Not surprisingly, one of my favorite things about the whole workshop is the cookies & snacks break! I usually plan out which treats to make weeks before I’ve finalized any other details for the workshop. Ha ha. I love sharing vegan treats with other people! For the mini-retreat I always put a lot of thought into which treats to make. I know that people come to yoga to feel good and healthy, so I try to pick treats that aren’t super heavy or wildly indulgent. I also prefer to come up with treats that are gluten-free, so that everyone can just enjoy and feel included. Lastly, I try to make one treat that is more on the fruity spectrum, and one that has chocolate. Because I know some people don’t like chocolate, while other people (like me) don’t actually acknowledge treats unless chocolate is involved. Ha ha!
So, last weekend I made two special treats: Spiced Dates stuffed with Marmalade and Pistachios and Baci di Dama Cookies. Plus a bunch of organic mandarins from Trader Joe’s! You can’t go wrong with fruit!
This recipe is inspired by the amazing stuffed dates that my friends Heidi and Amy made when they catered our wedding. I had never forgotten how delicious those dates were, but hadn’t ever gotten around to recreating them. I asked them about those dates and got a good starting point. But then I couldn’t leave well enough alone and started adding more stuff. I was also thinking about the warming spices in panforte, one of my favorite treats. I was super stoked at how well these turned out!
15 Medjool Dates, cut in half, pits removed
1 cup raw pistachios
1/2 cup marmalade
2-4 Tbsp candied ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh lime zest
1/2 tsp fresh ginger
pinch white pepper
After halving and pitting the dates, mix together the remaining ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Add 1-2 tsp of mixture to the hollow pit of each date. Smoosh it in there a bit. Continue until all the dates are stuffed. If there is extra filling, you will just have to eat it with a spoon.
I also make special water – I usually look around online for fun ideas for fancy spa water. Everyone already knows about cucumber water… so I like to make something a little more. This time I made water with strawberries + cucumbers + fresh mint leaves + lime slices. It was great combo. Happily, there was a lot leftover, so we enjoyed it at home for the rest of the weekend. My mom found this big, beautiful water dispenser for me at a thrift store last year and I love it so much. It’s perfect for occasions like this.
These little “hamburger cookies” are actually called “Baci di Dama,” which means “Lady’s Kisses” in Italian. I used a recipe from David Leibowitz : https://www.davidlebovitz.com/baci-di-dama-cookies-recipe/
The only changes I made to the original recipe:
Instead of roasting my own hazelnuts, I used the Roasted Oregon Hazelnuts from Trader Joe’s. Man, those are seriously good hazelnuts. We can just plow our way through a bag of those in no time at all. Mmm. Hazelnuts are one of my favorites.
And instead of using a dairy-based butter, I used Miyoko’s Cultured Vegan Butter (also from Trader Joe’s).
The dough is quite delicate, but the result is a delicate cookie! If you wanted to make the whole thing a little more durable, you could probably use regular flour instead of rice flour. But obviously, using rice flour also results in a gluten-free cookie. I found that I had better luck making small rolls with my dough, and just working with patience and feeling non-rushed as I went. These charming and delicate little cookies are so cute and feel silly and sophisticated all at once! They look like tiny little hamburger UFO’s, all of which feels playful and fun… but once you pop them in your mouth, the flavors are delicate and grown-up — not very sweet, nutty, and a little blast of dark chocolate. Such a fun cookie.
I’m planning to teach another mini-retreat in July, so I guess I should start thinking about which treats to make next time! ha ha. Let me know if you try either of these treats!