This recipe calls for a chunk of raw coconut -- but this is optional, including it, will keep the balls from freezing too solidly and being hard to eat right out of the freezer, but if you don't have fresh coconut on hand you can leave it out and they will still be delicious. I buy a fresh coconut every once in awhile, and remove all the flesh and cut it into various sized chunks and put these in a plastic bag in the freezer, where they stay quite well for many months -- then when I need some for a recipe like this one -- I just pull out a piece.
This photo shows a Daiya Cheesecake, surrounded by my Chocolate Black Bean Brownies and these Chocolate Coconut Date Balls. As you can see, together they make a lovely presentation!
If you do not have a powerful blender, then you will need to chop the dates well first, and stop occasionally to mix things by hand, and then blend again. You might also want to process this in batches too so it doesn't overwhelm a smaller blender. The trick to having an easy clean up is putting just the dates and the cocoa powder into the blender and pulsing it for a bit, until the dates turn into rice-sized chunks each coated in powder -- so that they are kind of like crumbles rather than a sticky mess. Once you get to that point, then you can add the nuts and process on high until it becomes smooth. If you do it right, it will turn into one large glob, that sticks so well to itself that you can just lift it out of the blender, without leaving any of it behind.
2 cups loosely packed dried deglet dates, pits removed
1/2 -- 2/3 cup cocoa powder (depending upon how rich you like them)
1 /2 cup raw cashew pieces
1/4 cup raw almonds OR raw walnuts
1 inch square of fresh raw coconut flesh (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1/2 cup dried organic shredded coconut (Let's Do Organics has no additives.)
1) Place the dates and cocoa (or carob) powder into a powerful blender and pulse it on and off until you have a crumbly mixture.
2) Add the cashews and almonds or walnuts and the fresh coconut piece if using it. Process on high until it starts to get smooth. If you have a Vitamix, use the tamper to help get it well blended.
3) Add the vanilla and process just enough to mix it in.
4) Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and toss the shredded coconut into the bowl as well. Grab thumb-sized portions of the chocolate and dab it into the coconut until all sides are covered, then roll it into a nice ball using both hands -- dipping it into the coconut as needed to keep it from sticking to your hands.
As soon as all the balls are rolled up, store them in the freezer. They are best if served frozen