Friday, April 27, 2018

Mini-Retreat Treats: Spiced Dates (recipe) & Baci di Dama

Last weekend I taught a really fun yoga workshop: one of my All-Afternoon Mini-Retreats. I call it a "mini-retreat" because we have lots of time, and I get to teach many different components of yoga -- a good, long asana class, social time and a cookies & snack break, a talk on the Yoga Sutras (philosophy), and then ending with pranayama practice (breathing). It's such a special format and I just love teaching these workshops.
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!

poor student, unable to concentrate on yoga. dreaming of cookies! 

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! 

Spiced Dates stuffed with Marmalade & Pistachios
Makes 30 date halves

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 cardamom
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.

Baci di Dama Cookies

These little "hamburger cookies" are actually called "Baci di Dama," which means "Lady's Kisses" in Italian. I used a recipe from David Leibowitz :

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! 


  1. That platter with the different treats on top of the mosaic is beautiful! And the amount of thought you put into your decision seems well-spent. These treats sounds light and fun and satisfying all at once!

  2. The both sound lovely. And that date stuffing - so unique!
    If I am planning an event, I always think about food first as well.

  3. I dont think I have ever heard of date stuffing before, they both sound lovely. I would love to try these recipes out as soon as possible. Love getting ideas from your blog, thanks for the posts.
    Greg Prosmushkin

  4. I really need to get out to the West Coast so I can take one of your classes, I think it'd be so fun! My 2019 US trip is def gonna be West Coast based, I am long overdue...


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