Monday, September 5, 2016

Gluten-Free, Vegetarian Recipe: Cinnamony Coconutty Walnut Date Balls

Some moons ago, a former coworker of mine who lies awake at night fretting and generally being overly concerned about how I get by with such an impossibly restrictive diet in (probably) one of the worst possible countries for such people was kind enough to bring me some preserved dates from her distant and exotic homeland of Bahrain.

She recommended having them with walnuts, and I, not realising how sugary they were, went for these flavoured ones you can get for a couple dollars a packet in certain convenience stores. The cocoa ones were a bit too sweet, and coupled with the dates, the maple ones nearly put me into a diabetic coma.

Realising I had no experience with these saccharine lumps of tastiness when I mentioned these pairings, she explained that she usually rolls them into balls with crushed (plain) walnuts and sprinkles them with cinnamon. Had I Googled beforehand, I would have found out that these have actually become pretty popular as vegan energy balls or bites, and that people usually add other things like coconut and vanilla.

I know, not the prettiest thing I've ever seen, either, but this was my first attempt, 
and she was right about this combination being a winner!

Attempt #2 at this was much more successful; so successful, in fact, that I'm going to make another batch, because the result was delicious.

To make these, you'll need:

~1/3 of a 7 oz. packet of creamed coconut
~ 170 grams of walnuts (maybe around two cups?)
A tablespoon and a half of chia seeds
~15 or one cup of preserved dates
Cinnamon for sprinkling

First, use a food processor to pulse the walnuts and chia seeds together into a fluffy sort of dust.
Then carefully dice the sticky preserved dates, removing the pits as you go.
Use a fork to carefully mix these together with the oily creamed coconut and a dash of cinnamon in a bowl, combining as thoroughly as possible. The mixture should be a bit smushy and oily but not liquidy when you're finished. If there's too much liquid, add some more dates and walnut chia dust.

Roll spoonfuls of the mixture into balls with your hands, then toss more walnut chia dust onto the outside. Set aside on a plate or in a container; sprinkle cinnamon on top, and then place in the fridge to chill for at least an hour or two.


It was kind of tricky to get a good picture of the texture, but seriously, these are so amazing.