Immersed in the throes of normal life, I’ve been falling back on lots of recipes already posted on the blog for sustenance. I make this Asian slaw often. This leek and zucchini soup has been in regular rotation. Mulligatawny is always a favorite with Eat. I’ve been making a soupy variation on these black beans. Plus, the kids are all more vocal on what they like and what they don’t — except sugar. It is a fickle season: One week, they may love the enchiladas. The next month, not so much. Whatever meal it may be, they expect sugar surrounds it in any form. They still haven’t quite caught on, or perhaps in a strong wave of denial, that eating sugar all day DOES make them feel irritable, headachy, and tired by the end of the day.
Though I expected the kids would love these chocolate-tahini balls, I didn’t make them with the kids in mind. In fact, I thought if I made these sweet treats with them circling like sharks, I would barely get a taste. There is no added processed sugar, and the texture and taste are very satisfying for a deep, sweet treat.
This recipe reminds me a lot of my Schrödinger‘s brownie recipe, except these gems are chewier and a little less crumbly. It really depends on the softness of the dried dates you use. I didn’t use a fancy cocoa here. I had a standard Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa in my pantry because that’s all I could find locally one cold day for homemade cocoa after snow and sledding. My revered black cocoa didn’t quite fit the bill for this, though I could experiment later.
The chocolate taste comes through just right with the Hershey’s (or probably whatever standard unsweetened cocoa you have) in part because of the added salt. Salted chocolate may seem strange, but it is necessary for the dark and balanced flavor here. The tahini is not too strong either, but gives the chocolate pairing a nice creaminess. Dried Mejool dates and maple syrup always remind me of caramel and that flavor undertone is not lost here either. The pistachios and sesame seeds provide a nice texture and hold it all together.
Instead of the recipe’s recommended dipping of the balls in half cocoa and half pistachio-sesame mix, I prefer using all pistachio-sesame. I did a mix for the photographs.
So, kids, here is a sweet treat — after the enchiladas.
This recipe is from the bon appetit recipe site and originally named salted chocolate-tahini bliss balls. I wouldn’t go so far to add the “bliss” — these are really, really good but not a life-changing experience.
One year ago: I was on a break
Two years ago: maple walnut ice cream (so good!)
Three years ago: apple and red currant pie with a flower cut-out crust
Four years ago: balsamic chicken with pomegranate molasses glaze
Five years ago: turkey empanadas
Six years ago: menu planning – a reprise in 2012
Seven years ago: bacon beer yeast bread
- ⅔ cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted, shelled raw pistachios, divided
- 4 Medjool dates, pitted
- ⅓ cup tahini
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
- 1 tablespoon freshly toasted sesame seeds
- Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- Pulse ⅔ cup pistachios in a food processor until coarsely chopped, then add dates, tahini, maple syrup, salt, and ¼ cup cocoa. Process until the mixture balls up. It will be sticky and soft but not gooey enough to stick to your fingers too much. It should hold its shape.
- Divide this large ball into half, then divide each half into five pieces evenly, making a total of ten balls. Roll them smooth between your palms gently. Chill in fridge for about 20 minutes to firm.
- Grind sesame seeds and remaining pistachios (1 tablespoon) or chop finely. Set aside in small bowl. Put remaining cocoa in separate bowl and set aside.
- Retrieve the balls and roll them again to smooth, then dip one half into the cocoa, then the other half into the nut-seed mixture. I did a mix of some half-and-half dips, some nuts-seeds only, just cocoa, and then dumped the cocoa and nut mix together. Whatever works!
- Keep chilled. These keep for a month in the fridge. The original recipe recommends to wrap each ball separately in plastic wrap to chill. I didn't bother and just used an airtight container without crowding the balls too much.