We made a quick trip to Palm Springs after New Years in search of dry weather and a few rounds of golf that didn’t involve soaking wet greens and splattering mud, doesn’t that sound like fun? While we can play golf almost year round in Northern California, Southern California is really the place to be, if warmer weather and a dry golf course is your thing. The Coachella Valley is also the place to buy luscious sweet Medjool dates for a somewhat healthier answer to satisfying a dedicated sweet tooth like mine. One evening a few days into the trip my husband and I found ourselves at a large street fair in Palm Springs that included booth after booth of dried fruits and Medjool dates – finally I couldn’t take it anymore and picked up a large 2 pound package to call my very own souvenir of our trip to the desert. Scott, my husband bought his favorite souvenir, a Palm Spring Police department tee shirt and a bonus tee shirt score- a Palm Springs Mounted Police shirt complete with a helicopter and 911 on the back. We were two happy campers, Scott with his tee shirts and me with my large package of dates.
I wistfully remembered all the sweet date bars and bread recipes that I would have loved to try with my prize dates… but being that’s it’s January-the month of healthy eating I turned to a lighter alternative, (not that Medjool dates don’t pack quite a few calories(around 70! each). I decided to make a naturally sweet treat with some of my dates that might actually satisfy my sweet tooth with out having to include all the butter and sugar that go into date bars or sweet breads. I’m also crazy about the Mayan Cocoa powder from Savory Spice Shop. The ingredients in this unique cocoa are Dutch cocoa, chile peppers, cinnamon and vanilla powder, definitely worth ordering or picking up a small bag to try. I added a bit extra vanilla and cinnamon to my recipe but feel free to play around with the spices. The flavors, especially the slight spiciness from the chile powder will continue to develop after a few hours in the fridge.
Well it’s always good to come home after a trip to the Great Southland and now that I have my stash of date balls to satisfy my craving for sweets I think I’ll be alright when the ground is muddy, the skies are grey and the days are cold. Kinda alright.
- 12 Medjool Dates (internationaldatesrus.com)
- 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut, plus extra for rolling
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 2 tablespoons Mayan cocoa (SavorySpiceShop.com)
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract extract
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Generous pinch sea salt
- Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse for 2-3 minutes until the mixture forms a thick slightly chunky paste.
- Roll into balls, about 1&1/4" round
- Roll the balls in the extra coconut flakes.
- Store in fridge for up to several months-they won't last that long!
I’m linking my Mayan Cocoa-Coconut Date Bites to The Chocolate Party this month which is featuring coconut with all kinds of chocolate treats!