Date Ball or Healthy Chocolate Truffle Pop?
August 6, 2021
Finished apple "cake" pops for back to school party

Date Ball or Healthy Chocolate Truffle Pop – You Decide

Can a date ball really taste like a healthy chocolate truffle? I think so! Especially when dipped in white chocolate like these fun back to school “cake” pops! I'm gathering up all the fun, but healthy, after school snacks this year.

And if you don't believe me, I dare you to try them!

Finished apple "cake" pops for back to school party

Simple Date Ball Ingredients

You don't need much to whip up a batch of these yummy date balls.

  • Medjool dates – soaked if they aren't soft
  • Pecans – sub cashews or coconut oil for alternative
  • Dark cocoa powder
  • Sea Salt
  • Optional – mint essential oil or other flavoring
  • Food processor

“Cake” Pop Ingredients

  • White Chocolate Melting squares
  • Food coloring
  • Straws or candy sticks
  • Airheads watermelon candy for leaves and stems

Blend Dates and Nuts

Blended pecans with chopped dates in food processor

First, blend nuts in a food processor. Be careful not to over mix and create nut butter by accident! Pecan crumbs is what we're after.

Side note: I resisted getting a food processor for years but there just isn't anything else that can blend like this. I tried this recipe in my Vitamix blender and it was disastrous! So I finally decided on the 14 cup Cruisinart if you're also on the fence. It blends like a dream!

Next, add roughly chopped dates. Medjool dates are by far the best flavor and texture for this recipe so please don't sub for Deglet Noor dates unless you have to.

If you've had the dates for a little while and they've dried out a bit, soak them in water for 45-60 minutes before adding to the food processor. Also make sure you've removed all pits.

Blend until dates are finely chopped and well incorporated with the nuts.

Chocolate Date Balls

Blended pecans and dates with dark cocoa powder in food processor

Now it's time for the dark cocoa powder, which really is the magic ingredient! Don't be shy, it takes 6 Tb of cocoa powder to make them super rich and fudgey! Sprinkle your sea salt now as well as any additional flavorings you'd like. {see recommendations below}

Blended mixture to date balls a healthy "cake" pop

Continue blending until the consistency of black sand. Test your dough now for taste and texture. It should be easy to smash into a ball. If too crumbly you can add a little coconut oil, but if you soaked the dates you shouldn't need it.

Pick Your Flavors

Peppermint essential oil as flavoring for chocolate mint date balls

Our favorite flavor combination is chocolate mint. I like adding 3-4 drops of peppermint essential oil to the dough. Other flavor options include:

  • Freeze dried raspberry pieces
  • Instant Coffee powder
  • Chili powder
  • Crystalized ginger finely chopped
  • Cinnamon
  • Orange zest or 3-4 drops Wild Orange essential oils

Roll Dough into Balls

Healthy "cake" pops or chocolate truffles

Using around 1-1/2 Tablespoons of dough roll it into a firm ball with clean hands. This will make approximately a dozen “cake” pop sized date balls.

But if planning to serve these as chocolate truffles I'd make 24 smaller balls.

Creating the “Cake” Pop

Chocolate Date balls with straws for a healthy "cake" pop

After the date balls are all rolled, insert a candy stick or paper straw into each truffle. You'll need to press the dough tightly around the stick to prevent it from slipping during the dipping process.

White chocolate squares for dipping date balls

Now is the time to prepare your melting chocolate. Dark chocolate for a rich truffle, or white chocolate if you're looking for a fun color or design. I chose white chocolate melting squares for this project that easily melt in the microwave after 90 seconds on 50% power.

Use a tall and skinny microwave safe glass like this mini pitcher to help with dipping and reduce chocolate waste.

Chocolate Dipped Date Ball

White chocolate melted with natural food dye to dip date balls

Using powdered beet root as food coloring we tinted the chocolate for these back to school “apple” pops. I know apples aren't pink, but I'm not a big fan of red dye, so we went with it.

**You can also use the beet root powder in smoothies later and can't even taste it when mixed with other fruits.

To dip the ball you'll want to push the chocolate around the sides and up to the straw. Alternatively you can spoon melted chocolate over the top of the ball but this tends to get messy. If the chocolate starts to thicken as you work, microwave it again for 30-60 seconds on 50% power.

Let Date Balls Dry

dipped chocolate date balls drying on pencil stand for back to school party

After you've dipped each date ball let the excess chocolate drip off. Then set each stick in a stand while the chocolate hardens and the cake pops dry.

**This was my first attempt at dipping cake pops. They aren't perfectly smooth and round BUT they are fun and delicious. So don't worry about getting it right or perfect the first {or fifth} time. Just have fun with the process.

Apple Cake Pop Leaves and Stems

Airheads candy with rolling pin

In order to turn these date ball “cake” pops into something resembling an apple they needed leaves and stems. You could easily use fondant if you have some on hand, but Airhead candy works so well and you only need a tiny bit.

Place the Airhead between two pieces of wax paper and flatten it out with a rolling pin.

Airheads candy create fun leaf and stem details

After the candy is nice a uniform use a knife or kitchen shears to cut out leaf shapes. Reshape each leaf to smooth the edges and pinch the bottom of each leaf. Then, use the knife to add a small line down the center of each leaf.

Stems are best cut using the scissors and shaped in your fingers. Trim the stems down to the right height and give them a little bend.

Little apple treats as after school snack for kids

Attach leaves and stems to each apple “cake” pop using a toothpick to add a tiny bit of melted chocolate to the top as glue. Hold leaves in place until firm

Serve Your Date Ball “Cake” Pops

Finished apple "cake" pops for back to school party

Who knew a date ball could be so much fun!? Did you? My guess is you've never tried it, and I think you probably should. What do you have to lose? A couple of dates and a dirty food processor. But just in case your family loves them too, it might just become a regular snack recipe.

These little powerball dates pack a lot of nutrition with protein, sustained energy with no blood sugar spike, and taste a little like you're eating dessert. What's not to love?

If you try it out, let me know in the comments below. And if you share, I want to see! Please tag @partieswithacause on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. We love showing off all your hard work and are so happy to be part of your celebration.

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Darling pencil shaped pencil holder from Target's Dollar Spot

More Back to School Party Ideas

Back to School Party Table

Back to school themed party table

Apple Sandwiches With Peanut Butter and Granola

Apple sandwiches rolled in granola with sprinkles

Pencil Shaped Fruit Tray Design for Back to School

Finished pencil fruit tray at back to school party

Pin it for Later

Healthy after school snack date ball "cake" pops
Until next time my friend! Signature and photo

Healthy Chocolate Date “Cake” Pops

These delicious little chocolate truffles are actually good for you!
Prep Time30 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate, healthy treat, no bake
Servings: 12 truffles

Equipment

  • Food processor

Ingredients

For Base Chocolate Date Ball Truffles

  • 10 Medjool Dates
  • 1 cup Pecans
  • 6 Tb Dark cocoa powder

Optional Flavoring

  • 3 drops Peppermint essential oil or flavoring

For Apple Cake Pops

  • 4 large White chocolate melting squares
  • 4 drops Pink or red food coloring
  • 1 Green Airheads candy or fondant
  • 12 Paper straws or candy sticks

Instructions

Base Chocolate Date Balls

  • Blend pecans in food processor until crumbly but not oily
  • Chop dates and add to food processor and blend until smooth. **If dates are older and a little hard, soak them for 20+ minutes in warm water before chopping and blending.**
  • Add cocoa powder and flavoring, if using, and again blend well, scraping the sides if necessary.
  • Dough will look like black sand. Take 1-1/2 tablespoons and roll into a ball with your hands. Dough will need to be kneaded a bit and pressed together.
  • Final date ball should appear shiny and smooth

For Cake Pops

  • Use the date balls to create a cake pop by adding a straw or candy stick to each ball
  • Melt your white {or dark} chocolate square in the microwave in a small glass container with tall sides, like my mini pitcher. This will insure better dipping coverage without wasting chocolate.
  • After the chocolate is melted add your food coloring if desired. I prefer to use natural food colorings but liquid drops or gel work just fine too.
  • Dip the ball into the chocolate while moving around and pressing in towards the sides to push the chocolate upwards to the top of the ball. Using a spoon to ladle chocolate over the top will work fine too. You may not have as smooth a finished product if you do that however.
  • Allow the excess chocolate to drip off the bottom and place cake pop in a stand for chocolate to harden

For Apple Cake Pops

  • If you'd like to take it one step further and create a fun little back to school treat you can create a candy leaf and stem for these darling apple cake pops!
  • Unwrap a green Airhead candy and place between two pieces of wax paper
  • Roll with rolling pin until uniform thickness
  • Using knife or kitchen scissors cut leaf shapes from the candy sheet and reform with your fingers pinching the bottom of the leaves flatter to lay on the cake pop. Press the knife softly in the center of each leaf to create a line
  • Cut tiny strips of candy with the scissors and roll in your fingers for each stem.
  • Using a toothpick add a tiny bit of melted chocolate as glue to the tops of each cake pop and affix the leaf and stem for all the apples.
  • Serve and enjoy!

For More Fun {and healthy} After School Snacks:

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Gingerbread houses in a row as table runner centerpiece for a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party I’m Bri of Parties With A Cause. I’m a mother to three crazy awesome kids, interior designer, & party planning junky. I love reading, globe trotting, and frozen yogurt. And I’m elevating the party experience one cause at a time! Read More

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