We learned a new term today! Phoenix dactylifera, which means date-bearing palm (Phoenix = genus being palm and dactylifera = species being dates). Essentially, it’s the tree from which dates are grown.
Over time, we have come to appreciate the date more and more, especially for its natural sweetness and versatility. As kids of a Mediterranean background, dates are pretty common for us to eat. However, it has mostly been eaten as they are. Never had we really pursued using them as an actual ingredient in a dish. Well, surprise, surprise! We’re using them now.
We’ve had dates as a spread for vegan croissants (Thanks, Blossom Bakery). We’ve had dates pureed into a dressing. Mac even enjoyed them cooked in a tagine, which was quite good! Cookies and breads were savored with date-liciousness. BUT, we never actually made anything with dates ourselves.
So, last week, Macaroon had to make some bite-sized treats (vegan, of course) for a conference at work. Between work and grad school, she was second-guessing why she had volunteered to bake anything. She scoured the “Internets,” to see what she could do. She thought about truffles. Right away, up popped a flurry of recipes for raw, vegan, date truffles. All she had to do was get dates and unsweetened cocoa. Everything else would be good to go.
Date & Cocoa Truffles
And, it was! Throwing the ingredients into our trusty Vitamix and then rolling the truffles by hand was easy-peasy. Granted, she had to make 3 batches, but no worries. Artie came to the rescue!
Half of the truffles were rolled in graham crackers crumbs (not making them totally raw anymore), while the rest were rolled in coconut. The end result was delicious and naturally sweet with a subtle hint of boozy comfort thanks to the vanilla (She only used 1tsp per batch, rather than the 1-2 Tbsp option in the recipe). Artie liked them so much that he hoped Mac brought some home. But alas, there were none.
Yesterday, Mac went to a friend’s St. Patrick’s Day lunch, offering to bring something vegan. She went for date truffles. However, since it was St. Patrick’s Day, she wanted to stick with friend’s theme. She found a cool vegan recipe for “Raw Thin Mint Brownies” from Chocolate Covered Katie’s blog
which used dates instead of your traditional brownie ingredients. So, Mac decided to go the truffle route again.
Thin Mint Brownie Truffles
She modified the recipe by leaving out the walnuts and replacing them with crushed oreos (12 mini oreos per batch – again not making them truly raw). Because the date mixture was pliable, Mac was able to hand-roll them into truffles making about 8 per batch. They were lightly tossed in graham crackers crumbs. Artie played taste tester and wanted a whole batch by himself. He kept sneaking samples of the puree mixture, like it was cake batter!
We both liked how they turned out. Guests at Mac’s friend’s party seemed to enjoy them too. Next time, Mac said she think she’ll dipped them in chocolate to see how well they hold up.
Who knew making no-bake treats with dates would be so fun and taste so great. Certainly, we’ll be doing this more often. That’ll bring a big smile to Artichoke’s face