Coconut Date Balls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | our most loved #Christmas #cookie! Everyone always raves over them. Perfect for #holiday baking & parties. #dessert

Coconut Date Balls

November 27, 2012Teresa

Teresa’s Bake Shop – Christmas Cookie Extravaganza – 2012

We LOVE these fantastic little Coconut Date Balls. Each bite is filled with the luscious flavors of dates, coconut, pecans, and Rice Krispies so they have plenty of flavor, plenty of sweetness, plenty of crunch, plenty of satisfaction in every bite! While they take a little work the outcome and appearance of these little cookies is so beautiful and pleasant.

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One of the nice things about these cookies is that you cook them on top of the stove rather than in the oven. Then you stir in the Rice Krispies and a few other ingredients and roll the mixture in coconut. While my recipe is for dates, I’m sure any kind of dried fruit would work with this basic recipe such as apricots, dried cherries, blueberries, or craisins, even stuff like dried mango or pineapple might work if you enjoy  those flavors. As they are, these cookies are so sensational I’m sure you’ll love them as much as our family does.

I first tasted these cookies during my first Thanksgiving meal away from home shortly after I got married. My mother-in-law at the time, Beth, served these and several other recipes (like Berry Mallow Yam Bake), a wonderful Burnt Caramel Pie and several other wonderful recipes that we just loved and I got the recipes for (of course!)

She called them Skillet Cookies and that’s really what we refer to them as, but in order to be more descriptive for my blog followers I have changed the name to Coconut Date Balls since that’s really what they are.

I used to like the fact that these could be a gluten free option for friends and family, but it’s very difficult to locate Rice Krispies without barley malt flavoring or malt flavoring these days (circa November 2017). So unless you can locate a truly gluten free cereal, this recipe will not be gluten free.

Coconut Date Balls are a scrumptious no-bake cookie that are festive and beautiful for holiday entertaining. These cookies are also gluten free if you use true Rice Krispies cereal. Coconut Date Balls or “Skillet Cookies”  are delectable holiday cookies that are a delightful tradition in our home. I hope they become a tradition with your family during the holidays, too.

When I first posted this recipe in November 2012, I had only been blogging a few months. I was using a poor quality iPhone 3 for a camera and all my pictures were grainy, out of focus, and overly busy with Christmas decorations.

I remade these cookies for our Christmas Cookie Extravaganza – 2014. (November 2014.) I shot some new pictures so you could see more detail in these lovely cookies. I made them again for our Christmas Cookie Extravaganza – 2016. Everyone loves these jewels and would be disappointed if we didn’t make them every year! 🙂

I remade this recipe again for Christmas 2017 and snapped a few new pictures for presentation, but kept the older pictures that showed the step-by-step process. This time I didn’t use Rice Krispies. I used a truly gluten free rice crisps cereal without the malt flavoring, since I have several on my baking list who need gluten free options. These are still some of the best cookies you’ll ever eat. I enjoyed mine warm. 🙂

Coconut Date Balls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | our most loved #Christmas #cookie! Everyone always raves over them. Perfect for #holiday baking & parties. #dessert

Coconut Date Balls are amazing. We love to make these for Christmas cookie gifts every year.

Coconut Date Balls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | our most loved #Christmas #cookie! Everyone always raves over them. Perfect for #holiday baking & parties. #dessert

Coconut Date Balls have dates and pecans in a Rice Krispie texture and then covered in coconut. 

Coconut Date Balls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | our most loved #Christmas #cookie! Everyone always raves over them. Perfect for #holiday baking & parties. #dessert

No bah humbug at our house! We love sharing these treats with others.

Here’s what I did.

Coconut Date Balls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | our most loved #Christmas #cookie! Everyone always raves over them. Perfect for #holiday baking & parties. #dessert

I used these ingredients.

Coconut Date Balls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | our most loved #Christmas #cookie! Everyone always raves over them. Perfect for #holiday baking & parties. #dessert

Melt butter over a low heat. And, I really mean LOW! Whisk eggs together and add to butter in skillet. If the heat is too high you will cook the eggs, so you really have to have a low heat to make this work. Add sugar and dates. 

Coconut Date Balls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | our most loved #Christmas #cookie! Everyone always raves over them. Perfect for #holiday baking & parties. #dessert

Stir to combine. With a potato masher, mash the dates down while slowly cooking. This will take at least 10-20 minutes depending on your heat. You don’t want the mixture to scorch and you certainly don’t want the eggs to cook and become scrambled eggs! This is one of those recipes you kind of have to baby along. As the mixture continues to cook the dates will start breaking up and become soft. I continue to mash while cooking to break the dates up into small pieces.

Coconut Date Balls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | our most loved #Christmas #cookie! Everyone always raves over them. Perfect for #holiday baking & parties. #dessert

Cook date mixture until thickened and the pieces are small due to mashing.

Coconut Date Balls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | our most loved #Christmas #cookie! Everyone always raves over them. Perfect for #holiday baking & parties. #dessert

After the dates finally get soft, turn off heat.  Add vanilla, Rice Krispies and nuts and stir into the mixture. 

Coconut Date Balls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | our most loved #Christmas #cookie! Everyone always raves over them. Perfect for #holiday baking & parties. #dessert

Stir all ingredients together. Cool a few minutes.

Coconut Date Balls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | our most loved #Christmas #cookie! Everyone always raves over them. Perfect for #holiday baking & parties. #dessert

In order to roll these easily you MUST have moist hands. Place a water bowl next to your coconut bowl and Rice Krispie mixture and keep your hands moist while rolling.  Shape the date mixture into a ball a little smaller than a golf ball. 

Coconut Date Balls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | our most loved #Christmas #cookie! Everyone always raves over them. Perfect for #holiday baking & parties. #dessert

Place ball in a bowl of coconut and roll, pressing the coconut into the date mixture as well as possible.

Coconut Date Balls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | our most loved #Christmas #cookie! Everyone always raves over them. Perfect for #holiday baking & parties. #dessert

Place the date ball into coconut and roll to cover with coconut. The cheap Wal-Mart brand of coconut actually adheres to the date mixture better than name brands – perhaps because they are a little drier. It’s important that you keep the coconut dry and not let water drip into it from your hands. That helps the coconut adhere more easily.

Coconut Date Balls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | our most loved #Christmas #cookie! Everyone always raves over them. Perfect for #holiday baking & parties. #dessert

Place Coconut Date Balls on a tray with waxed paper when finished. Allow to set before serving.

Coconut Date Balls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | our most loved #Christmas #cookie! Everyone always raves over them. Perfect for #holiday baking & parties. #dessert

Pack these up quickly or you won’t have any to share with friends. They are THAT good!

Coconut Date Balls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | our most loved #Christmas #cookie! Everyone always raves over them. Perfect for #holiday baking & parties. #dessert

Coconut Date Balls are such festive, beautiful cookies. Your company will go crazy over these family favorites.

Coconut Date Balls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | our most loved #Christmas #cookie! Everyone always raves over them. Perfect for #holiday baking & parties. #dessert

Coconut Date Balls are perfect for Christmas Cookie Exchanges and other holiday parties.

Here’s the recipe.

COCONUT DATE BALLS (SKILLET COOKIES)

(Recipe adapted from Beth Ambra, former mother-in-law, Louisiana, MO)

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Coconut Date Balls BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list Yum
This no-bake cookie is great for holiday entertaining. It contains dates, pecans and Rice Krispies and is rolled in coconut.
Coconut Date Balls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | our most loved #Christmas #cookie! Everyone always raves over them. Perfect for #holiday baking & parties. #dessert
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Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Coconut Date Balls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | our most loved #Christmas #cookie! Everyone always raves over them. Perfect for #holiday baking & parties. #dessert
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in skillet, add eggs, sugar and dates.
  2. Cook over low heat until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  3. Slowly mash dates while cooking.
  4. Turn off heat.
  5. Add pecans, vanilla and Rice Krispies.
  6. While warm, roll and shape in small balls.
  7. Roll in coconut.
  8. Place on waxed paper.
  9. Keep hands moist while rolling.
Recipe Notes

NOTE: This recipe is gluten free if you use gluten free Rice Krispies. But these are very difficult to locate since most brands use barley malt flavoring or malt flavoring. I purchased these at Sprouts. But Whole Foods and Trader Joe's may also carry a truly gluten free rice krispie cereal.

NOTE: My mother-in-law referred to these as "Skillet Cookies."

NOTE: It is helpful to keep the coconut dry while rolling the date balls into them. If you drip too much water from your hands into the coconut it will no longer adhere to the date mixture.

NOTE: Keep your hands moist while rolling balls.

© Can’t Stay Out of the Kitchen
Nutrition Facts
Coconut Date Balls
Amount Per Serving
Calories 128 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 12%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.2g
Cholesterol 22mg 7%
Sodium 24mg 1%
Potassium 63mg 2%
Total Carbohydrates 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 11g
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin A 2%
Vitamin C 0.3%
Calcium 1%
Iron 3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

[b]Coconut Date Balls[/b]
Recipe Type: Cookies, Brownies and Bars
Cuisine: American
Author: Teresa Ambra adapted from Beth Ambra, my former mother-in-law, Louisiana, MO
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 30
This no-bake cookie is great for holiday entertaining. It contains [url href=”http://www.amportfoods.com/products.html” target=”_blank” title=”amport foods dates”]dates,[/url] pecans and [url href=”http://www.ricekrispies.com/” target=”_blank” title=”rice krispies”]Rice Krispies[/url] and is rolled in coconut.
Ingredients
  • 1 stick [url href=”http://www.landolakes.com/” target=”_blank” title=”land ‘o lakes butter”]Land ‘O Lakes[/url] unsalted butter
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup [url href=”http://www.amportfoods.com/products.html” target=”_blank” title=”amport foods dates”]Amport Foods [/url]chopped dates
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 cups [url href=”http://www.ricekrispies.com/” target=”_blank” title=”rice krispies”]Rice Krispies[/url]
  • Coconut
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in skillet, add eggs, sugar and dates.
  2. Cook over low heat until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  3. Slowly mash dates while cooking.
  4. Turn off heat.
  5. Add pecans, vanilla and Rice Krispies.
  6. While warm, roll and shape in small balls.
  7. Roll in coconut.
  8. Place on waxed paper.
  9. Keep hands moist while rolling.
Notes
This recipe is gluten free if you use gluten free Rice Krispies.[br][br]My mother-in-law referred to these as “Skillet Cookies.”[br][br]It is helpful to keep the coconut dry while rolling the date balls into them. If you drip too much water from your hands into the coconut it will no longer adhere to the date mixture.
Coconut Date Balls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | our most loved #Christmas #cookie! Everyone always raves over them. Perfect for #holiday baking & parties. #dessert

We can’t forget to keep Santa and his reindeer happy!

Coconut Date Balls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | our most loved #Christmas #cookie! Everyone always raves over them. Perfect for #holiday baking & parties. #dessert

Coconut Date Balls are so wonderful for holiday entertaining. Everybody loves them. 

Coconut Date Balls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | our most loved #Christmas #cookie! Everyone always raves over them. Perfect for #holiday baking & parties. #dessert

If you enjoy Rice Krispie treats, you will love Coconut Date Balls!

You may also enjoy these delicious recipes!

Pina Colada Cookies

Pina Colada Cookies | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these spectacular #Christmas #cookies have #pineapple, #coconut, #almonds, #candiedcherries & vanilla chips. They are out of this world good! Perfect for #holiday #baking & #ChristmasCookie Exchanges. #dessert #CherryDessert #PineappleDessert #PinaColada #ChristmasCookieExchange

Coconut Raspberry Bars

Coconut Raspberry Bars | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these ooey, gooey #dessert bars are great for #holiday baking or any time you want a delectable #cookie or #brownie. #raspberries #coconut

Iced Coconut Pecan Bars

Iced Coconut Pecan Bars | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this fabulous #cookie has a #coconut & #Pecan filling & a lovely citrus icing. Perfect for summer #holiday parties. #dessert

60 Comments

  • Simptreat.Com

    May 21, 2020 at 9:49 pm

    Any idea what the sugar fat grams or the calories are? Trying to figure out how to make these diabetic friendly for my iftar.

    1. Teresa

      May 22, 2020 at 9:09 am

      I’ve added the nutritional info. That is based on using 2 cups of coconut (to roll the date balls in) for every batch.

  • Kenneth

    December 3, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    My grandmother made these every year at Christmas. They are so amazing. To me they taste old worldly if that even makes sense? Absolutely delicious. Grandmother called them “shaggy dates.”

    1. Teresa

      December 3, 2018 at 1:18 pm

      They really are terrific Christmas goodies, Kenneth. I’ve never heard the term “Shaggy Dates” before, but it sure makes sense. These are one of our most requested Christmas Cookie recipes each year. 🙂

  • Marianne

    December 12, 2017 at 8:12 am

    Is there any way to omit the egg?

    1. Teresa

      December 12, 2017 at 6:13 pm

      Hi, Marianne. We’ve never made this without the eggs. I believe vegans try using flaxseeds mixed with water, but I’m not sure how those would turn out.

  • Anonymous

    December 17, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    Learned to make these in Home Ec 40 odd yrs ago they were called Angel cookies then. One of the best cookies I ever ate. Still one of my favorites.

    1. Teresa

      December 17, 2016 at 6:03 pm

      Yes, they are some of our favorites as well. We make them every year for Christmas.

    2. Shereen Anis

      December 2, 2018 at 9:27 am

      Can you make these ahead of time and how long with they stay for? Also, will the rice krispies soften if I do?

      1. Teresa

        December 2, 2018 at 10:09 am

        Hi, Shereen. We’ve made these every year for Christmas for the last 40 years. We usually freeze them and they seem to do really well. I recommend packing the in plastic containers with waxed paper separating each layer of cookies.

  • Anonymous

    November 30, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    I love this recipe! I make them every year. I omit the sugar because the dates and coconut are sweet. The taste is superb!

    1. Teresa

      December 1, 2016 at 4:13 pm

      They really are family favorites. Thanks for sharing. Have a great weekend.

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    January 16, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    […] Here are the cookies before adding the Coconut Date Balls. […]

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    […] only thing that we have made every single year, except the first year, are the Coconut Date Balls which are such a favorite we’d get an earful if they weren’t included. I didn’t […]

  • michelle

    December 25, 2015 at 12:39 am

    I made these today! We always call them no bake date cookies My Grandma’s recipe only calls for two tbls of butter. We roll them in powdered sugar and flatten with a glass. Add a pinch of salt just to curb the sweet. (I didn’t…needed) YUMMY!

    1. Teresa

      December 25, 2015 at 10:16 am

      So glad you enjoyed them Michelle. We love these cookies for the holidays, too.

  • pattie

    December 20, 2015 at 12:30 am

    We make these at Christmas every year. I stir in some chopped marischino or candied cherry after I’ve cooked the dates for some added festive color. (note: If you use marischino’s you need to drain them really well or they won’t stick to the balls.) Yum-o!

    1. Teresa

      December 20, 2015 at 8:39 pm

      Oh, I love the idea of maraschino cherries inside, Pattie. We’ll have to try them that way some time. Yum, indeed! 🙂

  • Darlene

    December 19, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    Look no further bakers. This is the PERFECT recipe for Coconut Date Balls. PERFECTION INDEED. Made a batch yesterday to give to my friend who needed 5 dozen cookies for Sunday church service – my good deed for the day. Today I just finished making another batch for my hubby. This recipe is identical to my Mom’s recipe that she made for us as wee children. A wonderful recipe passed down from generation to generation.
    Thank you for sharing Teresa.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours.
    Darlene in Nova Scotia, Canada

    1. Teresa

      December 19, 2015 at 5:44 pm

      Thanks, so much for your sweet comments, Darlene. You made my day! We really love this recipe and have made it almost every year for Christmas for over 35 years! It’s always one of the favorites that get picked out of our Christmas cookie baskets first!

  • Lizzy

    March 18, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    . . . oh, and to keep our hands from sticking to the balls, we would rub them down with butter!

    1. Teresa

      March 18, 2015 at 4:33 pm

      Great idea, Lizzy. Thanks for the tip.

  • Lizzy

    March 18, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    I have been making this forever, my Nannie used to make them. The super fun thing to do was get some food coloring and color the coconut. We’d mix ’em up and invent all sorts of colors, they made a beautiful platter for parties!

    1. Teresa

      March 18, 2015 at 4:32 pm

      Oh, Lizzy, I LOVE the idea of coloring the coconut. That would make a beautiful holiday tray with greens and reds. I’ll have to try it the next time we make this recipe. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

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  • Marsha

    December 28, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    Reminded me of my grandmas skillet cookies. Loved them. I just used half a stick of butter. Also used a cookie ball scoop so didn’t stick to hands.

    1. Teresa

      December 28, 2014 at 8:28 pm

      Great idea, Marsha. We’ll have to try that sometime. Glad you enjoyed the cookies.

  • BLee

    December 20, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Awesome recipe!!!! Not a fan of coconut so I rolled in confectioners sugar. Water trick – VERY helpful. I’ve tried to make these before with an old recipe from my aunt but they always started falling apart during th rolling process. THANK YOU!!!!!

    1. Teresa

      December 20, 2014 at 8:35 pm

      Thank you so much. I’m so glad they worked for you with the confectioner’s sugar instead of coconut. We’ve made this recipe every year for the past 35 years and my husband is usually the one who ends up making it. He asked me to include all the tips that he uses when he makes it. So when I updated the recipe last month, I included those tips. I’m glad you found them helpful. Thanks so much for stopping by and letting me know you enjoyed them.

  • dani

    December 13, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    They are so, so good! The directions are awesome. The tips are so helpful ensure they come out right (example: hands must be most to roll them out). Thanks so much.

    1. Teresa

      December 13, 2014 at 9:05 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed them, Dani. We make these jewels every year for Christmas and everyone just loves them.

  • Steve

    December 7, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    too many pages in print out.

    1. Teresa

      December 8, 2014 at 7:17 am

      Steve, the print option in the easy recipe card should only print the one page.

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    November 22, 2013 at 11:06 am

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  • PlantBasedDietAdventures

    January 24, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    OH…MY…YUM!

    1. Teresa

      January 24, 2013 at 7:20 pm

      They really are fabulous.

  • Eliza’s dishes

    January 21, 2013 at 6:45 am

    Amazing!

    1. Teresa

      January 21, 2013 at 9:56 am

      They are so delicious. Hope you try them sometime.

      1. Eliza’s dishes

        January 21, 2013 at 3:09 pm

        Sure will!!!!

  • peaceloveandsmoothies

    January 20, 2013 at 12:07 am

    I love dates!

    1. Teresa

      January 20, 2013 at 6:41 pm

      me, too!

  • Tami

    January 13, 2013 at 2:03 am

    I made these tonight. Do they need to be stored in the fridge?

    1. Teresa

      January 13, 2013 at 7:17 am

      Not necessarily for a few days, but it won’t hurt to store in the frig.

      Sent from my iPhone

  • TastingWanderlust

    January 9, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    OMG I can’t wait to do these for a dinner party. Coconut, dates, and crunch? yum!

    1. Teresa

      January 9, 2013 at 4:51 pm

      They are so wonderful. We love these treats. You may want to look at all the little tips we’ve made in the blog post about making them. It will help the process some. They are amazing. They freeze really well, too. Your company will love them.

      1. Lauressa

        December 23, 2015 at 5:44 am

        To freeze, do I complete ball even in coconut before I freeze?
        Thanks

        1. Teresa

          December 23, 2015 at 8:56 am

          Hi, Lauressa. Yes, I would freeze them totally made (which is the way I usually do it). Thaw about an hour before you want them ready to go. You can freeze in zip lock bags or in plastic containers. Have a Merry Christmas.

  • 2012 in Review | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

    December 31, 2012 at 9:21 pm

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  • jacsspace

    November 28, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    oh my goodness!! This look and sound delicious!! I will be making these for christmas. =)

    1. Teresa

      November 29, 2012 at 11:34 am

      Please let me know how they turn out!

  • petit4chocolatier

    November 28, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Triple yummy!!!

    1. Teresa

      November 28, 2012 at 8:47 pm

      Sure are amazing.

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  • Tamara Leigh: The Kitchen Novelist

    November 27, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    You had me at “coconut.” And dates–yum!

    1. Teresa

      November 27, 2012 at 11:26 pm

      This recipe is so-so yummy! You will love it.

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