These clusters of almonds and a sweet date filling are all wrapped up in a blanket of rich dark chocolate. They’re rustic little treats, unfussy in form and with a bit of whimsy added by a topping of ground almonds, crushed garden rose petals, and pink salt (optional, of course). As far as chocolates go, these give a nod to healthful eating as the filling is made only of nuts and fruit. Vegan and paleo diets alike approve, but don’t think these are any less dessert worthy as any other chocolate confection; a caramel-like filling with the crunch of almonds to boot make these the very best kind of irresistible.
Dark Chocolate Almond and Date Clusters
makes about twenty clusters
12 medjool dates, pitted
3 tablespoons salted almond butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup dark chocolate chips
About 1 cup whole roasted almonds, five or six for each chocolate
Toppings or decorations (I ground up some slivered almonds, dried rose petals from my garden, and alaea salt together with a mortar and pestle and sprinkled a pinch over each chocolate)
In a food processor, blend the dates, almond butter, and vanilla together until a smooth ball of date paste forms. On a parchment lined baking sheet, divide the date paste into twenty pieces approximately equal in size. Once divided, roll the pieces into balls and place them within even distance of one another.
Press into each ball of date paste five to six whole almonds, flattening the date paste and forming a spherical cluster. Do this for each piece, then place the baking sheet into the freezer for twenty minutes.
When the clusters are chilled and firm, melt the chocolate either in a double boiler or a microwave, stirring every so often to ensure even melting. With a fork, place each cluster into the melted chocolate, coating entirely, then tap off any excess. Place back onto the baking sheet and immediately sprinkle with whatever toppings you have on hand. Do this for each piece, then place them back into the freezer until completely hardened. Keep in the freezer or refrigerator until serving.