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  • Prep-time: / Ready In:
  • Makes 12 bites

Big flavor can come in small packages, and such is the case with these Mexican chocolate treats. Medjool dates naturally have a deep, caramel-like flavor that pairs perfectly with rich maple syrup, warming cinnamon, and smoky chili powder to create single-serving desserts that are packed full of spicy sweetness. Lightly dusting each little ball with cocoa looks prettier on the plate, but you can roll them in the cocoa for a more intense chocolate experience. Perfect for a midday pick-me-up snack or sweet ending to a big meal. 

Tip: You can make these treats gluten-free by using certified gluten-free rolled oats.


  • 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
  • ⅓ cup quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder


  1. Place dates in a medium bowl; add boiling water to cover. Let stand 10 minutes. Drain dates well. Place in a food processor with the next five ingredients (through cinnamon). Process until smooth.
  2. Drop date mixture by tablespoons onto waxed paper. Moisten hands with water and roll each bite into a ball. Dust the bites with cocoa. Place bites in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to serve or up to 1 week, or freeze up to 1 month.

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Nancy Macklin, RDN

Nancy Macklin has a bachelor of science in dietetics from Iowa State University and a Master of Science in health services administration from the University of Saint Francis. Macklin worked as a hospital-based clinical dietitian, providing counseling for diabetes, heart disease, and weight loss and as a food service director in health care dining sites. She now serves as a test kitchen dietitian, developing 500+ recipes per year. She is a member of the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics and International Association of Culinary Professionals. Find her on LinkedIn.

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