A week ago or so, we bought this giant tub of dates at Costco (everything at Costco comes in a giant tub.) and it’s sat in our fridge ever since, as we look at them daily and think, “Now what?” Well tonight, as Parker and I were looking for a way to pass the time together AND figure out what was for dessert, the answer came to me. Date balls!
Jess and my Mom have recently been working on designing and editing (respectively) this series of textbooks called Cultures of the World. Each book covers the culture of a specific country, including a section on food customs and recipes. One of these that they finished a few weeks ago was on Saudi Arabia, where they have a LOT of dates. Naturally, one of the recipes was for date balls. So tonight, in a stroke of genius, I pulled up Jess’s old design files for the Saudi Arabia book, found the recipe, and Parker and I got started.
We started with (can you guess?) dates.
We pitted and chopped up enough to fill a cup and a half.
Park used a plastic knife. Don’t freak out.
And of course, he had to taste them. This pleasant expression is just Parker with a face full of dates.
Then we chopped up a half cup of walnuts.
Followed by the dates, which (per the recipe) we added sugar to to prevent them from sticking to the blades and balling up.
They balled up anyway.
Then we had to toast the walnuts in some butter with some cardamom, brown sugar, and a little flour.
Parker was very eager to stir.
Once the flour was added, the mixture thickened up quite a bit.
At this point I worked the date paste into this mixture. And when I say “worked,” I mean it. I had to switch to a heavy wooden spoon and really put some strength into it. But it eventually came together.
I let the stuff cool a little, then began the fun part: rolling it into balls, and coating with sugar!
For all this, the recipe only made about 12 munchkin-sized balls.
They sure are tasty. And not ALL that much work. All-in-all, a lovely date night with Parker and I. (Ok, I know, trying too hard…)