We love walnut-stuffed dates, to us they are reminiscent of baklava (which of course is neither gluten-free nor vegan). Our copycat recipe for Jujube Date & Walnut is not only better than the original, but gives you other options as well! The Jujube Date & Walnuts (basically walnut-stuffed dates) are very popular, particularly with the Vegan Costco crowd, but Costco is discontinuing them, so if you are missing your date & walnut fix, this Copycat Jujube date and walnut recipe is for you. It’s also for you if you would just like to make your own, and happily you can get both organic dates and organic walnuts at Costco (the Jujubes are not organic).
Now, you might think that shoving a walnut into a date hardly qualifies as a recipe, and ordinarily you’d be right. However we do things with dates and walnuts that you may not have considered (yes, as we read that we realized that it could sound kind of naughty, but we’re ok with that. :~) ).
A word about types of dates: Jujube ‘dates’ are actually not dates at all, but rather a type of fruit grown in China that looks similar to dates once dried. They are sometimes used in Chinese medicine, and have adaptogenic qualities. In the West people generally substitute dates for jujubes (however if you want to try actual jujubes we recommend these organic sun-dried jujubes). For our recipe we use Deglet Noor pitted dates, and that’s for a few reasons, but the most important reason is that they hold up better. Medjool dates are generally much softer than Deglet Noor dates, so that they don’t hold up as well to being stuffed. They are also stickier, making them more difficult to handle, and they require more handling than Deglet Noors, as they also rarely come already pitted, meaning you have to remove their pits while handling this sticky, soft (but delicious) date. Medjools are also much sweeter. On the other hand, Deglet Noor dates are firmer (so easier to stuff), generally pair better with walnuts (their flavor doesn’t dominate like a Medjool may), and, oh joy, they come pre-pitted!
Copycat Jujube Date & Walnut Recipe
10 Deglet Noor pitted dates (we get the organic Deglet Noor dates from Costco, which are an incredible deal at 2.5 pounds for about $9!)
10 walnuts (we get the organic walnuts from Costco)
10 vegan chocolate chips (we get the vegan chocolate chips from..you guessed it, Costco, but be careful, the white bag is vegan, the red bag is not)
Note that the above amounts are entirely arbitrary, what matters is that you have an equal amount of each ingredient.
Cut or tear a slit from end to end on one side of each date, taking care to not split the opposite side. Gently pry the date open at the slit just wide enough to accommodate a walnut when the walnut is on its side.
Stuff a walnut or walnut half into the slit.
At this point, if all you are after is recreating a Jujube date and walnut, you are done. But here are two things that will take your walnut-stuffed dates to new heights:
1. Gently warm them in a dehydrator until they are just warm to the touch. This causes the dates to get a bit soft and mushy and melt-in-your-mouth warm. Mmmm…so good! You can also do this on the lowest setting in your oven if you don’t have a dehydrator, but a dehydrator is best because it warms them so gently.
2. Before warming them, place a chocolate chip under the walnut (in our picture we put ours on top so that you could see it, but really it’s best if the chocolate chip is tucked in under the walnut). Holy cow, this brings it to a whole new level! Who knew that simple could be so good!
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From Left to Right: Regular, Warmed, and Warmed with Chocolate
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