There’s a great joke in an even greater movie, a classic work by an utterly influential artiste. Anyway, in the joke, this guy is talking to a girl he likes at a party and he lists off all these fantastic foreign foods that are sitting on the buffet, including dates.  And he offers her a plate and says, “Would you like a date?”  “Sure,” she replies, reaching for it.  He pulls the plate away.  “How about next Thursday”  Hahahahahah.  That, my dear friends, is the genius work of Mel Brooks in his cinematic masterpiece Robin Hood:Men in Tights.

That joke is what I’m always reminded of when I think about dates, the fruit.  If you’ve never had a date, they are these delicious little elongated fruits that come from a tree called a date palm, indigenous to the Middle East.  You can usually find them dried, sometimes pitted and bagged in the grocery store.  They are delicious in savory and sweet dishes and are often the base for various healthy snackbars, like Lärabars or Youbars.  In fact, those very bars are the inspiration for these little snackables. 

I wanted a little snack I could keep on hand that would be sweet but not necessarily as deadly as say, my caramel bars.  These are great because they are little, sweet, light but satisfying, easy to make with few ingredients and easy to customize.  And, of course, you don’t have to be very precise with your measuring either, which is good because if my cooking style can be described as anything, it’s “lackadaisical.”

Chocolate Laur-a-balls
Makes 16 or so

8oz pitted dried dates
1/2 c. whole almonds
1/2 c. dried unsweetened coconut flake
1 tbsp vanilla
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 c. chocolate chips

Put dates, almonds, coconut, vanilla and cocoa into a food processor and grind until relatively smooth, about two minutes.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Mold date “dough” into 1 inch balls and place in an airtight container.  Revel in your status as master of the universe.

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