The recipe comes from my friend, Joyce. I stopped by to see her just before Christmas. She was busy creating menus in preparation for her family who would be coming home for Christmas. She was hunting for gluten-free recipes she could prepare for her granddaughter. She told me about Power Balls, a gluten-free treat that had become a family favorite.
Joyce moved to the refrigerator as she offered me a Power Ball. Alas, the Power Balls must have been left in the refrigerator of their other home. Rather than a taste, she sent me home with her recipe so I could make some of my own.
I’ve made several batches of Power Balls since that visit with Joyce. They are a snap to mix together in a food processor and they need no baking. All it takes is walnuts, Medjool dates, dark chocolate chips, some pure vanilla extract and a bit of sea salt.
Once February arrived, Power Balls became Power Hearts. I simply patted the date mixture out in an even slab on a silicone baking mat and used a small heart-shaped cookie cutter to shape the sticky mixture. I keep the ready-to-eat treats in the freezer or the refrigerator.
Large, plump Medjool dates are sweet, creamy, low-fat packages of protein, fiber, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins. Walnuts are a rich source of heart-healthful monounsaturated fats and an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, offering protection to the cardio-system and providing anti-inflammartory benefits. Add some dark chocolate to the mix and you may be helping blood flow through the arteries that supply the heart and the brain. Now, that’s a Valentine treat with power, for sure.
Whether you shape the magic mixture into balls or hearts, they will be a treat appreciated and enjoyed by all.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
(from Joyce Henderson)
- 1 cup Medjool dates - pits removed
2 cups walnuts
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate morsels
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Pulse dates, walnuts and chocolate morsels in food processor until the mixture looks like coarse gravel. Add vanilla and salt and pulse to mix. Add 1 teaspoon water, if necessary, to form balls.
To make hearts, pat mixture into an even layer on a silicone baking mat. Cut with cookie cutter. Refrigerate hearts in a sealed container for up to a couple of weeks. They can also be stored in freezer for a couple of months.
Or, form into 1-inch balls. Makes about 3 dozen when formed with a #100 portion scooper.
Makes about 3 dozen formed with a #100 portion scooper.
Tips from the cook
- Medjool dates are often found in the produce department of well-stocked grocery stores.
- Lightly spray the cookie cutter with non-stick cooking spray before cutting to make release of the sticky mixture very easy.
- You can watch me make the healthful Valentine treats on Good Food, Good Life 365 at Lakeland Public Television. Click here.