Dates are one of the best naturally sweet foods that you can eat. Eating 1-2 dates each day can help give you instant energy and make a good addition to a balanced diet. Dates offer a plethora of nutritional benefits: they act as laxative and help in relieving constipation and regulating intestinal function. The significant amount of minerals contained in dates help strengthen your bones and prevent osteoporosis. The high level of iron in dates makes it excellent food for those with anaemia, while combating fatigue and weakness as well.
Dates have a taste that closely resembles rich caramel or treacle, somewhat candy-like in nature. The texture is chewy, soft and sticky. They are sold both pitted as well as whole, with the seed left in. My personal favourite is the Medjool variety, which is of a dark chocolate colour, really soft, and generally sold pitted. If you can’t find that variety, use any you can find. I used commercially available dates; not sure what specific variety they were, and it made no difference to how delicious this was!
These chocolate-covered stuffed dates come together with just 4 ingredients, and are incredibly easy to make. They taste absolutely DIVINE! The slightly bitter dark chocolate outer cover is the perfect foil to the fudgy sweet dates, and the crunch from the almonds add another delicious dimension 😀 They are good to eat straight from the freezer, as dates maintain their softness and don’t really freeze up to rock-solid state.
Each stuffed date is packed with health due to the inherent nutritional benefits of the date and almond, naturally sweet, and covered with just enough chocolate to satisfy any cocoa cravings that you may have. Much better than reaching for that bar of chocolate or piece of brownie. The outer chocolate melts relatively quickly – especially in the temperatures of warm places like Chennai, so eat immediately once you take them out! Read on for the recipe 🙂
- Dates – 15 pieces whole, pitted (preferably Medjool, or any other you may like; I used Lion brand dates available here)
- Dark chocolate – One bar, 200gm (use any variety, I used a mix of two)
- Coconut oil– 1 tsp
- Almonds – 15 pieces (use raw or salted/roasted, based on what you like)
Take your dates in a separate bowl/plate. Use the whole ones that have a deep cavity. If not using the pitted variety, then remove the seed carefully, leaving the date whole with a cavity in the centre.
Take whole almonds (raw or roasted) in a plate/bowl.
Slightly open the date without fracturing it…
Put one whole almond in the centre and push it in..
Close up the date with the almond inside. Dates are usually sticky, so it will close well.
Repeat the process until you finish all of the dates. I did about 15-16 dates.
Melting the Chocolate:
We used dark chocolate of two types that we had lying in the freezer. I find that dark chocolate gives just the right hit of sweetness to this dish, without making the entire thing cloyingly sweet.
- Melt some dark chocolate over a double boiler (see notes on how to setup double boiler on stove-top).
- Add your 1 tsp of coconut oil. Allow chocolate to warm for about 30 seconds, then give a light stir. Mixture will be lumpy, thats fine.
- After another 30-40 secs, give it one more stir. Now all the chocolate must be melted.
- See the texture of melted chocolate in the spoon? That’s what it will look like, once fully melted – smooth and shiny, no lumps.
Coating the Dates in Chocolate:
- Using a spoon, dip the stuffed date in the chocolate
- Spoon some chocolate over it to cover completely
- Using another spoon, drain off the excess chocolate
- Transfer carefully to a plate
Allow some space between the dates so that they do not stick to each other. Sprinkle sea-salt at this stage, if you like that sort of thing. Put them in the freezer for about 30 minutes, or in the refrigerator compartment for about an hour.
Easy to follow pictorial instructions on how to setup a Double boiler from WikiHow:
TIPS & TWEAKS
- Feel free to vary the filling as per your preferences. Some suggestions include fresh grated coconut, desiccated coconut, crushed pistachios, macadamias and a mixture of different nuts.
- Alternatively, you could also stuff this with nut butters of different kinds – peanut butter, almond butter, hazelnut butter, etc. Go for the crunchy butters for an added textural dimension.
- Sprinkle sea salt on the dates for an added flavour explosion.
Do try this and let us know your comments below. Happy snacking! 😀