Let's talk about dates, and you know what kind I'm talking about. The sweet digestive kind that you don't need to look good for. I've been eating a lot of dates lately because they're a great snack when you need a little energy or are looking for something sweet (but not processed sugar sweet) to eat.
I often have two bowls on the coffee table - one with dates and the other with almonds - to munch on while watching a movie or when we're spending the evening watching some good television. Dates and almonds are the perfect pair because the nutty flavour and crunch of the almond nicely offsets the sweet soft bite of the date.
This recipe for coconut date balls came to me accidentally. I was thumbing through an old family cookbook, The American Vegetarian Cookbook: from the fit for life kitchen, looking for a classic vegetarian dish to make for dinner. Instead what I found was this confection: usually found in December because of its resemblance to snowballs. Colliding perfectly with my recent craze for dates, I decided to give it a try, adding almonds and vanilla extract to the mix. The result? A great snack to have on hand any time of the year. Keep them frozen or refrigerated in an airtight container.
Another one of my favorite energy boosting snacks that I like to make and have on hands are these homemade power spheres with dried apricots, apples, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.
Coconut Date Balls (makes 20)
1 cup dates, seed removed
1 cup roasted almonds
1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut + additional 1/4 cup for rolling
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place almonds in a food processor and proceed until fine. Slowly a dates, one at a time until it forms a paste. Add coconut and vanilla and pulse a few more times until blended.
Using your hands, roll dough into inch inch balls. Place in a bowl with the remainder shredded coconut and roll the balls around until covered in coconut.
Refrigerate or freeze.