Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Chocolate-Covered Dates!

My adventures in Germany must be interrupted for this special recipe! But as a result of that Simpsons episode, Germany and chocolate are forever connected in my head anyway:
"The Land of Chocolate" episode <3
I usually think of myself of a non-competitive person. But then I went to Gohar's house for New Years, and she gave me this chocolate-covered date:
I looked at it, studied it, and then conquered it. I automatically began thinking that I could make this, and more importantly, that I could make it better. Without telling Gohar what I was thinking, I looked at her and said: "I accept the challenge", still chewing. Little did confused Gohar know that our lives would be changed forever.

All I would really need in order to re-create this delicious chocolate would be dates and dark chocolate. I was thinking of making my own vegan chocolate but in Armenia when you have coconut oil--a main ingredient, you cling on to every drop for dear life until you can confirm a new shipment is coming your way from visiting family or friends. Dark chocolate from a shop it was. I also wanted to add coconut flakes, which my room mate brought from Ireland as a gift that were organic and super fresh, and we still had some walnuts in the freezer I could make into a powder as a topping.

While I love dates now, I remember as a kid never being able to get over their texture. They kind of were what I would expect a well-fed large bug to feel and taste like. I always liked the overall taste but sometimes could not get paste the sticky inside. My dad would eat medjools like a champ and finally, as an adult, I followed suit, and now they are one of my favourite things in the world. A shop by my house even calls me the khoorma (date) girl now. They are perfect for a sweet tooth, can be used in both cooked or raw desserts, and contain fibre which helps regulate the sugar they release, making them a better option than syrups or other sweeteners.

So after getting my ingredients ready, I set up my little station, wondering how I would deal with the melted chocolate once it was on the dates and assumed it would get messy. I had no plan, but this was my only worry. I lucked out, though.
Little bujegs!
I began by double boiling the dark chocolate bar. Even for those who think dark chocolate is too bitter, the sweetness of dates will definitely balance it out, so fear not!
Before
Slightly after
While the chocolate was melting, I removed the seeds from a bunch of dates and then just stuck the halves back together (they were never fully separated). The fresher the dates, the easier they are to open--they will just be super sticky (much like how you would imagine a bug to be). Once the dark chocolate melted, I removed it from the heat, rolled the dates in its goodness, making sure to cover them well and then quickly rolled them in either the walnut powder or the coconut flakes.

To my pleasant surprise, the coconut flakes and walnut powder kept the chocolate in place and there was no mess like I had feared. Our house is pretty chilly too so I am positive this would not work as well in the summer. Once they were all coated, I put them in a separate container ready to go into the fridge. As I learned the hard way with my vospov kufteh recipe, always have your playlist ready because trying to put music on with dark chocolate all over your fingers is just a fail waiting to happen.

What they should look like:
What they will look like, rugged-style:
They were prettier in real life, I swear!
Because this recipe was so simple, once the dates cooled off I tried one not expecting anything hardcore. HOW WRONG I WAS. The packaged version I ate at Gohar's house was upstaged to the nth degree. It was perfection and my taste buds were having a party: the sweetness of the dates complimented the dark chocolate perfectly and the coconut flakes and walnuts gave an extra kick of flavour. I proudly showed them to Gohar and after trying one she finally realized what I was talking about 1 week before when I said "I accept the challenge", and we both knew I had won the imaginary battle.

I now tend to make a lot at a time and just keep them in my fridge. I've also used sesame seeds (calcium boost!) as a topping as well, and am thinking about using powdered cardamom seeds, crushed pistachios and cinnamon next time too. The sky is the limit, and I intend to make too many versions and overwhelm everyone. This is me competitive, apparently.

2 comments:

  1. Lena...these sound so good! I have never had any interest in eating dates because, like you mentioned, the texture. However, the chocoholic in me would definitely try them. Let's face it, everything is better covered in chocolate!!

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    Replies
    1. Haha, exactly! Let me know if you make them - you won't be disappointed!

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