Often overlooked, and frequently misunderstood, dates rarely get the attention they deserve. Oft the fruit, with origins in the Middle East, is relegated to Grandma’s Christmas fruit cake — or worse yet, compared to a prune. Until recently their untapped potential even eluded me, but over recent weeks I’ve been working hard to make up for lost time.
Today, in hopes of satisfying my omnipresent sweet-tooth, I turned to the date (and dark chocolate) in a remarkably simple yet composed treat — salted dark chocolate dates stuffed with toasted almonds. What you’ll need:
- One package stoned-dates (pitted)
- 1 1/2 cups dark-chocolate morsels (Ghirardelli or Hershey’s)
- 1 cup whole almonds, raw
- Coarse sea salt
Prep your kitchen, lining a baking sheet with parchment paper and fashioning a double-boiler on your stove top. To fashion a double boiler, nest a metal kitchen bowl over a kitchen pot filled with approximately an inch and a half of water. The double boiler uses steam to heat the chocolate — helping to keep it from burning.
Begin by toasting the raw almonds. I prefer to use a small iron skillet heated to medium, tossing almonds with a little olive oil and salt until toasty.
Pour the dark-chocolate morsels into the double boiler over medium to medium-low heat. While chocolate is melting, cut dates in half — producing pieces roughly the length of an almond.
Stuff the toasted almonds into the date pieces, essentially replacing the pit with an almond.
Dredge the stuffed dates in the melted dark chocolate, coating completely. Remove with a fork and let drip thoroughly before placing on parchment paper to cool.
Before the chocolate coating dries, sprinkle the stuffed dates with coarse sea salt. Let rest in a cool, dry place for at least an hour or until chocolate is set.