Tea Time. The words bring to mind, delicate, dainty, white, sugary treats. Paired with a dark black cup of tea to counteract the sweetness from the treats. Who doesn't enjoy it, but later finds that their blood sugar is sky high, they are still hungry because those quick carbs have worn off and you are craving even more of those sweet treats.
A favorite on the tea time platter is chocolate and hazelnuts. Well move on over Nutella because these Chocolate Hazelnut Dainty Date Bites (also known as date balls) are taking over at tea time. These healthy tea time treats are sure to be the perfect fit with your cup of Earl Grey or English Breakfast Tea without leaving that sugar coma hang over.
About 6 years ago we were traveling abroad to visit the little lady that would eventually be our daughter. You see my husband and I have never been able to have children of our own. Our family of 6 grew through adoption. Back to that little lady though. She was born in Bulgaria where she spent the first 3.5 years of her life. We were headed back from meeting our Bulgarian princess and had planned a two day lay over in Rome on the way back home.
Ahh Rome, there is no place like Rome! Let me tell ya what, two days wasn't long enough there. While with four adopted children and a farm, we will probably not get to return so the two days we had I will take! Memories flood with the gelato shop, the authentic Italian cuisine in front of Trevi Fountain with the most handsome Farmer in the books, but there were also the street side crepe carts.
Pssst... We must interrupt this story real quickly! This post may contain affiliate links. What that means that some links are directed to sources that provide us with a little money that helps to support our farm and family. There is no additional cost to you should you decide to purchase anything. And... we thank you if you do! Ok back to the story.....
Ahh crepes! We ate them for months on end after we got back home. There just was nothing better than a crepe! Crepes are so versatile too! They can be savory or sweet and anything may be stuffed into them.
Well in Rome, and perhaps even in France, Nutella was the item to be stuffing inside of these crepes. And who can blame them? Nutty and chocolatey goodness! Thick and creamy. It makes for the perfect item to stuff in a crepe!
You see though, this girl is on a mission. Healthy and nutritious food is on the list for keeping this adoptive mother of four, home schooler, homesteader and home business owner from being ill any more than need be. Nutella my friends, is not health food. I know, I'm sorry to have to say that. Sadly Nutella is full of things like palm oil (essentially shrink wraps your pancreas), Soy (bad news if not organic and fermented - google soy and breast cancer!), milk (quality of such unknown and most likely not from grass fed cows) and sugar. Oh sugar you tasty drug that is in EVERYTHING. With a sugar allergy topping my list of ailments Nutella isn't allowed on my pantry self.
No worries though! As it's said, where there is a will there is a way! There is still a healthy chocolate hazelnut option to be had and enjoyed with tea to boot!
Here in Oregon we have tons of hazelnut orchards! Some of them are mature enough to provide quite the bounty but new ones are going in all of the time. We are in hazelnut (or as some people call them filbert) country! Our friends over at King Fresh Produce have been supplying us with local hazelnuts for our Mountain Hazel Not Coffee and Chocolate Conniption Not Coffee. We love featuring this local ingredient as well as helping out their family farm.
These hazelnuts are also the base of our Chocolate Hazelnut Dainty Date Bites paired with some raw organic cocoa and organic dates. No sugar here, just sweet dates and some raw honey. Joining these healthful ingredients is also some of our Chocolate Conniption Not Coffee and astragalus root.
Yep you got that right, we are putting some tea INSIDE OF OUR DESSERT! (Want to learn more about cooking with tea? Check out more recipes here!)
Our Chocolate Conniption Not Coffee is an herbal tea that tastes similar to coffee. Our chocolate version is made from the same base as our Mountain Hazel Not Coffee. It's like an old school coffee, if you will. Before coffee beans were abundant and popular a drink of dandelion and chicory root tea was drunk much like coffee is now. In fact if you are in the south you may even find coffee mixed with chicory still!
These two roots when roasted have extraordinary flavor and pack some nutritional punch as stated here on Healthline.com.
When adding this tea to this recipe we are going to grind it up along with astragalus root in a coffee grinder before adding it to our recipe!
What is astragalus root you say? Astragalus is a root that is commonly used in soups, teas, and extracts that comes from a plant you may know as Milk Vech. According to NCCIH astragalus has been used for "diarrhea, fatigue, anorexia, upper respiratory infections, heart disease, hepatitis, fibromyalgia, and as a complimentary therapy for cancer." In the herbal world it is also known to be an adaptogen which means that it helps during times of stress and change. It's a nice gentle herb to help with many things and rather than taking it as a tea or tincture we are going to eat it in this tea time treat! As Hippocrates is famous for saying, "Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food."
We get our astragalus from Starwest Botanicals and it can be found here, but you are welcome to leave it out as well! It will not change the flavor profile one way or the other. In the same regard, any herbal coffee replacement will do as well. We used to drink this one here before we created our Hazel Not Coffee blends. Or if you want, coffee grounds will work as well but will add caffeine and remove the benefits the herbs give this treat.
These yummy bites are not just great for a healthy tea time treat but they are also great to pack for hiking, on the road, and in lunches for both children and adults. Instead of rolling into balls they may also be formed into a baking dish and cut into bars or used as a crust for your cheesecake, tarts, and pies! This is such a versatile recipe and so without further ado....
Dainty Date Bites
- 1 cup hazelnuts
- 30 dates, pitted
- 1 tablespoon herbal coffee
- 1 tablespoon raw, local honey
- 1/8 cup raw cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon astragalus root, ground (optional)
- Place hazelnuts in a food processor and process until flour-like but before turning into nut butter.
- Add in the cocoa powder, ground astragalus root if using, and herbal coffee or ground Hazel Not Coffee of choice. Process until mixed evenly.
- Add raw honey, vanilla extract, and dates. Process until well combined and mixture starts to stick together somewhat.
- Gather approximately 1/8 cup of mixture and squeeze together in hands to form a ball. Roll around in the palm of the hand to even the shape out a bit. Continue on through 12 dainty date bites.
- Place dainty date bites in unbleached mini paper cups for storage and display. Enjoy with your favorite cup of tea and good friends!
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