These Vegan Molasses “Cookie” Date Balls are sticky and naturally sweet from the minced up dates, and spicy from fresh ginger. Blackstrap molasses gives them an intense, dark sweetness and it is one of the staples I included in the Essential Kosher and Vegan Pantry List.
During the pandemic, I have been craving sweets. This is one of the recipes I created and have relied on for my own sweet tooth and for my daughter. We keep them in a freezer and enjoy them every day as a treat.
Saying YES to our sweet tooth
As I wrote here, it is better to embrace than deny sweet cravings. This does not mean eating unlimited candy bars, but finding healthy recipes which give you the flavor you are craving. Ways that I have been managing pandemic sweet tooth are:
Eating food that makes me and my family feel good and gives us stable energy throughout the day
Finding a balance between food which will keep us well and treats which will bring us comfort
I had a babysitter when I was young that made the most delicious molasses cookies. Since then it has been a favorite. Traditional molasses cookies are flat, round and chewy. The flavor profile is spicy with ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. And of course, they traditionally contain plenty of brown sugar, butter and egg
These healthier Vegan Molasses “Cookie” Date Balls
My diet has changed considerably since my childhood enjoyment of traditional molasses cookies. So, I created these Vegan Molasses “Cookie” Date Balls. They give all the same deep flavor, sweetness and spice, but without the refined sugar and animal products. They contain oats or quinoa flakes depending on your preference. Soft, sticky dried prunes, currants and raisins give the texture and sweetness. Fresh minced ginger gives a bright and fiery heat. You can choose to add even more heat with chili flakes, or leave them out for a tamer version!
I like to make a large batch and store them in the freezer. Allow them to thaw for 10 minutes before serving – or nibble straight from the freezer for a firmer texture.
A note about Molasses
Molasses is actually a byproduct of the sugar making process. Its sweetness is longer lasting than more refined sugar, and it has significantly more vitamin and mineral content too.
Molasses is basically the leftover syrup after the sugarcane or sugar beet syrup has been boiled to extract all the sugar. Blackstrap molasses is the byproduct of the third boiling cycle, so contains the least sugar of all molasses varieties. It also has the most vitamins, minerals, and the darkest most sticky, gloopy texture.
This Vegan Molasses “Cookie” Date Ball recipe is the ideal base to experiment with and vary to suit your taste. Here are some suggestions:
Add ⅛ tsp chili powder to the blender to add an intense firey kick to the date balls
Stir ½ cup chopped raisins or currants after you blend the dates, oats and molasses in the blender the to add texture and bite
Add crushed nuts to the blended mixture for more protein and texture
Roll the finished date balls in chia seeds, crushed or ground nuts for more texture and nutrition
Kosher-for-Passover Version of Vegan Molasses “Cookie” Date Balls
Instead of oats, you can use quinoa flakes to make this recipe kosher for Passover. I could not find quinoa flakes in Cambodia so I was going to postpone this recipe until I could get them. At the same moment, a delightful woman named Tammy (who I met on the Jewish Food Hero Newsletter List) offered to test a recipe for me. So, I gave Tammy this one to try out with quinoa flakes. Here are her photos with all the coating options.
Tammy’s feedback on the recipe was: “Quick, easy and tasty treat – these are hard to mess up! I put them in the fridge to chill for one hour, and then forgot until the next day. Set them on the counter about 15 minutes, then rolled into balls, and rolled into different toppings. Plain, powdered sugar, cocoa powder and then my husband’s favorite, cocoa powder AND powdered sugar!!”