YIELD: About 2 dozen small 3/4-inch bites

PREP TIME: 5 minutes

COOK TIME: 0 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 10 minutes


2/3 cup cashews (I use raw, unsalted, whole from Trader Joe’s)
1/3 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1 cup soft, moist medjool dates, pitted and loosely packed (I used 20 medium dates)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 to 4 tablespoons agave nectar, or as necessary (maple syrup, honey, yacon, or corn syrup may be substituted but all impart more flavor than agave)
sprinkles for dredging, optional (many brands are inherently vegan)


  1. To the canister of a food processor or Vita-Mix (I prefer my food processor for this job), add the cashews, cocoa powder, and blend to pulverize into fine crumbs, about 15 seconds. Do not over-process because you will make chocolate-cashew butter very quickly.
  2. Add the dates, vanilla, and process until mixture begins to combine. It’s likely the mixture will be sandy, coarse and not combining. As necessary to get it to combine, add agave, one tablespoon at a time, pulsing to incorporate after each addition.
  3. You’ll know the consistency is right when the dough combines into a softball-sized mound and the mound travels around the canister in one big ball. It will still be tacky and sticky, but it shouldn’t be wet and sloppy. Dough that resembles the consistency of nut butter is too runny and loose and dry ingredients must be added to help it solidify. Add a tablespoon or two more cocoa powder or cashews, as necessary, to dry out the dough. Dough that’s too pebbly, dry, or sandy will benefit from anther couple dates or tablespoon of agave, as necessary, to moisten it.
  4. Transfer dough to a plate or bowl, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 1 week, before rolling into balls. Dough that’s warm is difficult to work with; it’s stickier, messier, and it leaves a chocolate paste-like layer on your hands. Wait until it’s chilled before pulling off small hunks and rolling between palms until smooth. Work quickly because the warmer the dough gets, the harder it is to roll. I roll the balls about 3/4-inch in diameter, up to 1-inch.
  5. Optionally, dredge balls through sprinkles. This has the added benefit of absorbing some of the tackiness or stickiness of the dough.
  6. I prefer the bites chilled and store them in the refrigerator. Bites will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for many weeks, or in the refrigerator for many months, or in the freezer for 6+ months.

Credits : Averie Cooks

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