Chocolate Covered Dates & Cherries

4 Dec
Eat, drink, and worry about the consequences tomorrow!

I’m happy to say I survived Thanksgiving and all its requisite gluttony. Not without a couple of cheats here and there, I’ll be honest. I know some people don’t agree with cheating at all. And I get it – it’s definitely easier to stick with any kind of lifestyle if you don’t have temptations lurking around to trip you up.

But everyone is different. Some people come upon this kind of lifestyle because of allergies or sensitivities that make the occasional return to the old crappy diet out of the question. But others are like me and choose this lifestyle simply to be as healthy as possible. You know if you can handle a cheat now and then, or if it will derail you altogether. For me, it’s worth it to feel a little sluggish from the sugar crash and have a little carb-hangover the next day in order to indulge in something delicious on a special occasion. But that’s because the rest of the time I eat completely clean. If you know that a couple of cookies at the office holiday party or a piece of your aunt’s famous cake at a family gathering will make you go back to baking with wheat flour and living on pasta and bread again, then don’t do it. It’s all about what’s right for you.

But this isn’t really about those times when temptation is staring you in the face and you have to make that snap decision – do I let myself have the really yummy looking cupcake over on the dessert table, or do I just keep nibbling on these carrots and nuts…? This is about some wonderful holiday treats you can make instead of the other junk. So you can indulge a little – without taking all the fun out of it by beating yourself up later!

I love baking and making candy at Christmas, and lucky for me, my old pals almond flour and dark chocolate should make that an easy tradition to continue. But before diving into the cookies and cakes, I’ve been thinking about my favorite candies to indulge in this time of year. I think by far it would have to be chocolate covered cherries and Turtles. You can see the immediate problems with these, right? Turtles? Sugary caramel. Chocolate cherries? That corn syrup and whatever it is filling. Honestly, I don’t even really like the super sugary syrup inside chocolate covered cherries – it’s the cherry and chocolate flavors I love. So, that’s an easy one to recreate with healthier ingredients.

Chocolate covered sugar shock.

I figured Turtles would be a little tougher, but then I remembered that there’s an all natural sweet treat that already reminds me of the flavor and texture of caramel candies – Medjool dates. I thought, “Ooh, I’ll just stuff dates with pecans and dip them in chocolate!” Then I googled chocolate covered dates and discovered this is already a thing – Israeli Stuffed Dates! Not that I really needed a recipe to verify the idea, but I was happy to find out it was already a traditional and much-loved dessert.

I usually stop somewhere around here for my friendly reminder that stuff like this is a “sometimes food”…but it’s Christmas. Live a little!

Chocolate Covered Cherries
6 oz. dark chocolate chips or bar (I used 88%)
8 – 10 oz bag frozen cherries (thawed and drained)

This one is really simple. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or a metal bowl over a small saucepan of boiling water. Once the cherries are thawed and drained, dip them one by one into the chocolate, and place on a parchment paper lined tray. Allow chocolate to harden in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Covered Stuffed Dates (aka Primal “Turtles”)
6 oz. dark chocolate chips or bar (I used 88%)
1/2 lb. large Medjool Dates
1 bag pecan halves
1 bag shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)

This one has a few extra steps but is still very easy. Slice an opening in the side of each date and remove the pit. Insert a half pecan into the opening. Then dip each stuffed date into the melted chocolate and set aside on a parchment paper lined tray. The traditional Israeli Stuffed Date recipe calls for sprinkling shredded coconut on top, and while there’s no coconut in Turtles, (which were my original inspiration) it’s a nice addition if you want to include it. Allow the chocolate to harden in the refrigerator.

Ho, ho, ho!

The chocolate will begin to melt a bit after the candy has been removed from the refrigerator, so keep them chilled until serving time. The chocolate cherries have a very subtle flavor, not nearly as sweet as the traditional boxed variety, while the stuffed dates are extremely decadent. I sprinkled a little coconut on top of some of the chocolate cherries too, just for fun. Your holiday guests will love them both, Primal or not!

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5 Responses to “Chocolate Covered Dates & Cherries”

  1. davidisfat December 5, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    Do you have a recipe for cookies or shortbread using almond flour?

    Kindest regards,
    David

    • Shannon December 5, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

      I have a Snickerdoodle recipe on the blog, and a mocha coconut cookie. I’ve been thinking about attempting something like shortbread or sugar cookie though. I’ll keep you posted!

      • davidisfat December 6, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

        Thanks, snickerdoodles are my all-time favorite cookie anyway.

        Regards,
        David

  2. Adam December 5, 2011 at 3:16 pm #

    This recipe sounds delicious! I’m not usually a big chocolate fan, but I’ve made exceptions for chocolate covered cherries in the past. However, this sounds like more of an improvement than a simple substitution! (Plus, I never turn down a decadent date.)

    • Shannon December 5, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

      That whole plate of candy in the photo is sitting in the fridge, Adam – come eat some!

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