Copyright Andrea Sperling  

During the summer I don't like to bake because it's too hot and there's so much fresh fruit available to satisfy my sweet tooth. 

What I have been playing around with a lot for dessert are raw bars and cookies. They're the perfect end of summer treat because they're relatively healthy and lend themselves to improvisation. And most importantly, they don't require using an oven.

Mejdool dates are used as the main sweetener and binding agent in these delicious little raw date balls. Most of the raw date treats I've been seeing online marry lemon with coconut. While that's a natural (and delicious), I thought I'd try mine with lime and ginger.



Soak the dates before you put them in the food processor - the warmer the water, the faster they'll soften. If the dried apricots are not soft, soak them, too. And for those who've been dying to know, the difference between almond meal and almond flour is that there is no skin in almond flour. But basically they're interchangeable.

Instead of rolling them into balls, you can shape them into bars.  You can also change up the fruit-  dried blueberries, cherries or cranberries would be delicious. Keep refrigerated, but I carried a container of them at room temperature with me on my recent vacation and they were fine. They also freeze well.


Makes 20-40, depending how big you make them



2 cups almond meal/flour

12 dates, pitted and soaked for 10 minutes in hot water

Just and zest of 2 limes

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced or 1  inch piece  crystallized ginger, finely chopped

Pinch of  sea salt

5 dried California or Turkish apricots, finely chopped

½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes for rolling

Put the almond meal/flour in the food processor with the dates. Pulverize until the make a smooth paste.

Add the lime, salt and fresh ginger and pulse one or two times until combined.  Remove from the food processor and add the mix to a bowl.

Stir in the apricots and if you're using the crystalized ginger instead of the fresh ginger, add it here.

Roll the dough into 3/4 inch - 1 inch balls.

Roll each one in the coconut.

Refrigerate until you're ready to eat them.