Chocolate covered stuffed Medjool dates make for a really tasty dessert or snack. This is a recipe for two varieties of stuffed dates - one with an orange baklava filling, and the other with rose infused tahini paste, both covered in chocolate and topped with nuts and rose petals.
This week, millions of Muslims around the world are observing Ramadan. Often, dates are consumed to open the daily fast. As Amsterdam has a large Muslim population, the markets and shops are filled with an abundance of succulent dates. This stuffed date recipe uses the juiciest variety of dates - medjool dates.
I first came across stuffed dates in the early 2000's during my first trip to Dubai. Every shop had beautiful shiny boxes filled with embellished dates, so of course I bought a bag full and got hooked immediately. Even though dates were always in my mum's kitchen, medjool dates were a rare find in Scotland back then. Now, medjool dates can be found in most grocery stores, and you bet we always have a pack by our fruit bowl.
These chocolate covered stuffed dates are simple to make, although chilling time adds to the process. The first thing to prepare are the dates. Medjool work the best as they are soft and big in size, although this recipe will work for any. Slice one side of the date with a paring knife to create a slit, and remove the pit.
Next, is preparing the two stuffings. For the rose infused tahini paste, mix the tahini with a pinch of cardamom powder and a little rosewater until its homogenous. It will thicken as stirred. The second date stuffing is the baklava filling. Baklava is possibly my favorite dessert so stuffing it in a date just made sense! Of course, there is no filo pastry involved, so it's much straight forward. To make baklava stuffing, mince nuts in a food processor or using a knife until they are in small pieces but not powdered. Then, add browned melted butter. This gives an enhanced rich and nutty flavor to the baklava filling. Finally, add honey, orange zest, orange juice, salt and ground cinnamon to the nuts and mix until fully combined - so good even on its own!
Once the dates are stuffed, allow them to chill in a freezer for around thirty minutes so they firm up. In the meantime, you can prepare the toppings. I used finely chopped rose petals, and grated pistachios to top the tahini stuffed dates, and orange zest and grated walnuts for the baklava stuffed dates - this is entirely optional, but I think its nice to top with some of the stuffing ingredients so you know what to expect when biting into the date! You can use sesame seeds instead of pistachios but I love the pop of green!
Lastly, melt the chocolate using the double boiler method by placing chocolate and a little coconut oil in a bowl, set over a pot of water on a low simmer. This prevents the chocolate from burning. Adding coconut oil helps melt the chocolate smoothly, and lends a softer consistency once the chocolate sets.
The next step is covering the dates with melted chocolate. This can be such a fun indoor activity for kids. I used both white chocolate and milk chocolate - you can use whatever you like, even color the chocolate. This can get messy so use a skewer to hold the chilled stuffed dates, then spoon over the melted chocolate. I left the underside uncovered but you can dip the entire date in chocolate if you like. As soon as you have dipped the stuffed date in the chocolate, sprinkle over the topping so that it sets into the chocolate and dries with it. Once all of the stuffed dates are covered in chocolate, leave them in the fridge to set for around an hour.
Not only do these chocolate covered tahini and baklava stuffed dates taste good, but they look absolutely divine! You can serve these stuffed dates as a dessert with vanilla ice cream, on their own as a snack, or as a homemade gift to friends, especially during Ramadan like I have done.
Wishing my Muslim friends Ramadan Mubarak.
Chocolate Covered Baklava & Tahini Stuffed Dates
Prep Time: 20 min Total Time: 1 hour Yield: 20 dates
20 medjool dates
Rose Infused Tahini Stuffing
3 heaped tablespoons tahini
1/2 teaspoon rose water
pinch of ground cardamom
1 heaped tablespoon pistachios
1 heaped tablespoon walnuts
1 heaped tablespoon almonds
pinch of salt
pinch of cinnamon
1 tablespoon melted browned butter
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
200g melted chocolate of choice
1 1/2 teaspoons coconut oil
4 finely grated pistachios
4 finely grated walnuts
handful of rose petals, finely chopped
Make the rose infused tahini stuffing by mixing the tahini, rose water and cardamom until fully combined. Set aside.
Make the baklava stuffing by chopping the nuts finely, or mincing them in the food processor.
Melt the butter on medium heat until it begins to brown then switch off the gas. The butter will continue to brown from the heat so it's important to switch the heat off as soon as it starts to brown. Add to the chopped nuts.
Add the remaining ingredients - salt, cinnamon, orange juice, orange zest, and honey to the bowl of nuts and butter, and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
Now, prepare the dates. Carefully make a cut into the middle of all the dates, and pull the seeds out. Open the dates a little by pushing gently.
Now, stuff the dates with the two different stuffings - 10 with rose infused tahini, and 10 with the baklava stuffing.
Place these onto a flat tray, cover then put them into the freezer for thirty minutes to firm.
Meanwhile, prepare the toppings. Using a microplane, grate the nuts and place the two kinds into two separate bowls.
Finely chop the rose petals using a knife, or you can use a spice grinder.
Set aside some orange zest.
Now, melt the chocolate. Place a pot of water on medium heat until it starts to boil. Switch off the heat and place a heat safe bowl on top containing the chocolate and coconut oil. Stir until fully melted, then set aside, keeping it on top of the water. If you are using multiple varieties of chocolate, repeat this process for all.
Take out the dates from the freezer.
Using a skewer, pierce the date and then spoon over the melted chocolate.
Place the chocolate covered date onto parchment paper, then immediately add a dusting of the toppings - adding the grated walnuts and orange zest to the baklava stuffed dates, and rose petals and pistachios to the rose infused tahini ones. The toppings will set as the chocolate does, so it's important to decorate right after dipping in chocolate.
Repeat on all dates.
Place the dates in the fridge until fully set and enjoy. If you would like to further decorate with more chocolate, you can do so at this stage.