I’m Nuts About Hazel so I Took Her on a Date

April 19 , 2015 by: Amber Trudeau Candy

Even I’m saying “groan” about that title, I’m just off my game in the pun department this week. Feel free to offer your own (presumably much better) hazelnut and/or date related puns in the comments below 🙂 .

These little doozies have no added sugar if you care about such things. Which of course is not to say they’re good for you, I wouldn’t exactly call maraschino cherries a health food, but for those who are slightly less über sweet inclined, these might be just the recipe for you. I also enjoy anything that’s super easy to scale up or down depending on your needs. Need to make 100 for a crazy party you’re throwing? Just buy extra cherries and hazelnuts! Need to make 1 or 2 because you’re having a crazy dessert/chocolate craving? Just make less (although who are you kidding, these are so easy to make you might as well make a few extra for later too….or convince yourself that you’ll save them for later, but in reality, eat them immediately so that no one’s the wiser and you don’t need to share even one delicious morsel. If anyone questions the chocolate smeared all over your face after, you just tell them it’s the newest beauty regime and you’re wearing a chocolate mask ’cause you’re all cutting edge like that 😉 ).


Though I toasted the hazelnuts because I really love toasted hazelnuts, if you wanted to make these raw as well, it would be perfectly acceptable to skip the toasting step and just use raw hazelnuts.


Hazelnut Cherry Date Balls

Yield: 40 


  • 40 whole toasted hazelnuts
  • 40 maraschino cherries (or about half a jar), drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup toasted hazelnut to be ground into hazelnut meal
  • 15-16 chopped dates (approximately 1 cup once chopped)
  • 1.5 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp coconut oil


1. To toast hazelnuts: Preheat oven to 350F. Spread 1 cup + 40 hazelnuts on a baking sheet. Toast for about 10 minutes or until they start to slightly brown and they have a deliciously toasted aroma. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes.

2. To “de-skin” toasted hazelnuts: Place in a tea towel and fold up the corners like a hobo package. Rub vigorously. This should remove most of the skins (it’s completely fine if there’s still bits of hazelnut skin stuck on anyway since it’s perfectly edible).

3. After draining and rinsing the cherries, using a paper towel, dry the cherries as much as you can (you don’t need to be too picky here, but you don’t want them to still be dripping wet). Slice about halfway through the middle of each  maraschino cherry and place a whole toasted hazelnut into the centre and place on a baking sheet about an inch apart.

4. Place baking sheet in the freezer (or fridge would probably be ok too) while making the hazelnut chocolate date paste.

5. In a food processor, add the cup of toasted hazelnuts, chopped dates, cocoa powder and 1/3 cup chocolate chips. Process until everything is completely broken down and smoothly incorporated.

6. Remove baking sheet from the freezer. Using a small cookie scoop or a tablespoon, take just enough of the hazelnut-date paste to mould around the hazelnut filled cherry and roll into a ball shape. Return ball to the baking sheet.

7. Return tray to the freezer and freeze (or refrigerate) until completely firm (30-60 minutes).

8. Place 2 cups of chocolate chips and coconut oil in the top of a double boiler and melt until smooth.

9. Remove tray from the freezer and dip each ball into the melted chocolate until completely coated, shaking off any excess chocolate. Return to baking sheet.

10. Return tray to the fridge or freezer and chill until chocolate is set.

11. Store in the refrigerator.


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About Amber

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Hi, I'm Amber Trudeau.  I bake.... a lot.

I'm also vegan, and found that whenever I went out to a restaurant my dessert choices were limited to sorbet, sorbet, and sorbet.  So I started making my own desserts. I wanted them to taste good though - so my ultimatum was to make delicious desserts that also happen to be dairy-free and egg-free. Every week or so, I challenge myself to try something new.  To recreate some kind of traditional dessert that tastes amazing without using animal products.

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