#WhitworthAdvent: Will you have a date this Christmas?

I visited a food market some time ago and had an incredibly delicious chocolate covered, stuffed date. The thick milk chocolate perfectly cracked with the first bite, followed by the rush of sweetness from the Medjool date, and finished with a smooth, sweet biscuity spread. I loved the sweetness – although more than one could easily be sickly sweet. Taking inspiration, I decided to make my own and based it on the classic peanut and caramel-based chocolate bar, with a nutty extra.

It takes a takes a little bit of patience but these dates are worth the wait.

Prep time: 20-30 minutes

Wait Time: Approx 3 hours or over night

Ingredients

– 15 Medjool Dates
– 100g Dark Chocolate (70% Cocoa solids minimum)
– 80g Crunchy Peanut Butter
– 100g Pecans

Equipment

– Medium Sized Heatproof Bowl
– Bowl or plate
– Saucepan
– Frying pan
– Chopping Board
– Knife
– Butterknife or tsp
– Wooden spoon
– Oven Mitts
– Greaseproof paper
– Tupperware

Method

1. Heat up a frying pan to a medium heat and pour in your pecans. Stir and flip your pecans for about 4-5 minutes. They should become slightly darker brown and become more brittle.

2. Transfer your pecans to a plate or bowl and allow to cool before handling.

3. Once cool, place onto your chopping board and chop the pecans finely into small pieces, then transfer back onto your plate or bowl

4. Fill up 1/3 of your saucepan with cold water and let it heat to a simmer

5. Start by pitting your dates on a chopping board. Use a knife to create a vertical incision into the dates and remove the stones in the centre.

6. Once pitted, use a butterknife or tsp to transfer crunchy peanut butter from the jar to fill the dates. If the filling overflows, don’t worry, it will be covered by chocolate later.

7. Break up the dark chocolate into small pieces and place inside the heatproof bowl. Move the bowl on top of the saucepan, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl, creating a Bain Marie.

8. The steam from the water should heat your bowl up and cause the chocolate to melt. Use a wooden spoon and stir the chocolate until all chunks and lumps smooth out into a glossy chocolate sauce.

9. Once melted, put on your oven mitts and transfer the bowl onto a heat-resistant surface.

10. This is where you will need to be quick. Pour the stuffed dates into the melted chocolate and use a spoon to evenly coat them all. Then spoon out your coated dates (one by one) onto your pecans and and coat them in the crumb using a spoon or your hands. Once done, transfer to a Tupperware box lined with greaseproof paper (I didn’t do this first time round when I took this photo so, sadly, I had the pleasure of trying to pull them apart from the box!)

11. Allow them to cool for about 10 minutes, then pop them in the freezer for 3 hours or over night. This will cause the sugar in the dates to freeze and give it a thick, almost gooey like texture.

12. They’re best eaten from frozen, but if you find it difficult, you can do the same in the fridge for a less hardened texture.

I love to see how you get on, please share your photos with us at @WhitworthArt – Enjoy!

– Jason

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