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Date Balls with Walnuts and Coconut

Easy, no bake Date Balls are soft, not too sweet and utter­ly deli­cious. The wal­nut crunch is a tasty tex­tur­al con­trast to the creamy date cen­ters. They’re lit­tle gluten free and dairy free bites of happiness!

Date Balls in a vintage cookie tin on a concrete countertop
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My date balls recipe is a spin on the Date Nut Jam I use to fill one of my favorite pin­wheel Christ­mas cook­ies, Filled Date Cookies.

The idea for these sim­ple date coconut balls start­ed form­ing as I flipped through a vin­tage cook­book look­ing for a new cook­ie recipe. One called Pan­do­ra’s Skil­let Cook­ies caught my eye. 

date balls on a white plate sitting ona pewter charger

It was for a type of no bake date ball cook­ie, but it called for eggs. I did­n’t real­ly want to mess with try­ing to keep eggs from cur­dling in hot no bakes, but I did like the idea of the crisp rice cere­al they used as a binder. That’s not some­thing I had tried before. 

So, I decide to take my Date Wal­nut Jam and use crisp rice cere­al to bind it into balls. And then roll the Date Ball Cook­ies in coconut. It worked! And deli­cious­ly, I might add.

The Ingredients

Date Ball Ingredients - walnuts, chopped dates and sugar in a pan
  • Med­jool Dates, pit­ted and chopped
  • Wal­nuts, chopped
  • Gran­u­lat­ed Sugar
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Crisp Rice Cereal
  • Coconut Flakes (shred­ded coconut)

What Are Medjool Dates?

I love dates and using them for sweet­en­ing desserts. As a mat­ter of fact, I make a car­rot cake with zero refined sug­ar and zero grain that you would walk for days to get a bite of. Dates are the only sweet­en­er and it’s phe­nom­e­nal. (Hmmm … I keep for­get­ting to make that cake for the blog.)

Dates are def­i­nite­ly an under­rat­ed ingre­di­ent. They have a deep, rich caramel fla­vor and when you pair them with nuts, it real­ly is some­thing to cel­e­brate!  This scrump­tious date ball recipe is a per­fect example.

whole medjool dates

Med­jool Dates (pro­nounced muh·jool), (may be spelled Majhūl, Med­joul or Majhool) are my very favorite vari­ety. Espe­cial­ly for bak­ing. They are larg­er, soft­er and sweet­er than oth­er vari­eties of dates. And, Med­jool dates have a killer caramel-like tex­ture that no oth­er date comes close to.

Med­jool Dates are a stone fruit with one pit in the cen­ter. They are known as “the fruit of kings” and when you taste one, you’ll know why. They grow on date palm trees and are native to Moroc­co. But, they are now grown in the Unit­ed States, Israel, Pales­tine, Iran, Sau­di Ara­bia, South Africa, and Jordan. 

A word of cau­tion: Don’t buy pre-chopped dates as they have been coat­ed to pre­vent them from stick­ing togeth­er. They will not “melt” and cook down as the recipe requires. Choose SOFT, moist Med­jool dates, not one of the dri­er vari­eties. The dates should feel fleshy, soft and plump.

date balls on a white plate sitting ona pewter charger

Are Dates Healthy?

As a sug­ar alter­na­tive, dates are sim­ply an unprocessed and deli­cious alter­na­tive to refined sug­ar. Your body is still going to react to sug­ar, (no mat­ter the form), as sug­ar. Overindul­gence can have all the same prob­lems, so as always mod­er­a­tion is the key.

How­ev­er, dates have so many nutri­tion­al ben­e­fits that refined sug­ar sim­ply doesn’t. Mean­ing your sweet treat date balls have some healthy prop­er­ties, too. 🙂

medjool dates, whole, pitted and chopped

Dates are a good source of sele­ni­um, mag­ne­sium, potas­si­um, cal­ci­um and copper. 

Med­jool dates are high in fiber and help you feel full longer. Stud­ies have shown them to be use­ful to stim­u­late the immune sys­tem, reduce inflam­ma­tion and improve hor­mone regulation. 

They have even been shown to have health ben­e­fits for the heart, for diges­tion, the ner­vous sys­tem and metab­o­lism. To learn more about the ben­e­fits of eat­ing dates, I found this arti­cle at Web­MD to be very informative.

FAQs About Date Balls

How long will Date Balls with Coconut and Wal­nuts keep?

Stored in an air­tight con­tain­er in the refrig­er­a­tor, your date ball cook­ies should keep up to 7 days. Use a lay­er of parch­ment or wax paper in between each lay­er to pre­vent them stick­ing together.

Can this Date Ball recipe be frozen?

Yes. Flash freeze the date balls on a rimmed bak­ing sheet. That means line them up on your bak­ing sheet and place the whole thing in the freez­er for about 1 hour until the date balls are frozen sol­id. Then you can remove them from the bak­ing sheet and store them in zip-top freez­er bags with­out them stick­ing together.

Pro Tips for Storing Walnuts

black walnut meats in a heap on a concrete counter top

Wal­nuts, and any oth­er nut real­ly, need to be stored some­where cool and dark. Because of their high oil con­tent, nuts can become ran­cid in warm con­di­tions and when exposed to bright light and oxygen.

For the most fla­vor­ful and fresh tast­ing wal­nuts, store them in air­tight jars or bags in the fridge or freez­er. In the refrig­er­a­tor, wal­nuts will keep for up to 6 months. And, nuts can last up to a year in the freezer.

Give cold or frozen nuts a chance to come to room tem­per­a­ture before open­ing the con­tain­er. That helps pre­vent them from absorb­ing excess moisture.

When stor­ing the nuts, (and there­fore your yum­my Date Balls), in the fridge; avoid plac­ing them near foods with strong odors, like onions. Nuts can actu­al­ly absorb the smell and taste of things they are stored with.

finished date balls on a baking sheet ready to be frozen or chilled

Can I Make the Date Ball Recipe Nut Free?

You sure can. Make the Date Jam with­out the wal­nuts. Add the crisp rice cere­al and test the con­sis­ten­cy. If you can scoop it into a soft, cohe­sive ball and roll it in coconut, you’re gold­en. If it’s too soft, add more crisp rice cere­al, 1/2 cup at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

Variations and Substitutions

Date Balls with Coconut have lots of pos­si­ble variations.

  • Sub­sti­tute the wal­nuts with any oth­er nuts or seeds that you like. Pecans are espe­cial­ly deli­cious with dates.
  • Roll the balls in fine­ly chopped nuts, instead of coconut.
  • Use oat­meal as the recipe binder in your date balls, instead of crisp rice cereal.
  • Add cit­rus bright­ness to your carame­ly deli­cious date balls. Zest a large orange and then juice it. Place the juice in a mea­sur­ing cup and add enough water to bring it to 1 1/2 cups. Mix in the orange zest and use that mix­ture in place of the water, in the recipe.
  • Add warm­ing spices to the jam mix­ture when you cook it. Choose from your favorites like cin­na­mon, gin­ger, all­spice, nut­meg or cloves. Start with small amounts, 18 to 1/4 tea­spoon. You can always add more, if needed.
  • Use dif­fer­ent dried fruits or a com­bi­na­tion of sev­er­al, like dried apri­cots, cran­ber­ries or cherries.
date balls on a white plate sitting on a pewter charger

How to Make Date Balls

(How to Video in Recipe Card)

  1. Pit and chop the dates. Mea­sure and/or weigh the dates AFTER they have been pitted.
  2. Chop wal­nuts if not pur­chased pre-chopped.
  3. Place the pit­ted and chopped dates, chopped wal­nuts and sug­ar in a saucepan.
  4. Add the water and salt and stir to combine.
  5. Bring the mix­ture to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium.
  6. Cook for 5–10 min­utes, stir­ring occa­sion­al­ly to pre­vent sticking.
  7. When a thick­ened, soft jam has formed, remove the pan from the heat.
  8. Stir in the crisp rice cere­al. The mix­ture will be soft, but scoopable with a cook­ie dough scoop.
  9. Add coconut to a plate or bowl.
  10. Drop scoops of the date ball mix­ture into the coconut. 
  11. Roll to coat and then shape into round balls.
  12. Store Date Balls with Coconut and Wal­nuts in the fridge or freezer.
Date Balls in a vintage cookie tin on a concrete countertop

The Recipe

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Date Balls in a vintage cookie tin on a concrete countertop

Date Balls with Walnuts and Coconut


  • Author: Glen­da Embree
  • Total Time: 30 min­utes
  • Yield: 48 cook­ies 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Easy, no bake Date Balls are soft, not too sweet and utter­ly deli­cious. The wal­nut crunch is a tasty tex­tur­al con­trast to the creamy date cen­ters. They’re lit­tle gluten free and dairy free bites of happiness!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 3 1/2 cups (554 g) Med­jool dates, pit­ted and chopped
  • 3 cups chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 tea­spoon salt
  • 4 cups crisp rice cereal
  • 4 1/2 cups coconut flakes

Instructions

  1. Pit and chop the dates. Mea­sure and/or weigh the dates AFTER they have been pitted.
  2. Chop wal­nuts if not pur­chased pre-chopped.
  3. Place the pit­ted and chopped dates, chopped wal­nuts and sug­ar in a saucepan.
  4. Add the water and salt and stir to combine.
  5. Bring the mix­ture to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low.
  6. Cook for 5–10 min­utes, stir­ring occa­sion­al­ly to pre­vent sticking.
  7. Remove the pan from the heat when a thick­ened, soft jam has formed.
  8. Stir in the crisp rice cere­al. The mix­ture will be soft, but scoopable with a cook­ie dough scoop.
  9. Add coconut to a plate or bowl.
  10. Drop scoops of the date ball mix­ture into the coconut.
  11. Roll to coat and then shape into round balls.
  12. Store Date Balls with Coconut and Wal­nuts in the fridge or freezer.
  • Prep Time: 25 min­utes
  • Cook Time: 5 min­utes
  • Cat­e­go­ry: Cook­ies, Dessert, Snack
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cui­sine: Amer­i­can

20 thoughts on “Date Balls with Walnuts and Coconut”

  1. These were per­fect, just like the ones my mum used to buy for me as a treat from the store when I was little!

    Reply
  2. I loooooove dates and these are for whip­ping up a giant batch of del­ish cook­ies. These don’t stay in the house for long, that’s for sure!

    Reply

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