The Gluten Free & Healthy Bon Bon

Feast your eyes on these nutritional details:

Sugar Free.
Casein Free.
Transfat, Saturated Fat Free.
(Possibly nut-free, if you so wish.)

A fudgey, delicious bon-bon.
Oh, your taste buds will thank you.

So, my friend Ginger has been on my mind. (And a little sweet birdie named Steve reminded me that tomorrow (2/11) is her birthday!).

I was thinking of all of the dietary challenges people face and how they are (or are not) accommodated by loved ones, friends or even the service industry. I started to think about Ginger and my wishes for her success as she follows her new diet.

And then I started thinking about MY diet. No, not the gluten-free version, but the healthy-living, gluten-free lifestyle. We’ve done a lot of changing in my house since the beginning of the school year in order to get our lives more organized and healthy. We’ve given up soda, drink more water, eat more fresh, raw veggies and fruit – OH! Fruit! I eat much more fruit. I think I used to be a bit of a fruit snob. Really. If I had one bad, untasty bite of fruit, I was unmotivated to eat the rest of it. Now I let my love pick out the fruit we eat. It’s genius. He picks out the fruit. I pick out the veggies.

But for sweet things?
Well, this is where the large bowl of fruit satisfies my Love usually. Sometimes it works for me too. But there are a few occasions when I really have to have some chocolate. Like *now* when I want it, not tomorrow when I can “get” it. (Okay, not really this moment because I had a wonderful fruit/yogurt/granola parfait for lunch and I am feeling quite satisfied, thankyouverymuch. LOL)

This weekend while thinking about Ginger and my cravings for sweets, I decided to make something she and I could both enjoy. It’s easy to make – and healthy too!

Those little bonbons you see? They are fudgy, delicious and unbelievably satisfying. And what makes it even more satisfying for me? It’s 3 ingredients and together they blissfully lack (1) sugar; (2) saturated fat and (3) sodium.

Go with me, now, those of you who are ready to bail. Trust me. You have to try these treats at home. I served them to two students who had no idea what was in them (they have no food allerigies/issues). They were convinced that they were eating fudge balls. Oh yea. They were shocked when I told them that they were eating dates. 😀

I hope you give these bonbons a whirl.
And if you get the chance, swing on over to wish Ginger a Happy Birthday.
Her little package of bonbons should be arriving about now too.

Gluten Free & Healthy Bon Bons
Recipe makes 36 teaspoon sized bon-bons

1 pound, super moist medjool dates
3/4 cup walnut halves (optional, but they add great Omega 3s!)
1/2 cup unsweetened, dark cocoa powder (+1/3 cup for rolling)

1. Cut the dates in half and remove the seed.
2. Put all the ingredients in the food processor and process until it comes together in a large ball. (This takes a little while (3-5 minutes), but be patient – it works.)
3. Scrap the dough ball in to a bowl. Using your hands, squish it together into one large ball (if necessary).
4. Form teaspoon size balls of dough and roll them in more dark cocoa powder (to prevent them from sticking to each other) OR roll them in pulverized dark chocolate – but NOTE: this adds sugar to your recipe!). Go easy on the cocoa powder that you roll them in – you just want a light dusting or it can taste a bit dry/bitter at first bite.
5. Store in a cool, dry, airtight container until consumed (or about a week – 10 days.)

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION:  (Per bonbon with walnuts)
Calories:  46
Total Fat:  2g (from walnuts)  0 Saturated Fat; 0 Transfat
Cholesterol 0 mg
Total Carbohydrates:  9g
Dietary Fiber:  1g
Sugars:  7g
Protein:  1g

Happy Birthday, Sweet Ginger!
Happy Fudgey-bonbons, All!

PS.  If your dates are not moist, try adding a squeeze of fresh OJ to the mix.  It might make it a tad sticky for forming the balls, but the flavor will be great!


  1. I can’t wait! But you are so sweet to dedicate your post to me an my weird diet. I am so lucky to have you in my life (but I told you that a million times…)
    XOXO Ging

  2. Kate, this is a lovely post for your friend, Ginger. :-) They look like my truffles, which are definitely not made from dates so not nearly as healthy. Dates are the primary ingredient in many GF bars that people love, like Larabars. So, how cool to have this easy recipe to make one’s own simple, bite sized (and round) version. I am embarrassed to say this, but I’ve never made anything with dates. Are these particular dates available at any grocery store? (Ours is very basic.) BTW, I found that once I started eating walnuts for the health benefits, I really started loving them just as they are. (I have always loved them in baked goods.) Thanks for this recipe, Kate, and bravo on all your lifestyle changes! I honestly think that’s one of the unexpected benefits of eating gluten free. Most of us start looking at our diet more carefully and end up making many other beneficial changes.


  3. Dates have totally changed my attitude towards sugar. I’ve been making some Larabar-esque creations recently (b/c they’re so darned expensive) from dates, nuts, etc. I did add cocoa to a batch last week, and they were fabulous. I’m sure these are, too. Also, kudos to you for be sensitive to other people’s diets. All of us know how hard it is to make life changes even without our friends sabotaging us with brownies!

  4. Just remembered what else I was going to write: you should try Naomi Devlin’s version of banana “ice cream” (i.e. frozen banana blended with non-sugary additions)–I had it today for lunch, and it was definitely not lunchy (in a good, dessert-like way).

  5. What a yummy sounding treat! I am sure Ginger will love these!

  6. An update from Ginger. They were DELISH! I still have about eight left and have been savoring them, morsel by morsel. But they’re wonderful, just like KATE! Much love, from Ging xoxo

  7. How creative! Vegan truffles, wow. They look beautiful! I’ll have to try them on my carb up day this week. Bet they’re great fuel for a work out!

  8. Marie-Ève Gagné says:

    Thanks for your awesome recipes and your amusing essays! You bring so much joy and make me forget about my annoying food allergies.

    I wanted to know – What is the approx. volume of 1 pound of dates? Like 4 cups?

    • ohhh…good question. I’m sorry to say that it completely depends on the type of dates you have and how juicy they are. My guess would be that a pound of unpitted dates is about 3 1/2 cups???
      Ohh.. I am so going to have measure next time I make these! :)


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