|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Servings: 2 dozen|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 5g||7%|
|Saturated Fat 2g||11%|
|Total Carbohydrate 14g||5%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||3%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
These date balls — also known as "skillet cookies" because the initial mixture is made on the stovetop before it's cooled slightly and rolled into mini-spheres covered in coconut — are likely to become a new family favorite. The crunchy date centers are rolled in coconut to make delicious no-bake treats.
These date and cereal confections often show up at parties, bake sales, and church events. They're especially appealing during the winter holidays because they don't need to be baked and, thus, free up valuable space in the oven for other types of holiday cookies, and they make a great addition to a casual dessert spread. The cookies get crunch from the crispy rice cereal and pecans, and the dates give them an amazing sweet flavor that's not overly cloying. If you need a nut-free cookie because of allergies, feel free to eliminate the nuts from the recipe.
- 1 cup dates, chopped (about 5 to 6 ounces)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups crispy rice cereal
- 3/4 cup pecans
- 1 cup flaked coconut, unsweetened
Combine the dates, sugar, butter, and beaten egg in a heavy skillet over low heat. While stirring constantly, cook for 5 to 7 minutes until the mixture is bubbly.
Remove the pan from the heat. Add the vanilla, rice cereal, and pecans and stir to combine thoroughly.
When the mixture is cool enough to handle but still warm, roll the mixture into small balls and then roll them in the coconut. Set them on a plate or baking sheet.
Let cool thoroughly before serving.
- Chop the dates quickly by running them through a food processor for a few seconds.
- Avoid using pre-chopped dates because they don't have as much moisture as whole dates. The moisture from the dates is a key part of making sure the cookies stick together when they've been rolled.
- Let the batter cool for a few minutes so the mixture is cool enough to handle, but don't let it cool entirely. Otherwise, it will be difficult to get the mixture out of the pan—it will stick to the metal—and roll into the shape that you want.
- To make the cookies dairy-free, replace the butter with a dairy-free buttery spread.
- If you don't have rice cereal on hand, use corn flakes or another type of unsweetened or just lightly sweetened crispy cereal.
- Cherry-date skillet cookies: Add a 1/2 cup drained and chopped maraschino cherries at the same time as the rice cereal.
- Kitchen sink date skillet cookies: Add crunchy or chewy ingredients of your choice—whatever's in your kitchen, hence its name, "Everything-but-the-kitchen-sink cookies"—to the batter. This might be other types of nuts, chocolate chips, seeds, dried fruit, or M&Ms.
- Allergy-free date skillet cookies: Eliminate the egg from the recipe if there are egg allergies. The cookies might not bind together quite as well, however. For nut allergies, eliminate the chopped pecans or replace them with your favorite type of seed or crushed pretzels for a similar crunch.