Kingdom Date Truffles

Makes 20 ridiculously amazing truffles

I had the good fortune of getting my hands on some Kingdom Dates, which just means they came from their original home.  The Date Palm Tree is native to Saudi Arabia and dates back over 10,000 years.  This little wonder has stuck around for good reason.  Nowadays, most of the dates we get are grown in California.  Not exactly local for us on the East Coast, but we can make an exception.  Especially for yummy, whole food sweetness like this.  (There are a variety of dates though these were the ubiquitous Medjool dates as they were soft and semi-dry.)

Dates are sweet.  Make no mistake about it.  They are my preferred sweetener actually.  I use them in my smoothies and in baked goods and the sweetness is real, not sugary.  Because they are so sweet by nature, they aren’t suitable for those with diabetes (even pre-diabetics are advised against them) or cancer.  That’s the bad news…sorry!  Now for the good news.

There is an abundance of dietary fiber in dates, which means a healthy gut and colon.  Dates are a good source of Vitamin A as well as other anti-oxidants.  Bye-bye free radicals!  It’s also got great cancer fighting properties, particularly against colon, prostate, breast and pancreatic cancers.¹  Sugars in Libyan dates were shown to have some anti-tumor properties while another sugar, beta-D-glucan slows the absorption of glucose.²  Dates are also a good source of iron, potassium, copper and calcium.  Not bad for a little morsel of sweetness.

This is a great dessert especially for these summer months since there’s no baking involved.  It’s also gluten-free and vegan (don’t tell your non-gluten-free/non-vegan friends) so everyone at the party can enjoy and share in the date joy.

You’ll need:

2 C pitted dates, roughly chopped

1/4 C cacao powder

1 T ground flaxseeds

1/4 C unsweetened shredded coconut, separated

1 T coconut oil (+ more for rolling truffles)

1/4 t cinnamon

1/2 t vanilla extract (optional)

For coating:

1/4 C unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 C hazelnut meal (or crushed hazelnuts)

1/4 C sesame seeds

To make:

1.  Place all the ingredients in a food processor and begin to process.  It will be noisy and tough to break up the dates, so it’ll take some time.  Add 1 T of water at a time to help loosen it up, but do so slowly so the mixture doesn’t get too wet or sticky.  If it does (it happened to me), add more coconut and a touch more cacao powder.

2. Refrigerate mixture for 20 minutes or so before rolling into little truffles.

3. Put some coconut oil on your hands before rolling.  Measure about a scant T and roll away.  I ended up with 20 exactly…kind of lucky I think, but of course it’ll depend on how large or small you roll them.

4. Coat the truffles in your desired coating or mix and match.  Then refrigerate for about 30 minutes or longer.  Just let them sit at room temp for a few minutes before serving.

5. Enjoy!  I know you will!

¹http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/dates.html

²Rebecca Katz, The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen

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