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Eliminating Processed Sugars
These Cacao Date Bites were born out of a desire for a healthy treat that I wouldn’t feel guilty indulging in. One of my biggest food weaknesses has always been my sweet tooth. If I’m honest I’ve never been able to cut sugar out of my diet completely, and certainly not for long. However I recently decided to embark on a sugar cleanse as a reset. I also wanted to see if eliminating processed sugars would solve a few health issues I’ve been troubled by lately. I decided to cut out all processed sugars for one month. This meant that I could still have sugar from natural sources like honey, maple syrup, dates, other fruits, etc. I decided that I would allow myself one “healthy” treat a day. “Healthy” meaning it only contains sugars from one of these natural unprocessed sources. Enter these Cacao Date bites!
I discovered a similar snack at Sprouts that I found surprisingly tasty. So I set out to see if I could replicate them at home. The answer? Yes! These Cacao Date Bites are actually really easy to whip up if you have a food processor. Unfortunately, I’m not sure you could get the right consistency without one, since you need to blend the mixture until it comes together in a ball, and it’s pretty stiff and sticky!
Critical Tool – The Food Processor
If you are in the market to purchase a food processor, I’ve been really happy with my 13-cup “Elemental” Cuisinart model. Mine has both large (13 cup) and small (4.5 cup) bowls. It also includes a few different attachments like a slicer, dicer, and grater, but I mostly use the steel chopping blades. I have however been glad for both bowl sizes and would recommend that option if available. The smaller bowl can be really helpful if you need to blend a small amount really well, as with these Cacao Date Bites. I’ve found that small volumes don’t blend as efficiently in the large bowl. I also find this true for making hummus with a single can of chickpeas. But I digress…
These date bites take a few minutes to come together. At first it will look like the food processor is just chopping the dates into dry little pieces and it looks nothing like a mixture you will be able to roll into balls. It will work though, I promise! Just keep running the food processor on high, and within a few minutes the mixture will come together into a big ball. You may want to keep one hand on the base of the food processor because when it finally forms the ball it gets side-heavy really quickly and the processor may try to jump on the counter. I’m including a couple pictures here of the process so you know what to expect:
Nutrition In These Date Bites
The other great thing about these Cacao Date Bites, aside from the fact that they contain no processed sugars, is, well, the cacao powder. Cacao is just a less processed cocoa powder, made from the raw unrefined beans. Cocoa on the other hand is made from roasted beans. The roasting “enhances” the flavor, but also affects the nutrients included in the final product. Since cacao powder is less processed, it has a higher nutrient content. Most notably you will find the following nutrients in cacao powder.
- Flavanols (naturally occurring antioxidants)
So using cacao in these date bites gives them an extra nutrient boost while also adding the chocolaty flavor I was craving!
If you are looking for another healthy treat to make with medjool dates, try these Date Nut Energy Bars below!
Give These Date Bites A Try!
I hope you give these Cacao Date Bites a try soon. If you’re looking to cut back on sweets, or eliminate processed sugars, these are a great healthy treat to have in your recipe arsenal. They will help you to keep that sweet tooth in check, or satisfy that chocolate craving, all without cheating 🙂 As a bonus these Cacao Date Bites are also Whole 30 and Paleo approved! So what are you waiting for? It’s time to pull out that food processor and get to blending!
- Parchment paper
- Quarter sheet pan (or large plate)
- 1 cup medjool dates (pits removed, about 200g)
- 2 tbsp cacao powder (sifted)
- ¼ cup chopped nuts or shredded coconut (optional)
- pinch salt (optional)
- Place a piece of parchment paper on a plate or small cookie sheet and set aside.
- If you want your cacao date bites coated in nuts or coconut: chop the nuts first in the food processor, or pull out the shredded coconut, and transfer to the small mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Place the pitted dates into a small food processor (I use the small 4.5 cup bowl of my Cuisinart).
- Sift the cacao powder into the bowl of the food processor.
- Add a pinch of salt.
- Run the food processor on high until the mixture comes together into a ball – this may take a couple minutes!
- Once you have a sticky ball, pinch off bite-sized pieces (1/2 oz makes a good bite size) and roll into balls.
- Roll the balls in the bowl of chopped nuts or coconut and set on the parchment lined plate/cookie sheet.
- You can eat these right away, but I prefer them after they harden up for a few hours in the fridge.
- Store in the fridge for firm consistency, or at room temperature if preferred, for up to 2 weeks.
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