Sometimes the most impressive-looking and yet delicious snacks can be the easiest to make. These stuffed and chocolate-dipped dates are great energy boosters and make lovely food gifts at Christmas and throughout the year.
Dates are considered the oldest cultivated fruit in the world, with fossil evidence showing they existed as food at least 50 million years ago. Prized for their natural sweetness, dates (like figs and raisins) were introduced to Europe by returning Crusaders. The Oxford English Dictionary cites the oldest known reference to dates (the fruit) in English print to 1290AD
Ancient Romans stuffed dates with nutmeats and covered them with honey. This was the original sweetmeat. Similar confections were considered holiday fare in Medieval Europe. Today’s stuffed dates are not much different. Then, as today, they are generally made at home and featured on winter holiday tables.
Chocolate Dipped Stuffed Dates
- 16 large dates pitted
- 1/4 cup nut butter I love crunchy peanut butter
- 2 cups chocolate chips
- 1 tbsp. flaked sea salt optional
- 1 tbsp. dried lavender optional
- Butterfly your pitted dates and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Fill each date with the nut butter, close and place on the cookie sheet.
- Refrigerate the dates for 30 minutes, or until stiff.
- Melt the chocolate chips over a double boiler. Let the chocolate cool a bit so it won't melt the nut butter.
- Dip the dates into the chocolate and place on the baking sheet.
- Dip a teaspoon into the chocolate and make stripes across the dates by waving it over the dates.
- Sprinkle with the salt OR lavender before the chocolate sets.