When Tim came home from his Thursday meetings today, I handed him one of these date truffles, and he told me to get my coat, and the two of us headed to Bella Nashville for a pizza date, which is where we’d agreed to work on our book-mapping. We’re so close to turning our manuscript in, with just a few final steps left, and sometimes the difference between one of those steps feeling laborious and one of those steps feeling celebratory is as basic as a Neapolitan-style pizza topped with turnip greens, eaten just as the farmer’s market’s winding down. If there’s nothing else I remember at the end of this book-writing process, I hope it’s that.
While we were out, we got talking about the site’s new design (hey guys, we have a new site design!) and the kind comments we were receiving on Facebook about it and especially about my friend Kendall’s comment about how far the site’s come since the early days. I love thinking about the early days, especially when I can contrast them with the current ones, so if you had hoped I’d already spent up all my sentimentality for the month in all the recent heart posts, I’m sorry to tell you that that one simple Facebook comment started the whole thing all over again. I met Kendall back in 2009, when my friends Wendi and Michele and I had taken a trip to Colorado, and Kendall and some other blog friends met us for breakfast at Lucille’s. I remember Wendi and Michele and I liked the restaurant so much, we went to the Lucille’s in Boulder a few days later. I also remember Kendall brought us some lace cookies from a friend’s baked goods company, and I liked those very much, too. I’d only been blogging about a year at the time, and I hadn’t even met Tim, let alone quit my job or moved to Tennessee or changed my last name. And thinking back to those days and to all the blog designs, headers, recipes, meetups, and experiences that have come since then makes me want to burn the blessings into my head so that I keep count of them and stay filled with thanks.
I’m writing this post from our living room sofa Thursday night, February 6, 2014. Tim’s next to me, editing a few more photos, about to cross one more task off the shortening list that separates us from here and Manuscript Turned In. We’ve redesigned the site, like we’ve done a few times before, because once I get in my head that I want to fix something, my brain keeps working on it, even when I try to turn it off, even when we’re also working on a cookbook. And I just want to write down here in black and white and blogland that I’m thankful. Thankful for the moments when our hearts feel full. Thankful for the moments when they don’t. For the moments when a plate of date truffles feels like yet another sweetness. For the moments when it feels like the thing to turn the day around.
Firmer than traditional chocolate truffles yet softer and sweeter than homemade date bars, these date truffles are fun little bites that don’t feel overly rich, yet fully satisfy your sweet tooth. We used deglet noor dates because we have a giant tub of them from Costco, but medjool are so delicious and caramely, I bet they’d be fantastic, too.
Date Truffles (vegan, grain-free, gluten-free)
Serving Size: 14 small truffles
- 2 cups (260 g or about 40) pitted deglet noor dates
- 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 21 g 85% dark chocolate (i.e., 2 squares of a bar like this one)
For Mint Version:
- 2 to 3 drops peppermint oil
- 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped roasted, salted pistachio meats
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Set dates in a medium bowl with enough water to cover; let soak for about 30 minutes. Strain water, and place dates in food processor. Add cocoa powder and coconut oil, and blend until smooth, a few minutes. Add the dark chocolate and pulse until it’s mixed in throughout.
Set out a piece of parchment on a work surface. Form about half of the date mixture into tablespoon-sized balls (a cookie scooper works well here) and place them on the parchment. Then, add peppermint oil (if using) to remaining mixture, pulse to blend, and form the rest into balls, too.
Once all the mixture has been used up, set up your rolling station. Place pistachio meats in a shallow bowl or plate, and place cocoa powder in another bowl or plate. Roll the mint balls in cocoa powder and the non-mint ones in pistachios. Set in mini muffin papers or back on a parchment-lined plate.
Store truffles in the refrigerator, but feel free to eat them cold or at room temperature.
Note that we used peppermint oil in half the truffles to create a mint version, but this is an optional step. You could either use it in all of them or in none of them; it’s up to you. Actually, virtually everything about this recipe is adaptable. It’s hard to mess up dates + other delicious ingredients, blended together in a food processor, so be brave.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.