Elna Borgen’s Date Balls (Gluten Free)

Long ago and not so far away–Central (now Covenant) Lutheran in Stoughton, Wis.–my mother’s circle participated in the congregation’s Holiday Bazaar. Donated crafts, doll clothes, cookies, candy, popcorn balls and Christmas decorations were sold at low, church-basement prices. Lunch was served.

Treasures from Bazaar’s past remain in my household, including a beloved wood nativity puzzle and the recipe for Mrs. Borgen’s date balls.

For my daughter, Annie, date balls are the Christmas cookie. If there could be only one Christmas cookie on the table, it would be date balls.

To the uninitiated, date balls look weird. They are likely to be left on the cookie plate in favor of something more common. “Try just one,” someone in the know might coax, confident a first date ball will be followed by another.

When we learned Annie is allergic to tree nuts, we found date balls to be equally delicious without pecans. And, if you buy GF Rice Krispies, date balls are gluten free.

Elna Borgen’s Date Balls

Double roll method: gently roll into small balls and then roll in flaked coconut.

1. In small bowl, beat 2 eggs with 2 TBS milk and 1/2 tsp salt; set aside to get to room temperature.

2. In a heavy sauce pan

  • Melt 1 cup of butter
  • Add 2 cups of chopped dates
  • Add 1.5 cups sugar

Cook and stir until the mixture boils.

3. Let the mixture cool a bit. Temper the eggs with a bit of date mixture. Stir eggs quickly into date mixture. Boil for 2 minutes, stiring constantly.

4. Remove from heat and add

  • 4 cups Rice Krispies cereal and 1 cup chopped pecans
  • OR 5 cups of Rice Krispies cereal
  • OR 4 cups of Gluten Free Rice Krispies cereal

5. When cool enough to handle, gently roll into small balls and then roll in flaked coconut–sweetened flaked coconut seems to cling a bit better. It helps to butter your hands or wear disposable gloves.

Sue Edison-Swift
    Dec. 6, 2012

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7 Responses to Elna Borgen’s Date Balls (Gluten Free)

  1. Sandra says:

    GF, that’s me too! Will have to try those…thnx!

  2. Sandra says:

    New GF mom Sue H… Rice Krispies has a cereal out marked GF…white box.

  3. My goodness–you mean Rice Krispies isn’t GF normally?

  4. Christine Borgen Drotning says:

    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  5. Audrey G-D says:

    The malt flavoring traditionally added is glutinous. There are G-F brands available, making this recipe G-F as advertized 🙂

  6. Terri Lackey says:

    GF or not, I’m making these and eating them up. I had a recipe similar to this once (I don’t recall the coconut and eggs) but omg they are scrumptious. This looks even better. I sometimes have a hard time finding dates, though.

    • Hooray! Terri, especially at this time of year, it’s easy to find diced dates–they come in 10 oz. plastic tubs and I find them in the produce section. I’m likely to use the whole tub, even though it’s a little more than the recipe. Buy an extra tub to use in oatmeal, along with the left-over coconut.

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