2 cups large, pitted dates
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 tablespoon anise seeds
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
For this dessert you need packed dates- preferably pitted. If the dates are a little bit tough, you will need to pit them, cut them up into small pieces and sauté them in 2 tablespoons of butter to soften them.
The spices used in this dessert are cardamom and anise seeds. In Arabic, cardamom is called 'hayl' (with a soft 'l') and anise seeds are called 'habbet hilwa'.
Heat the butter in a medium sized pot or pan, but make sure it doesn't get too hot.
Add the flour to the heated butter/margarine and allow the flour to turn to a golden color- but don't burn it!
Add the pitted, cut dates to the flour and butter and mash them gently, cooking them over low heat. Continue moving the dates and flour around in the pan, until the whole mixture is blended together- do not burn.
Take the date mixture off of the burner and add the anise seeds and cardamom. Mix well and allow the mixture to cool somewhat.
Pull off little pieces of the date mixture and form them into 1 – 2 inch balls by rolling the date mix around in the palms of your hands. Set each little ball aside.
Variation - To make the date balls a little bit more glamorous, you can roll the finished date ball in sesame seeds, crushed walnuts, crushed almonds, or sugar.