The holidays are just bursting with dangerous goodies that taste fabulous but really offer little nutritional value. I listen in awe to my mother’s stories of her childhood: “Blanche, chocolate was a luxurious rarity, so we often snacked on dates for dessert.” I realized she was on to something. When I just want some chocolate without any guilt I make these almond date “truffles,” which satisfy my craving with just a hint of cocoa. An old Arabic legend tells of the date palm’s creation: “After God had finished molding man from earth; He took the remaining material and shaped it into a date palm which he placed in the garden of paradise.” Besides its beauty, the date palm had vital importance in the pre- modern economy of the Arab worlds, and has been eaten and enjoyed by man for over 7000 years. Fast forward to today, and people of the Middle East eat dates by themselves with Arabic coffee to take an edge off the bitterness. Arabs also drink the syrup pressed from dates and use the fruit in a variety of desserts.
Date Almond Truffles are my modern interpretation of this ancient treat. I give these date balls to my kids whenever they ask for chocolate, and they love it, saying they taste like “little smooth rounds of brownie batter.” Dates are also a great source or magnesium, potassium, and fiber so they pack a nutritional punch alongside their deliciousness. Throw in the almond butter and you also reap the nutritional benefits of vitamin E, protein and more fiber.I like to pop one of these in my mouth before an intense workout for energy, or put a couple in my purse before hitting the festive parties. They are my portable desserts that prevent me from diving face first into the chocolate fondue! Here is my video tutorial for how to make this easy confection: