Holiday dessert recipe: Crispy date nut balls

A fun, festive recipe from cookbook author Karlynn Johnston

Image for Holiday dessert recipe: Crispy date nut balls
Photos and recipe provided by Penguin Random House.

If the holiday season isn't the perfect time of year to indulge in deliciously sweet bite-sized treats, than what season is?

Coming in hot with a delicious bite-size sweet recipe is cookbook Karlynn Johnston. The crispy date nut balls from her recently-released cookbook A Very Prairie Christmas Bakebook are a date square-inspired treat that are sure to impress all of your guests this holiday season.

Image for Holiday dessert recipe: Crispy date nut balls

"Also known as frying pan cookies or dingbats, these fabulous treats are essentially a jazzed-up filling from date squares mixed with crispy rice cereal, then coated in coconut—perfect for date lovers," says Karlynn Johnston in the introduction to this recipe in her holiday cookbook.

She continues, "Make sure to use chopped baking dates that come packaged in a block. Dates that are packaged whole can include oils meant to prevent them from sticking to each other; they tend to not work as well in baking."

Crispy date nut balls

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup chopped baking dates

2 eggs, beaten

½ tsp salt

1 Tbsp salted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups crispy rice cereal

1 cup chopped pecans or other nut of choice

2 cups sweetened flaked coconut


In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, combine the brown sugar, dates, eggs, and salt. bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. boil, stirring, until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. stir in the cereal and pecans until combined.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper.

Pour the coconut onto a plate. using a tablespoon-sized cookie scoop, scoop up a heaping portion of dough (about 2 table- spoons) and drop it into the coconut. roll in the coconut, shap- ing the dough into a 1½-inch ball and ensuring it is completely coated with coconut. place on the baking sheet. repeat with the remaining dough. refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.

Store in an airtight container in layers, with parchment or waxed paper between each layer, in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Makes 2 dozen balls
Prep Time:
30 minutes