Choosing healthier sweeteners is an easy way to ensure your dessert is diet-friendly. Dates are a whole food containing vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants, micronutrients, fiber, and water, unlike refined sweeteners, which boast none of these beneficial qualities and have been linked to the development of numerous diseases.

The date fruit is one of the oldest cultivated tree crops and has been grown for thousands of years. By using whole dates, it is possible to satisfy your sweet tooth, healthfully and deliciously, without ever using sugar. Even though dates are a high sugar fruit, research shows that they are still the most favorable sweetener, and do not raise blood glucose or triglycerides. One of our favorite ways to use dates in a dessert is with these decadent peanut butter fudge truffles that are easy to make and contain only five ingredients.

Your recipe developer, Chef AJ, lost 100 pounds and kept it off by eating a plant-based diet rich in whole foods, and shares one of her famous diet-friendly desserts made with all-natural ingredients. The secret to losing weight for AJ was her low oil and high carb diet, full of potatoes and vegetable broth for sautéeing veggies, and this indulgent, yet healthier-for-you peanut butter fudge truffles!

Peanut Butter Fudge Truffles

Makes 6

Ingredients

  • 1 batch Chocolate FUNdue (recipe follows)
  • Chopped unsalted peanuts

Instructions

  1. Prepare the FUNdue, place in a glass bowl, and chill until firm. Use a small cookie scoop to form the FUNdue into balls and roll the balls in the chopped peanuts. Freeze until firm.

Chef’s Notes:

  • I like to put these in individual paper candy cups. I’ll also put these truffles inside See’s Candies boxes and fool people all the time!
  • You can make a raw version of these treats by using raw almond butter, raw cashew butter, or tahini.

Chocolate Fundue

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened, unsalted peanut butter
  • 1 cup Date Paste (recipe follows)
  • ½ cup cocoa powder or carob powder
  • 1 tablespoon alcohol-free vanilla extract, or 1 teaspoon vanilla powder
  • ¾ to 1 cup unsweetened nondairy milk

Instructions

  1. Place all the ingredients, except the milk, in a food processor fitted with the “S” blade and process just until they are incorporated, scraping down the sides of the processor bowl if necessary.
  2. Slowly add the nondairy milk, a little at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. You can eat this immediately or chill to get a firmer texture.

Chef’s Notes:

  • Serve this as a dip with your favorite fruit, such as cut apples or strawberries. Or buy wooden skewers and place several different fruits on them in shish-kabob style.
  • If you have leftover FUNdue, make Nutty Buddies (recipe follows) or Peanut Butter Fudge Truffles.
  • You can make a raw version by using raw almond butter or tahini.
  • To drastically reduce the fat, my friend Robin replaces half the nut butter with rinsed, drained cannellini beans. You could probably add even more beans and less nut butter, and it would still be delicious.
  • If you prefer not to use chocolate or carob, omit them, and make a creamy peanut butter dip.

Nutty Buddies

Tastes just like the frozen bananas from Disneyland, but you won’t have to Mouse around with your health.

Ingredients

  • Chocolate FUNdue
  • Chopped nuts or unsweetened coconut

Ingredients

  1. Place a stick in a peeled, ripe banana and coat it with the FUNdue, using your hands if necessary to coat evenly. Roll the banana in chopped nuts or unsweetened coconut, place on wax paper, and freeze until hard.

Chef’s Notes: If you don’t have sticks, slice the banana and make individual pieces

Date Paste

Make sure you always have some of this on hand to create a healthy dessert in no time.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pitted dates
  • 1 cup water, unsweetened nondairy milk, or unsweetened juice

Instructions

  1. Soak the dates in the liquid overnight or for several hours, until much of the liquid has been absorbed. In a food processor fitted with the “S” blade, process the dates and liquid until completely smooth. Store Date Paste in the refrigerator.

Chef’s Notes: You can add vanilla extract or vanilla powder to your Date Paste if you like.

Nutritionals 

Calories 528 | Total Fat 24.8g | Saturated Fat 6.2g | Cholesterol 0mg | Sodium 27mg | Total Carbohydrates 48.5g | Dietary Fiber 10.2g | Total Sugars 31.2g | Protein 17.2g | Calcium 105mg | Iron 4mg | Potassium 623mg |

Chef AJ is an expert in healthy plant-based eating and has been devoted to a plant-exclusive diet for over 43 years. A former self-proclaimed food addict, her approach helped her lose more than 100 pounds and keep it off. As a culinary instructor, AJ is the host of the television series Healthy Living with CHEF AJ that airs on Foody TV and the author of Unprocessed: How to Achieve Vibrant Health and Your Ideal Weight. Follow her on YouTube.