Friday, September 10, 2010

Date Balls with Toasted Coconut

This is my interpretation of my good friend Jessica Prentice's recipe, from her book Full Moon Feast ~ truly one of the most influential books of my life.
These date balls are delicious ~ sweet enough for my sweet-toothed toddler to ask for more, but not too sweet for Mommy to eat, or feel bad about giving to Baby. They are yummy and satisfying ~ the perfect nourishing snack with plenty of good fat. And so simple to make.
The main ingredient is coconut butter, which usually can be found in the Raw section of natural foods stores. When I first discovered this magical substance (similar to almond butter only made out of coconut meat...!), I hid it in the back of the cabinet and ate the whole jar, spoonful-by-spoonful! It is so rich, creamy, and flavorful.

(yes; i label containers. with hearts..)

Date Balls with Toasted Coconut
16 small dates, pitted (maybe 10+ Medjools)
1 cup coconut butter, softened
1/4 tsp sea salt
1.5 tbsp butter and
1.5 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted, then ground in a coffee mill

It's easier to use the coconut butter if you first warm it by placing the jar in a pot with a few inches of water and heating it on low for a while. So do that first. Pit dates and pulse in a food processor a few spins. Then add the softened coconut butter and sea salt. Melt the fats and pour them in while the processor is running. Toast the coconut flakes in a dry skillet on low heat, stirring often, till they are golden brown. Then pulse them a few times in a clean coffee/spice grinder. This helps the texture of the date balls. Gradually add toasted flakes to the coconut date mixture until it is well blended and smooth.
I use a teaspoon to measure out the balls ~ this is a perfect toddler-sized portion. I roll them in my hands a few times until they are relatively round, and place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. I slide this into the freezer for a little bit (maybe an hour) to get them firm, then spatula the date balls off the sheet into a pint jar. Keep them refrigerated, as they will soften if left out (or in a toddler's fist too long).

These are a wholesome treat for all ages.
I won't tell if you don't share any with a toddler. ;-)

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