We're heading out of town early tomorrow. Hugh has some work in San Francisco, I'm going to Portland with my mom and sister for a book signing and then we're meeting in Seattle for a few more days for another book event (if you live near either place, I hope to see you!). I've visited both cities before, and I adore them for how different they are from home. So many places to eat, more trees, independent coffee shops and new faces. I wanted to throw something together quick to pack as a snack for the flight, even though neither are long. A two hour flight is still a 4-5ish hour process of getting from A to B and that's long enough to need some sustenance. I may have a subconscious fear of starving to death, because I always have a snack in my car and my purse, even on the days I'm not going far from home. Without fail, every time we leave for a flight and Hugh sees my purse filled with fruit, trail mix and snacks "Sara, they have food there," but would you guess who eats most of my loot? 

These date truffles are dense little nuggets that give you a bit of energy and also cure a sweet tooth. The sweet dates compliment the rich cocoa powder and the crunchy almonds give just enough crunch to make you feel like you're having a real special treat. I do prefer them cold, but regardless they are great for road trips, plane flights or kids lunches etc. They're so quick and easy you don't exactly need a reason to make them. 

Excuse the brevity. We'll be back with the last of the summer produce I'm gripping onto after the trip. Happy weekend. 


I'm not sure who to give the credit for this idea - there are versions all over the internet for these vegan/gluten free treats. Below are my measurements but cheers to the mystery person who invented this combo. 

Some dates can be super dry and hard, but for this recipe, you want to try to get your hands on some that are plump and slightly glossy, with no crystalized sugar on the surface. I get really have good luck at Costco or Trader Joes. You can taste the good quality cocoa here, so while a bit pricier, I like Scharffen Berger or Valrhona.

  • 20 Medjool dates, seeded and halved
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup creamy almond butter
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. natural cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup toasted almonds, well chopped

Put the dates and vanilla in a food processor and run until a chunky paste forms. Add the almond butter and pulse a few more times. Add the coconut, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon and pulse a few more times. The mixture should be a tad crumbly, but press between your fingers and stick together. If it seems too wet to hold in a ball, add more coconut, if too dry, add a touch more almond butter or a spash of water. 

Roll a heaping Tbsp. of the mixture between your palms to form a ball. Repeat with remaining mixture. Put your chopped almonds on a plate and roll each truffle in the almonds (apply a bit of pressure to get them to adhere). Place the plate in the fridge to chill for at least an hour. Truffles will keep covered in the fridge for a couple weeks. 

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Reader Comments (60)

These look wonderful- love dates! Enjoy the PNW- wish I could make either of those signings!

I love the ingredients in this recipe. It's naturally GF, Vegan and Sugar-Free. How wonderful is that? :) Thank you for sharing. Love the photography, as always. :)

September 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter{Sweet & Salty}

It is such a divine combination of flavors. Perfect for packing with you, no matter how long the flight! Enjoy Portland and Seattle! I'm going to try and make the Powell's stop! Exciting!

September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Wonder how yum these would be with roasted chestnuts or hazel nuts. mmmm.

September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnita

These look wonderful! I love your book! Have fun at your book signing!!

September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah@DELICIOUSHAPPENS.COM

Hi, um, I am exactly the same. I like to think that it was my greatest takeaway from Girl Scouts: Be prepared! I am always overfilling my carry-on with snacks. Snacks are the best. And these sound ridic.

September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKimberley

delicious :))

September 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersreebindu

I love these super simple yet delicious recipes!

September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike

I'm exactly the same (not least because I have a complete phobia of airplane food) and will not get on a flight unless I'm sure that I have enough food to cope with any eventuality. And yes, people laugh at me but then they are very happy when I can provide snacks halfway through!

I have all the ingredients for these on hand, can't wait to give them a try later.

Have a wonderful trip!

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn

Who needs a chocolatier when you've got these!

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterthecitygourmand


I too am a snacker. You'll often find an apple or some nuts in my bag. That said, these will surely bring up my stash up a few notches and are just what I need for an upcoming long train ride. Enjoy Portland and Seattle! I would love to visit both cities one day.

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSasha

Mmmm, love the almond crunch on the outside! (ps you may have a subconscious fear of meeting a snacky monster somewhere and having food!) ;)

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMollie

I've long wanted to try these 'healthy' truffles. Thanks for sharing :) Have a great trip!

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDessertForTwo

these are wonderful! your book is getting rave reviews, as expected, have a wonderful trip !

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermichelle

I always forget to pack snacks when I travel. Hopefully I can remember to make & take these along on my next trip! These look like the perfect little snack for after a run so I'll probably be making (and then promptly devouring) these this weekend :)

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney

You're killing me, these date/nut combo ball things are my total weakness. I have ZERO self control when these are in the fridge. Have a lovely trip, friend!

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkelsey

Snacks! They are indeed crucial -- and these look scrumptious. Happy adventuring!!

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStacy

Safe travels! Wish you two were coming out to Boston for the signing. Oh well! :-(

These truffles look terribly decadent. Thank goodness they're not in this house, otherwise I'd have a face covered in chocolate right about now.

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrian @ A Thought For Food

Bon Voyage... Maybe I will have time to come see you while you are in SF! Things are so busy nowadays but that would be a real treat.

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPhi

These look delish: great for school lunch boxes and picnics, too, eh? Safe travels and good luck with your book signings!

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDena

These will be perfect for my road trip this weekend too! I'm also afraid of being caught snackless and have been known to tote fruit leathers and almonds with me. I'm loving The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook! There are a ton of post-it note flags sticking out of it, begging me to make all the beautiful and delicious recipes. Thanks for all the work and love you put into the book!

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

great travel food! have fun in the Pac NW. I went to Portland last month and it was a lot of fun. Hope you get make it to Kim Boyce's bakery! we spent our calories at Salt&Straw instead, but hope to get there next time. You have to pick your battles, ya know?!

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterheather @ chiknpastry

I know what I'll be doing this rainy friday evening! If you have access to a mid- or near-eastern grocery store, baking dates are pretty easy to find -- just perfectly pureed dates, Ziyad brand comes in a rectangular block -- and really cheap, like $1.50/lb

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

Oh, a healthy truffle.
That means I can eat MORE of them!
;) Muhahaha

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterColette @ JFF!

Oh man. Saw this recipe and had to make them immediately.
I used homemade almond-pistachio butter and added some chia seeds to the outside. Seriously good.
Have a wonderful trip!

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterwhitney

I always have snacks with me, and even more so now that I have two littles. I get nervous if I don't have food in my bag, ha.
I hope you don't get tired of my gushing, but really, the photos are just gorgeous, again. The prettiest truffles I've seen.

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersarah

These sound wonderful! I need to try making raw truffles! Love these, dates are so good :)!

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy@FragrantVanillaCake

Mmm what a treat!

September 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKatrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

You make such simple foods + recipes look so magnificent. I love little snacks like this and the combo of cocoa, cinnamon, and coconut sounds perfect.

September 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

These look wonderful! I didnt know you would be in seattle this weekend (seaatle native here), i will have to find the date and place and get a much needed copy of the book. Your website is the one im always refering people to for delicious heathly meals.

September 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralexandra

These are exactly what I was wanted last night... a combo of chocolate, coconut, and nuts. I ended up winging some cookies that came out great, but I will definitely make these soon!

September 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJosie Marsh

These look delicious and perfect for my latent fear of starving as well. This fear does have an upside, I'm quite popular at staff meetings now because of my delicious purse snacks (usually almonds). These will really get me some points. Have a wonderful trip!

September 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCrystal

I love, love dates! What a perfect treat!

September 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdannelle@nestenterprises

I'm sorry to miss your Portland visit, Sara. We are away this weekend but I brought your cookbook with me. Not quite the same as meeting you but we are loving the recipes. Salmon with walnut crust, stuffed peppers (those beer beansare great!) and zucchini bread bites--all tested and devoured. Looking forward to more!

September 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBecki

These look amazing! I love how you can make the simplest of recipe and treats look glamorous and elegant. You are quite amazing!

September 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeth @ Tasty Yummies

We just got a Trader Joe's here in Knoxville. I was happy to be able to find some of the ingredients you mention. I bought the dates and made the treats today! They are delicious! They are a perfect little snack. It's kind of like the best trail mix smashed into a pretty little Truffle! They're also elegant enough for a special treat. Thanks for the recipe.

September 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristy

These are a weakness of mine. Truffles, any kind. And almond date? I would make midnight trips to the fridge to eat them all.

September 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermikevfmk

Hi, when's that book event in Seattle? I'd love to check by.

September 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCohen@NYC LASIK

I love this combination! I've made a similar version with chipotle chili powder and coffee and I'm always amazed at just how rich they taste, despite being so healthy! I'm all about plane snacks, and have a similar fear of starvation ;)

September 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKasey

I'm the exact same way about snacks! I always have them on me no matter where or how far I'm going. Maybe it's a comfort thing or something. These look great, I've made so many versions too and I really wish I knew who to credit. I've seen recipes from the 70's with things similar, so I think the idea is quite old, maybe even older if you start thinking about how traditional fruit cake was made!

September 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJacqui

Just bought your book! It's positively beautiful, thank-you for your inspiration :) Can't wait to start cooking!

September 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHilary

What a great snack! You blog has offered me endless inspiration! And lucky me, I got the book for my birthday! Thanks for posting!

September 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterstef

When/Where are you going to be signing books in Portland? Would love to meet you and purchase your book! Thanks.

September 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMeghan

I make a version of these at least twice a month! Such a yummy nosh post gym or as dessert. Beautiful pictures, as always!


September 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

I'm completely intrigued by this recipe, it looks delicious.
p.s. It was so lovely meeting you the other evening at Luisa's event. Wishing you the very best in your book tour adventures!

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralexandria

Another beautiful recipe and it sounds so delish! I love portable food... i also am a bit of a snack-hoarder wherever i go. it was so great meeting you in Portland! i hope you had a great time in Seattle for your brief getaway!

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSophie - dinnersforwinners

I made these last night and they are sublime! I live in Cambodia and can't get almond butter, but I "made" some at home by putting almonds in my food processor. I didn't achieve a creamy texture, but got a crumbly, slightly creamy consistency. It didn't really affect the outcome of the truffles, but I did have to add some water to the final product so the truffle bound well. Next time I think I will try just almond meal, which I can get here, and add water at the end as necessary. Funny, I can get almonds, almond meal and almond oil here but no almond butter!

October 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

I made these balls this afternoon and they were ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! Thank you :-)

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commentervicki johnson

So delicious! And so easy to make! Thank you for the recipe.

October 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMolly

Incredible snack/ treat/ inulgence!! Just made these yesterday and they are addicitng! Trying hard to keep it in check as they are about 100 calories each! They should come with a warning label because they are so good and so sinful!! Thank you so much for another great keeper.

October 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMargot

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