Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Date and Caramel Balls (Truffles)

Update: I was recently enjoying this article on the 11 Health Benefits of Dates by JenReviews - inspired me to make this recipe again!

Date and Caramel Balls (Truffles)

400g bag of Dates (pitted )
2 packets Tennis Biscuits
One 3rd of a block of salted butter
200g bag of shredded coconut
1 tin Caramel Treat

You will need:
Two deep bowls
Baking tray
Mixed/blender with an S blade
A plate for coconut rolling
Space in your fridge
Clean hands

Date Balls
  1. Divide the pitted dates into 3.
  2. Divide the stick butter into half, put half aside for the caramel balls and divide the remaining butter into 3.
  3. Group your dates and butter into 3 piles.
  4. Keep the biscuits aside.
  5. Using the blender – whizz up the dates and butter in three lots. Adding each processed lot to the first mixing bowl. The consistency should be mildly lumpy but glistening and smooth (the butter will do this)
  6. Once all 3 lots of date/butter paste are done, add half a tin of Caramel Treat and mix in well.
  7. Place the biscuits into the blender and whizz until fine crumbs (I did this in 3 as well, as my Kenwood Triblade Hand Blender is small) add to the date/butter/caramel mixture and fold in with a spatula until all is sticky resembling cookie dough. Use your hands if you must – finger tips only – to get the dough uniform throughout.
  8. Using your clean hands, scoop out teaspoonfuls of the dough and roll in your palm. (You may need to wash your hands after a while because they will get sticky and stop the balls from rolling nicely.)
  9. Roll each ball on a plate that has coconut shavings sprinkled liberally on it. Place each rolled, coated date ball onto the baking tray.
(Makes 50 medium mouth-sized date balls)

Caramel Balls
  1. Remember to keep aside a liberally sprinkled plate of shredded coconut for coating the caramel balls.
  2. Pour the remainder of the bag of shredded coconut into the second mixing bowl.
  3. Add the remaining half of the stick of butter.
  4. Add the remaining half of the tin of Carmel Treat.
  5. Whizz half a packet of Tennis Biscuits in the blender until fine crumbs, and add to the mixture.
  6. Using the spatula – get the mixture to a wet and crumbling evenly blended dough.
  7. Using your clean hands, scoop out teaspoonfuls of the dough and roll in your palm.
  8. Roll each ball on a plate that has coconut shavings sprinkled liberally on it. Place each rolled, coated caramel ball onto the baking tray.
(Makes 30 medium mouth-sized caramel balls)

Once you have made all of the balls – Put them all together in a sealable fridge tub (Clip Lock/Tupperware/Addis etc) the beauty of this treat is that they are mixed together.

It looks beautiful and the flavours combine very well, my only problem was stopping my Husband and myself from eating them as I made them!

You could also soak your dates for an hour in your favourite liqueur – Amarula Cream or Sherry comes to mind. An alternative to using butter would be to use Coconut oil, which you can buy from Crede oils online (I have met the team from Crede Oils - they are amazing!) You could even add their Cashew nut butter to the mix. If you don’t like sugar but would prefer raw unrefined sugars there are many alternatives out there worth researching. Agave syrup is one option. If you are striving for a wheat free recipe – just substitute the Bakers Tennis Biscuits for any wheat free alternative. Just remember though – you may have to add some form of liquid if you use rye or rice biscuits as they tend to soak up moisture. I would not recommend using any form of potato starch with this recipe. Potato flour tends to go very gluey… You could add some chopped chocolate or chopped smarties to the Caramel Balls if you were so inclined – it would be a great idea to push a short bamboo skewer into them, dip them in melted chocolate and roll them in 100’s & 1000’s for a kids party as well!

Dates are a great source of energy and the health benefits of Coconut are also worth thinking about. The volume of balls created means that the Caramel Treat is spread out so the amount of actual sugar per ball is not high. Overindulging would end that idea though! But, the balls are very rich so it would be hard to overdo it without feeling ill!

For breastfeeding Mums - Date balls are fantastic for topping up energy levels and provide a source of nutrients while nursing.

These would be just perfect served next to a cappuccino or tea, or served on a pudding platter with other small deserts, the key is to have a few here and there.

And of course, don’t forget to cry into the empty bowl when they are finished.

You’re welcome.

Sandy Bigara

The Date Dough

My Kenwood fitted with a S blade

Try not to eat them as you make them... 

The mixed Date and Caramel Balls

Guess who was peeking into the bowl... ;) 

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