Pecan Date Balls

Last October I made Date-Pistachio Crescent Cookies to share with the
Women’s Guild members at my church. The package of date paste was
quite large so I only used a portion of it for the cookies. With so much paste
left over, I figured I might as well make something else. 



With Christmas entertaining in mind I decided to make Pecan
Date Balls based largely on the crescent cookie filling recipe. Think of this dessert as a healthy holiday treat – depending on how many you eat, that is! 



Pecan Date Balls

Pecan Date Balls
Yield: approximately 24 pieces (yield will vary depending
on the size made)


Note: This recipe can easily be doubled.

Ingredients:
13 oz. pressed date paste** (sold in Middle Eastern stores)
[See below for making date paste at home]
1 to 2 Tbsp. water
1 cup chopped pecans, divided (chopped walnuts, almonds, or
pistachio nuts may be substituted)
1 Tbsp. orange blossom water (sold in Middle Eastern
stores) – or – 1 Tbsp orange juice (optional)
1 tsp. orange zest
 ½ tsp. ground
cardamom

Directions:

If date paste is firm, cut into chunks; if soft and pliable, leave it as it is.

Place date paste and 1 to 2 Tbsp. water in a saucepan. Using low heat, stir until paste begins to soften and blend together, about 7 to 10
minutes. (Be patient!)
 

Add ½ cup of the chopped nuts, orange blossom water (or orange
juice) if using, orange zest and cardamom. Mix well. Remove from heat; cool.

When the mixture is cool enough to handle, break off tablespoon-sized
pieces and roll them into balls. Coat each ball with the remaining chopped nuts,
pressing so the nuts will adhere.



To Serve: Place each ball in a mini cupcake liner; arrange on a platter.

NOTE: Finely shredded coconut or powdered
sugar can be used to coat the balls.



** Directions for making about 1 cup of Date Paste:

Soak about 12 to 13 pitted Medjool dates in warm water (1 to 2 – or
more cups, depending on how dry the dates are) for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Scoop the dates out of the water (don’t drain it; you’ll
need some of the soaking water) and place them in a blender or food processor
with some of the soaking water. (Start with ¼ cup of the soaking water.)

Puree until the mixture is soft and fluffy. If it’s too
thick, add a little more of the water.

Store the date paste
in a jar with a lid. This should keep in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.


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