21.06.2021

7 Festive Cookies, Truffles, and Treats You Can Serve the Kids This Holiday Season

Dark chocolate, bright orange, rich pumpkin, spicy cinnamon – some flavors just scream festive. There’s another ingredient that often skates under the radar, but packs in just as much holiday flavor: Medjool dates.

Though many people overlook Medjool dates in favor of flashier ingredients like crushed candy canes and fluffy marshmallows, this sweet fruit deserves it’s own time to shine. The natural sweetness and caramel-like flavor adds decadence to almost any dessert recipe – they’re practically dessert on their own! Just take the seven holiday dessert recipes below: Not only are they proof that Medjool dates should be the star of every festive table, but they’re also extremely easy to make. Need more proof? Round up the family, bust out a package of Natural Delights® Medjool dates, and start cooking!

Almond Butter Medjool Date Boats

The natural shape of Medjool dates is the perfect vessel for all kinds of tasty fillings – in this case, creamy almond butter, tart pomegranate arils, and sweet white chocolate. If you melt the white chocolate in the microwave, you won’t even need to turn the stove on to make this dessert!

You’ll need:

  • 6 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup fresh pomegranate arils
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate, melted

Directions:

Slice each Medjool date in half lengthwise to form the boats. Put the almond butter in a piping bag and pipe a small amount into the middle of each date. Sprinkle with pomegranate aris, then drizzle with melted white chocolate. Allow the chocolate to set, then serve.

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Medjool Date Pumpkin Biscotti

Don’t be fooled by their elegant looks: Biscotti are surprisingly easy to make. These pumpkin cookies drizzled in chocolate would make a lovely addition to any holiday table.

You’ll need:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsps. baking soda
  • 2 1/2 tsps. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 tsps. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 3/4 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
  • 12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, soda, spices, and salt. Add the beaten eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla, then blend well. Stir in the chopped Medjool dates and almonds.

Turn dough out onto a lined baking sheet. Form the dough into a 2-inch-thick rectangle. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, then let cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the biscotti to a cutting board and slice vertically into 1-inch-wide slices. Return slices to sheet pan. Bake for an additional 12 to 15 minutes or until the biscotti feel crisp.

Let cool, then melt chocolate in a medium bowl in double boiler or in the microwave. With a fork, drizzle the chocolate back and forth over biscotti.

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Medjool Date Chocolate-Avocado Balls

The dark, decadent exterior of these chocolate truffles hides a secret ingredient: avocado. Though you can’t taste it, the avocado gives these dessert bites a silky-smooth texture.

You’ll need:

  • 8 Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp. warm water
  • 1 large or 2 small ripe avocados
  • 1/4 cup 70% dark chocolate, melted
  • 3 tbsps. cacao powder
  • 2 tsps. orange zest
  • 1/8 tsp. sea salt
  • Chopped toasted cashews, desiccated coconut, or cacao powder for topping

Directions:

Process Medjool dates and warm water in a food processor, scraping the sides as needed. Continue adding warm water until it forms a paste. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until the mixture is smooth. Add more cacao powder if it feels too wet.

Turn the mixture onto a piece of parchment paper, cover with another piece of parchment paper, and flatten. Refrigerate overnight.

The following day, form one-tablespoon scoops of the mixture into balls. Roll each ball in the topping of your choice and enjoy.

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Medjool Date Pinwheel Cookies

The natural sweetness of Medjool dates really shines as the filling in these swirled pinwheel cookies. Bright orange and aromatic anise add even more holiday flavor.

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 stick room temperature butter
  • 4 ounces room temperature cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsps. ground anise seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup turbinado or demerara sugar

Directions:

Process Medjool dates, orange juice, and zest until well-combined. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together butter, cream cheese, and sugar for about three minutes or until light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract and egg yolk, then blend well. Stir together the remaining dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir to incorporate.

Divide the dough in half. Cover dough with wax paper, then roll each half of the dough into a 7×9-inch rectangle. Divide date filling between the two rectangles, leaving a quarter-inch border. Smooth with a spatula to make an even layer.

Starting with the long side, roll each rectangle of dough into a log. Roll each log in raw sugar, then wrap each log tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge until very firm, at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a sharp knife, slice each roll of dough into 1/3-inch slices. Arrange cookies about 2 inches apart on parchment paper–lined cookie sheets. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, then let cool on wire racks.

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Medjool Date Dark Chocolate Coins

Think of these chocolate cookies as a slightly elevated version of store-bought slice-and-bake cookies. Little chefs can help roll out the dough, but adults should take charge of the knife-work.

You’ll need:

  • 6 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 stick butter, cubed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup crystalized sugar or cookie sprinkles (optional)

Directions:

Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler or microwave until just barely melted. Process Medjool dates and chocolate together in food processor, scraping down the sides until well blended. Some date pieces will remain. Add butter, eggs, and vanilla. Blend well.

In a small bowl, mix dry ingredients, then add to food processor. Process lightly until just barely blended. Turn dough onto a work surface and knead lightly.

Form dough into two 3-inch-wide tubes. Roll in crystalized sugar or sprinkles, if desired. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and freeze or refrigerate for half an hour or until firm.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. With a sharp knife, slice dough into quarter-inch slices. Place on a parchment paper–lined cookie sheets and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

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Medjool Date Cranberry-Orange Truffles

Tart cranberries, spicy ginger, and bright orange lend plenty of zing to these homemade chocolate truffles. Little helpers will have a blast rolling them!

You’ll need:

  • 8 ounces 70% dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
  • 8 ounces white chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. ground chili powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 1/8 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsps. Natural Delights® Medjool date paste (see recipe)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, plus extra for topping

Directions:

Combine dark chocolate and coconut milk in a double boiler over low heat. When the chocolate has almost completely melted, remove from the heat and whisk until fully melted. Add spices, orange zest, salt, vanilla extract, and date paste and mix to combine. Spoon mixture into an 8×8 pan, let it cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate overnight or freeze for 1 hour.

Scoop 2 tablespoons of the mixture into the palm of your hand. Flatten into a disc and place a dried cranberry in the middle, then close the truffle mixture around it. Roll into a ball and place on a cookie sheet. Freeze rolled truffles until firm.

Melt white chocolate in a double boiler over low heat. When the chocolate has almost completely melted, remove from the heat and whisk until fully melted. Allow to cool slightly.

Remove the rolled truffles from the freezer and dip in the melted white chocolate one at a time using a slotted spoon. Place on parchment paper–lined cookie sheet and decorate with chopped dried cranberries. Allow to set and enjoy.

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Medjool Date Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Is there any other combination more classic than chocolate and peanut butter? Kids of all ages will flip for these gluten-free cookies that just-so-happen to be crazy easy to make.

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cups Medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 tsps. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 8 ounces chocolate, melted
  • Chopped peanuts, for topping

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pulse the peanut butter and Medjool dates in a food processor until finely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend well.

Turn dough onto a work surface and roll into 2-inch balls. Place the balls about 3 inches apart on lined cookie sheet. Press a fork on top of each ball twice to flatten. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, then allow cookies to cool completely. Drizzle with melted chocolate and sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

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