Date-Hazelnut Balls with Chocolate-Coconut Ganache

Prep Time
Cook Time

After eating the peach tart with a nut-date crust that Julie made for us in Tofino, I needed to play in the kitchen. I’ve been looking for a snack for Lucy after her afternoon swim, something with protein, something slightly sweet without refined sugars, and something portable. The crust on that tart took so little time to make that I thought about rolling it into balls.

The balls themselves are easy to make and plenty good. Those are Lucy’s favorites. But Danny? He wanted chocolate ganache. Ganache sounds fancy, doesn’t it? Did you know that all you need to do to make chocolate ganache is combine chopped chocolate and hot coconut milk and stir? Ay goodness.

We used dark chocolate, the only kind I eat, with an 80% cocoa content. When Lucy took a bite, she immediately said, “You might want to add a little sugar to that.” Me? I like the bitterness, the darkness of these, and the tiny amount of added sugar. But if you want to give these to your kids, you might want to use a slightly less-dark chocolate. These would also make great bars. And a tart crust.


18 balls
for the date-hazelnut balls
9 pitted Medjool dates
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup raw hazelnuts
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon honey
pinch sea salt
for the chocolate-coconut ganache
3 ounces dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa content),chopped
3 ounces coconut milk


  1. Making the balls: Add the dates, almond flour, hazelnuts, walnuts, coconut oil, honey, and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Run the food processor until everything is mixed into a fine crumble. (But don’t mix it so far you make nut butter.) The mixture should stick together between your fingers but it should not gather into one ball. If the mixture feels too dry, add a teaspoon of water at a time. (If you are avoiding the honey, replace it with more coconut oil or water.)
  2. Grab a tablespoon’s worth of the nut mixture. Roll it into a ball between your hands. Put it on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat until you have formed all the balls.
  3. Freeze the balls until they are solid.
  4. Making the ganache: Put the chopped chocolate in a large bowl. Set a small pot over medium-high heat. Add the coconut milk to the pot. When the milk has come to a boil, turn off the heat. Pour the hot coconut milk over the chopped chocolate and stir it all up until you have a smooth chocolate ganache.
  5. Let the ganache cool enough to touch it. Twirl each date-hazelnut ball in the ganache, then set it on a cooling rack set over a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  6. Eat at room temperature for a soft ball that melts in the mouth. Refrigerate before eating for a more candy-like eating experience.
  7. Makes about 18 balls.