they used to be. I have actually found myself using them more where raisins were originally called for since they offer a lot more texture once baked. The sugary coating, upon baking, turns into a golden caramelized chewy texture and is just delicious.

This recipe from Dave Lieberman enhances the sweetness of the dates by adding another layer of sweetness using honey. To balance this, roasted chopped almonds are added giving it a nutty flavor. Perfect for picnics or as a simple dessert after dinner, this no-bake treat is just wonderful with tea or coffee. The recipe uses Medjool dates which originally came from Morocco and are considered to be the best of them all. It can be quite expensive so if you find a cheaper brand, go for it. You can adjust the amount of honey to achieve the right texture especially when you use the cheaper dates. I also suggest that you do away with using a food processor. The thickness of the mixture will just kill it.

Honey Almond Date Balls - Adapted*

1/2 lb raw almonds, chopped coarsely
2 pints pitted dates, about 3 cups
1/4-1/2 cup honey

1. Heat a large skillet on medium low heat and toast the chopped almonds
    until fragrant and slightly golden. Do not burn. Set aside.

2. Chop the dates finely with a cleaver. Add half the almonds and 1/4 cup
    of the honey and mix. If the mixture does not come together, add more

3. To make the date balls, grease your palms with canola oil and form the
    date balls into 1 inch rounds. Roll the balls in the remaining almonds and
    do the same for the rest.

4. Keep in a tight container at room temperature for a few days. Store in
    the fridge to store longer.

*Lieberman, Dave: Good Deal with Dave Lieberman, Food Network Channels; Easy on the Pocket Picnic episode.

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