rich chocolate slice recipe

choc date slice

Fresh medjool dates were a luxury we could rarely afford growing up. I remember my dad would buy one or two every so often and keep them hidden from us, probably eating them in peace and quiet when us kids were fast asleep at night. They are still ridiculously overpriced back home in New Zealand, but thankfully for all of us currently living in Australia they are often picked up for a steal at your local supermarket. When Dad was over here visiting recently I bought a whole boxful of them so we could all go crazy πŸ™‚

I love their sweet caramel flavour and they are the perfect base to use when making raw sweets and desserts. I blitz them up with almonds, cocoa and a little coconut oil until they turn into a sticky-sweet paste, press it into a tin then chill in the fridge for a beautiful rich chocolate slice... gone healthy.  

choc date slice
choc date slice

I came up with this slice after my dear friend Brenda Briand asked me if I would like to share a recipe over on her blog as part of a new series they are doing with recipes from family and friends. Brenda and I have known each other since we were 13 years old and she is one of those beautiful people whose honesty and talent I have long been in awe of. Sadly it's been way to many years since we've seen each other in person... 7 or 8 years if I remember rightly? The last time we parted ways Si, Brenda and I had just survived one of those crazy overnight bus trips to the beaches in Southern Thailand. She got off the ferry at Ko Samui while Si and I carried on to Koh Pha-Ngan. A lot has happened for both of us since then; I've had two kids and Brenda one, we've both got married and she is now the creative force behind the high-end fashion brand Benah. Hope you enjoy the slice b. Miss you xxx

choc date slice

rich chocolate slice

This slice is best made using fresh medjool dates, but if they are not available or affordable where you live simply sub in 1 1/2 cups of dried dates instead. If you're using dried you will need a strong food processor and take it easy to begin with by pulsing the mixture a few times first, to get things going. I'm not overly concerned with making this 100% raw, but if you are simply use raw cacao powder in place of the cocoa. I use Loving Earth mesquite powder for added minerals and a subtle smokey chocolate flavour, but if you can't get hold of any, this is still lovely made without.
Makes 12 bite-size slices

12 medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup (85g) raw almonds
1/4 cup (25g) cocoa powder + extra to dust
2 tablespoons mesquite powder, optional
Pinch fine sea salt
3 tablespoon virgin coconut oil, heated until just liquid

    Place all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and blend for about a minute or until paste-like with a few small chunks of almonds still visible. Transfer mixture to a 13cm/5 inch cake tin (mine is a loose bottomed one) and using your hands press down evenly. Cover and chill for 4 hours over overnight. Remove from the tin, dust with cocoa powder, if desired and slice into 12 even slices. Store in the fridge for up to one week.

    Here's a few other healthy sweet treats that you may like too:

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  • Cally
    August 31, 2012 at 5:14 am

    I used to buy 2 dates at the vege shop back when my oldest son was about two – one for him and one for me. A couple of years later when my second son was old enough to eat them, I stopped buying them. That was back around 1983 – 1986. They were $19.95 a kg. Thus I regard them as cheap now when they still sell at Pack n Save in Hamilton for around $19.95 – $22!
    This recipe looks divine – I'm going to make it but I may not share it :p

    • emma
      August 31, 2012 at 5:38 am

      πŸ™‚ We've been so lucky here at the moment they've been selling for $9.95kg and I picked up this 2.5kg box for $25! I'm going to make the most of it while we're over here because I know they work out to be around 80c-$1 each back in NZ aye?

  • everydaymaven
    August 31, 2012 at 5:30 am

    I love Medjool dates and always have a stash of them in my pantry in a huge mason jar. They are pretty reasonable here in Seattle, WA (luckily!). I am sooooo making this – it really sounds incredible! Thanks πŸ™‚

    • emma
      August 31, 2012 at 5:39 am

      Oh yes you lucky Americans πŸ™‚ Wish dates grew here!

  • Big Momma
    August 31, 2012 at 6:14 am

    Yummy recipe! I used to do something similar but make it very thin and use it as a cheesecake base. I had forgotten that. Much better than using store bought GF cookies.

    • emma
      August 31, 2012 at 11:11 am

      Yep this is pretty much what I use as a base for raw cheesecakes too, so yum πŸ™‚

  • leaf (the indolent cook)
    August 31, 2012 at 8:18 am

    That looks gloriously chocolatey! The things I miss out on, not having a food processor…

    • emma
      August 31, 2012 at 11:09 am

      I actually made this slice in my mini food processor stick blender attachment… they're cheap (I got mine for less than $50) and actually much more useful than a food processor I'm finding πŸ™‚

  • Blandine
    August 31, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Beautiful recipe Emma πŸ™‚
    I LOVE medjool dates – they are however not that easy to find where I live. I'll have to try your recipe anyway.

  • The InTolerant Chef
    August 31, 2012 at 8:42 am

    So good, so sweet, so yummy! I love that you bought a whole box, you must feel rich indeed πŸ™‚

    • emma
      August 31, 2012 at 11:06 am

      Haha, totally! Might be the only time in my life I do such a thing πŸ™‚

  • Moon Over Martinborough
    August 31, 2012 at 9:30 am

    OMG I love dates and I love almonds and I love chocolate. Must. Make. This.

  • idiosyncraticeye
    August 31, 2012 at 9:56 am

    That sounds absolutely delicious! πŸ™‚

  • Shanna
    August 31, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Looks amazing, Emma. Furthermore — love the simplicity of ingredients!

  • gfe--gluten free easily
    August 31, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Absolutely stunning! Will look forward to making this when I'm back in baking mode. πŸ˜‰ I love the simplicity of it and can imagine how totally delicious it is. πŸ™‚


  • Angry Asian
    August 31, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    i am a recent convert to medjool dates, they're fantastic in energy bars. i either ball them up or cut them into squares to nibble on right after a work out, or when i want a healthy sweet snack. this looks so elegant, something to share with friends at a party etc, but they are rather expensive, especially if you buy them organic, so it would have to be really close friends and a fantastic party! πŸ™‚

  • Laura
    August 31, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    I love date and chocolate things, but the addition of mesquite is so delicious sounding. Fresh dates can be a bit pricy here and Canada, but we always savour them completely. And the sight of that big dusting of cocoa makes me happy. Just wonderful.

  • Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes
    August 31, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Wow this looks and sounds incredible – medjool dates are one of my all time favorite natural sweeteners! I will have to give this a try πŸ™‚

  • Colette Zabo
    August 31, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Mesquite powder? Very clever. Gotta try this one. Thanks!

  • Kasey
    August 31, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    This sounds amazing! I love the combination of dates and chocolate – so rich and delicious! I must try this soon.

  • Stephanie Weaver
    August 31, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Oh good god, woman, I am going to have to make this tonight!

    • emma
      September 1, 2012 at 2:58 am


  • Domestic Executive
    September 1, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Brilliantly simple and sounds delicious. Dates are on the banned list at the moment for Martin but will definitely try this when we can bring back fruit sugars again.

  • Lizzy (Good things)
    September 2, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Lordy that looks and sounds delicious. I do love dates… and I love chocolate. Together… oh my!

  • Suzanne Perazzini
    September 2, 2012 at 10:12 am

    I make some granola bars like this slice which have a base of dates and almond meal. They taste so good.

  • Anja
    September 2, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Oh, I love the ingredients list. I need to make this as the next best occasion. As for the dates, if anything is cheap here in Dubai, it's dates! Lucky me, hehe… But I'd probably struggle to find Mesquite powder.

    • emma
      September 3, 2012 at 4:03 am

      Oh lucky you alright! This is still lovely without the mesquite too xx

  • Nichola Massey
    September 2, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    This sounds amazing! Where do you buy your dates? I am in Perth too. Also do you have a good muesli bar recipe on your blog? Cheers Nichola

    • emma
      September 3, 2012 at 4:02 am

      Hi Nichola, I bought my box of dates when they were on sale recently at Woolworths. Not sure if they're still cheap now though? They've been sitting at around $9.95kg for the past month or $25 for a 2.5kg box.
      And sorry no I haven't posted a muesli bar recipe on here yet, might some day in the future though πŸ™‚

    • Nichola Massey
      September 4, 2012 at 2:01 am

      bummer they are back to 19.98 a kg at woolies. Might check Coles πŸ™‚ I am going to make this tonight to take to my neighbour morning tea tomorrow. Yummy !!

    • Nichola Massey
      September 4, 2012 at 6:18 am

      I am not much of a baker. So I don't have many cake tins etc… That is a really tiny cake tin? The smallest one I have is like 18cm x 18cm. I might try a small pyrex dish i have. The photo you have looks like quite a big size cake πŸ™‚

    • emma
      September 4, 2012 at 6:22 am

      Yep it is a teeny tiny cake tin. The photo is quite deceiving. This recipe makes 12 bite-size pieces of slice. Any container would be fine to press this into, and if you're not bothered about not having a round slice you could even press the mixture into a plastic take-away container or something similar. Or shape into a round on a flat plate to set?

  • MadsMind
    September 2, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    do you think it would be helpful to "grease" the pan with coco oil before pressing the "batter" in? i'm worried it might stick and turn into a mess when trying to get it out…
    also, i don't have mesquite but i'm going to try a couple spoons of maca which also has a earthy rich taste πŸ™‚ thanks for the recipe, i love your blog!!

    • emma
      September 3, 2012 at 4:00 am

      Hey, I didn't have any troubles getting it out once it had set in the fridge as it sets quite firm, but I did use a loose-bottom cake tin (I should have written that in the recipe! Will add now). Grease if you feel more comfortable doing so.

    September 3, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Gasp! I didn't realise the rest of the world didn't pay what we have to pay for fresh dates! Sometimes I buy one or two for myself but maybe I'll have to splash out and buy the whole dozen, your slice looks amazing! thanks for another classic Emma!

  • Tammi
    September 4, 2012 at 2:12 am

    Would you believe that we only tried medjool dates for the first time this year? and we are completely smitten with them πŸ™‚
    I have been making a similar 'raw brownie' type slice that gets devoured on sight, can't get enough of it.

  • Janet NZ
    September 4, 2012 at 4:19 am

    I'm the same as Tammi! I bought (and ate) my first medjool date just last week… DELICIOUS! Which you would hope… given that they were $23 a kilo…
    HUMPH – being at the bottom of the world is sometimes such a pest! Oh, and don't get me started on the price of passionfruit… I bought two and nearly died at the cost! πŸ™‚
    I will be making this with dried dates XO

    • emma
      September 4, 2012 at 6:06 am

      I was reluctant to even post this recipe knowing full-well that none of my NZ readers could afford to make this. But yes, use dried dates and it's still beautiful xx

  • Christine @ Cooking Crusade
    September 4, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Stunning recipe! I've been looking for no added sugar desserts to make and this is just perfect – thank you for sharing!

  • Shae
    September 5, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    I made this this morning and it was so yummy! I left out the mesquite powder – haven't tried that one yet. I buy my medjool dates from coles at about $20/kg. The organic ones at health food shops are usually around $30/kg! Thanks for the recipe πŸ™‚

  • Hannah
    September 6, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Oh my, I'm making this soon! We are fortunate to have fresh and dried dates available here – the fresh ones just arrived at the little market nearby. With Rosh Hashana approaching I am always looking for more date recipes to try and this will be perfect as one of our desserts. Thanks for sharing!

    September 7, 2012 at 3:08 am

    Yum, that's a nice easy treat without feeling guilty!

  • Beglaubigte Übersetzung
    September 10, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    This looks (and sounds) absolutely amazing!

  • mel @ loved handmade
    September 16, 2012 at 1:03 am

    This looks absolutely divine, I can't wait to try it! I have just found your blog via Tammi at My little Poppa who kindly recommended I take a peek. We've just discovered some food intolerances at our place so it is very exciting to come across so many tasty looking dishes..x

  • Mairi @ Toast
    September 20, 2012 at 6:53 am

    Oh my word…I had a craving for something sweet before I read this, it will need to be satisfied immediately! This looks & sounds absolutely heavenly.

  • jas - the gluten free scallywag
    September 27, 2012 at 12:53 pm


  • Susan
    November 17, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    I made the recipe last weekend, and it is excellent! A warning to those who don't normally cook with dates (especially me) – remember to take the pits out before putting them in the food processor. I didn't, and wondered why my poor food processor was struggling and making a very bad noise. I then had to go through the mixture and fish out all the pits. A lesson I won't forget in a hurry.

    I didn't have a 13cm tin, so I used a 17cm tin and times all the ingredients by 1.7. This worked out well as it used exactly 400g (20) medjoul dates which was two packets.

    Emma, Australian tablespoons are 20ml and NZ are 15ml – are all your recipes based on a 20ml tablespoon? I love your blog, and have plans to make a lot of your recipes.

    • emma
      November 18, 2012 at 4:36 am

      Oh no! I did have 'pitted' written after the dates in the ingredients list, but you learn these things don't ya! Whoops.

      I use NZ tablespoons and because I know it's such a blimmen pain in the butt our two countries having different Tbsp sizes I mostly try to just use teaspoons or cup measurements in recipes where I know that extra 5ml could make or break a recipe. For the majority of recipes though, that extra 5ml wouldn't make too much of a difference to be honest. xx

  • Christine @ Cooking Crusade
    May 12, 2013 at 10:44 am

    I tried making this today for Mother's Day for my vegan mum and it was absolutely amazing! Thank you for this awesome recipe, will definitely be making it again soon πŸ™‚

  • Sarah
    May 20, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    This looks absolutely delicious!! Do you think substituting the dates for something like prunes would work? They are much cheaper and still yummy!! Obviously it would change the taste but do you think it would stick together nicely? Thanks, πŸ™‚

    • emma
      May 21, 2013 at 1:22 am

      Hi Sarah, the consistency of dates and prunes are totally different so I don't think it would hold together if not made with dates. You could always try making this recipe with dried pitted dates, which are cheaper than fresh medjool. Your processor will struggle, but I'd go for that over prunes. Or you could try this recipe, which is similar but uses the dried dates xx

  • Liane
    September 5, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Yum this looks great. Chocolate is always good πŸ™‚

  • Deb
    September 6, 2013 at 7:53 am

    I just made this…OMG…so yummy!

  • Anonymous
    December 14, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Do you think I could use a pinch of smoked salt in place of the mesquite powder?

    • emma
      December 14, 2013 at 11:49 pm

      I'm sure that would work beautifully!

  • Anonymous
    October 18, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    This looks define. When I use dried dates, I place them in boiling water for about 10 minutes, strain, and add to food processor. Makes them soft and easier on food processor.

  • Francia Furler
    September 23, 2015 at 5:02 am

    This is delicious!! And so easy and quick, thank you so much for the recipe,