Call them Date Balls. Peanut Butter Balls.
Toddler-Meltdown-Prevention-Insurance. Whatever you nickname them, this simple combination of dried fruit and nuts is protein packed, sweet, portable, and yummy. And so easy to make, you'll never buy a packaged snack bar again.
We took some to the beach on Monday. But Lupine is prone to dropping them on the sandy blanket. And I am
prone to picking up her dropped bits of food and absentmindedly popping
it into my mouth. Those were no longer Date Balls – those were Sand Balls.
It's a mistake you only make once. Consider yourself warned.
So here is a recipe for you. (No sand included.) Flavor combination ideas are at the bottom of the post.
Homemade Date Balls
1/3 C nuts
1/2 C dates
1/3 C nut butter
1/4 C additional goodies (coconut, other dried fruit, carob chips, etc.)
Place nuts in food processor and turn on. (It's painfully loud. Your daughter will cover her ears. Mine does anyway.) When they look like the photo below they are plenty chopped. Transfer to a bowl.
(If you choose cashews or peanuts your nut powder will be oilier than the Brazil nuts shown below. That's okay. Just go for finely chopped, just this side of becoming nut butter.)
Repeat ear covering noisy chopping with dates. Do pit them before you chop or it will be regrettable. Chop until they look at least this chopped. More chopping will yield a big sticky ball of dates which is fine too.
Return the nuts to the food processor with the dates and continue chopping until the mixture is uniform. Add nut butter. Turn on machine and process for a minute until it is well combined. If it sticks to the side of the food processor turn it off, open and move it around a bit with a spoon. Then have at it again. It should look similar to the photo below.
Add your additional mix-ins now, and briefly run food processor to combine and chop a bit.
This is the best part for my kids (perhaps because I have finally shut off that painfully loud food processor, but likely because it is so tactile.) Taking approximately 1 Tb. pinches of the "dough", roll into balls with clean hands. Alternatively you can make "cookies" by pressing the balls flat, or or bars by pressing into a small rectangular glass pan and cutting with a spatula.
We drop these into a mason jar or bento box and away we go!
Favorite flavors around here are:
Peanut Butter Cookie (dates, hazelnuts or Brazil nuts, peanut butter, and optional chocolate chips)
Cherry Pecan (dates, pecans, almond butter and dried tart cherries)
Chili Chocolate (dates, almond butter, almonds, a pinch of chili powder and 2 tsp cocoa powder)
Cashew Goji (dates, cashew butter, cashews, and goji berries rolled in coconut)
What combinations can you dream up?
17 thoughts on “Homemade Date Balls.”
We get something like these at our local co-op…only they look like they’ve been pushed through an extruder/pasta maker and coated in oat flour so they don’t stick. Jack loves them! I am excited that I can make them at home now…
Those are dates only and you can use them in place of the whole dates in a pinch. Just throw them in with the chopped nuts and proceed…
Oh man- I am so buying dates at the store and trying these! I have some dried blueberries and coconut that i need to use up…hmm…
Trader Joe’s has those coconutted dates, too — and filled with almonds, I think.
Anyone who’s bought even just one Larabar should see this method!
I too, am thinking of almonds and coconut! These look delicious.
Let me know how these taste, Caitlin. Ive never tried blueberry!
Almonds and coconut is always good…
Thank you, thank you!! How did you know I was just looking for this recipe?
Awesome! Let me know how they turn out!
I dont have any dates, do you think I could use sultanas and dried apricots?
You can, but the dates add a super sticky factor. You might need to up the nut butter or add a wee bit of honey. Let me know how they turn out!
We made them this morning with the apricots and sultanas, you were right they needed a bit more stickiness so we added a Tbs of honey. My daughter and I rolled them up and covered them in coconut and my son ate them as quick as we could roll them. Big hit, thank you. Oh Jasmine covered her ears and growled at me when I turned the processor on, must be a girl thing 🙂
Glad they turned out! Use what youve got, I say. I got a chuckle out of your daughter. I was vacuuming when you sent that, much to the chagrin of my daughter and my dog.
I just made these after thinking about it for two months. They are so delicious. If you don’t mind I want to but a link to your post on my blog. Thanks so much for the recipe.
Link away, KC! Glad you enjoyed them.
I just made this. Thank you so much for the tutorial. I bookmarked the recipe years ago but I was delaying it because I thought they took more time but I was so wrong. So delicious and easy. Wow. Is it ok if I post a link to your post in my blog along with a translation in Spanish so my family and friends in Mexico can try them too?
Of course! The more the merrier. 🙂 Enjoy, Rachel