Nourishment : : Homemade Date Balls

I made oodles of these for our trip north this weekend and I thought to share this post with you again in case you missed it the first time or haven't yet made your first batch. This is a re-post from last year.

Call them Date Balls. Peanut Butter Balls. I-don't-want-to-pay-for-a-lara-bar-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?

11 thoughts on “Nourishment : : Homemade Date Balls

  1. KC says:

    I love love love these! The first time I read this post I thought, mmm yum. Then I made them and I never looked back. It’s a great and safe way to get my toddler to eat more nut protein. I make a batch of these once a week to have a healthy snack. They’ve been great during this second pregnancy as a way to have a healthy sweet salty treat. No need for chocolate with these! Thanks so much for the recipe!

  2. Sarah G. says:

    I love making these…I add my allergy-friendly chocolate chips and roll them in raw cacao when I “need” something really, really chocolatey.

  3. Morgan says:

    I have just a wee little food processor… do you suppose these would work in a blender? My blender leans on the side of fancy, being a blendtec… thoughts?

  4. Esther says:

    these sound wonderful! I’ve recently started eating more whole foods, less processed, added sugark, etc. I’ll have to try this for my sweet treat. BTW, first time on your site, found it “surfing”…really like it!

  5. Nina says:

    I just made these for a potluck and they were a huge hit, not to mention easy to make, easy to clean up, and good for you! Thanks for another great recipe Rachel. 🙂

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