'Banana, Date and Almond Chocolate Bites' is the short title. They actually also contain dried cranberries and cashew nuts, but listing all the ingredients was too much of a mouthful for such delicate little things!
I've seen lots of recipes using dates and bananas to create similar things and I loved the idea of creating something a little healthier to snack on than chocolate biscuits and Nutella on toast...
Now I have to admit that although I've seen recipes for such things, I've never actually read or followed one properly. Somewhere in the first line I usually spot the words 'food processor' and switch off immediately. I'm a student with a tiny kitchen- I have no food processor! So this was a bit of an experiment, but luckily one that seems to have turned out pretty well. And no fancy kitchen equipment in sight - perfect.
These little morsels are sweet and squidgy... perhaps mine were a little too squidy, but I've adjusted the recipe below so that if you give these a go (and you definitely should) they will hopefully turn out just right. I'm never going to be the kind of person to entirely cut things like refined sugars or fats out of my diet, but I did enjoy the more natural sweetness these have which balances just perfectly with the bitter chocolate.
They're gluten free, and if you found an alternative to the chocolate covering (or just went without it) they could quite easily be adjusted to be dairy free too.
To make approximately 20 pieces, you will need:
1 banana (riper the better)
3 medjool dates finely chopped
100g ground almonds
A handful of dried cranberries
A handful of chopped cashew nuts
100g dark chocolate
In a mixing bowl, mash the banana to a smooth pulp with a fork. Add the dates (chopped as small as possible) and use the fork to mash them into the banana. Then add the ground almonds and mix everything to a dough-like consistency. It doesn't matter if you have a few lumps of dates, but it was actually quite satisfying to get everything as blended as possible!
Throw in the cranberries and cashew nuts and stir everything together. Line a plate or tray with a sheet of greaseproof paper, then take pinches of the mixture and roll between your palms to make small balls. Place them onto the paper.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl, either in the microwave or oven a pan of boiling water. Take the balls of dough one at a time and dip them into the chocolate. It's a bit of messy process, but it's the best way to get them completely covered!
When they're all covered in chocolate, pop them in the fridge for a few minutes to set and then they're ready to enjoy. I'd recommend storing them in the fridge so that the chocolate doesn't melt.
These were so simple to make and taste so good. There's a good balance of textures too, with the hard chocolate shell and nuts working well with the very soft centre. I'm having to resist polishing off the whole lot before lunchtime!
As always, this is a really adaptable recipe. You could change the cashews for other nuts, or swap the cranberries for other dried fruit. You could also play around with making them look more interesting by rolling them in chopped nuts or fruit. Do let me know if you try them out!