A lot of things are called “nature’s candy”, but the date really is. Sweet, luscious, just a bit gooey – could it get any better than that? Actually, it does. With calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, plus a range of vitamins and amino acids, dates make a great part of a well-rounded diet. They’re also a smart sweet if you’re watching your blood sugar – the glycemic score of dates is a very low 9.
In the middle of the day when I start to crave candy, I satiate the urge with stuffed dates. I’ll split the date open, remove the pit and then fill it up with whatever I have on hand. Here are some favorite stuffing combinations for a decadent treat:
Fill the dates with cacao nibs and almond butter and roll them in coconut flakes.
Bleu cheese (foodies know the sweet-pungent contrast really works well!)
For an Algerian dessert, stuff the dates with marzipan and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
I’ve never tried this one, but it sounds intriguing: stuff the dates with almonds and then wrap them with thin slices of bacon or proscuitto. Secure with a toothpick and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, until the bacon crisps.
Fill them with mascarpone or cream cheese (flavored with lemon juice and honey). You can eat this as-is, or wrap prosciutto around it and bake it as above.
Blend a mixture of pistachios, orange juice, orange zest and a pinch of sea salt until you get a thick paste. Fill your dates with this for a very Middle Eastern flavor.
Make a mixture of roasted sesame seeds, sliced almonds and crushed cardamom. Stuff and enjoy.
Whip up some of my chocolate-avocado pudding and top with chopped dates. Mmmmm.
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