When it comes to Ramadan, it can be hard to find iftar treats that aren’t fattening and loaded with sugar, but are tasty and easy to make. We all know and love the traditional Arabic sweets like baklava, but I wanted to add a new and fresh twist to the old faves. I love the wonderful richness of flavours and ingredients specific to the region, and dates are such an important part of the culture, so I combined these elements to make Date and Cocoa Energy Bites.
These little beauties are perfect, as they’re packed with the slow-releasing natural sugars of dates and coated with the exotic flavours of the Middle East. Made with natural ingredients and with no added sugar, these energy bites are vegan and gluten-free. They contain dietary fibre, nutrients, vitamins and minerals – and they taste decadently chocolatey, too!
As an added bonus, they’re simple to make, require zero cooking or baking and can be made in half an hour. Make them in advance and pop them into the fridge or freezer to bring out whenever friends and family come over. Be sure to use the softest dates you can find – medjool dates are ideal. You can also experiment with other coatings such as seeds, nuts, dried fruit or the zest of lemon and orange. Customise the flavours to suit your tastebuds – the possibilities are endless!
1 cup (approx. 12) medjool dates, stoned
2 tbsp cocoa, unsweetened
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
3 tbsp rose petals
3 tbsp pistachios, peeled and finely chopped
3 tbsp fresh unsweetened shredded coconut (or unsweetened dessicated coconut),
3 tbsp sesame seeds (toasted if preferred)
1 tsp edible gold sparkles
1. Place all of the coatings in separate bowls.
2. In a food processor, add the dates, chia seeds, cocoa and coconut oil. Process until the mixture is completely combined and forms into a dough.
3. With a wooden spoon, scoop the mixture into a clean bowl. Then hand-roll the mixture into small balls – approximately one date size (or one tablespoon) for each ball.
4. Roll the bites in the desired coatings.
5. Use a dry, soft brush to gently apply gold sparkle to the surface of your energy bites.
6. When complete, place onto a tray or into an airtight container for an hour to allow the chia seeds to soften. Then store in the fridge for a few days, or longer in the freezer.