This one is great for those of you that have an enormous sweet tooth but don’t want to reach for a chocolate bar. I’ve seen loads of variations on this type of recipe and I’ve put together my own little spin on it which keeps me going when I need some fuel. I am most definitely not implying that these are extremely healthy in any way. However, they do contain much better sugars and ingredients which will support you throughout the day, unlike a chocolate bar. It is the absence of the processed sugars that I’m encouraging with this one, and the addition of the natural ingredients makes them a much better alternative to chocolate bars.
So lets get straight into the recipe, which is the easiest thing in the world.
- 1 Cup of Cashew Nuts (or I used Pecans this time because I prefer them. The beauty of this recipe, is that you can change things up all the time- like the nuts.)
- 1 Cup of Almonds
- 1 Tsp of Vanilla Extract
- A Pinch of Salt
- 1 1/2 Cups of Medjool Dates- or about 1 1/2 boxes to make the mixture stick. (These are necessary to make this recipe I’m afraid. However, they are now available to buy in punnets of nine in most supermarkets which is great! Just go to the fresh fruit and veg section.)
These are the basic foundations for the balls and is how I tried them the first time around. Now I like to jazz it up a bit with very simple additions which you can get from any health store.
- 2 Heaped Tbsp of Raw Cacao Powder- which is the unprocessed version of ordinary cocoa powder and is much more potent. If you were going to use normal cocoa powder, you may have to double or triple the amount you use to get the desired flavour. (Raw Cacao Powder can be expensive, I bought a small packet which was a much cheaper version than those posh re-sealable ones. I now keep it in a Kilner jar which is so convenient.)
- A good slosh of maple syrup for extra sweetness (about 2 dsp).
- 1 tbsp of Raw Cacao Nibs- these are like little chunks of the raw cacao before it is ground down into the powder. They are so bitter on their own, but give the nicest crunch in these rather soft and squidgy balls.
- 1 tbsp of Chia Seeds (I use milled Chia Seeds because they’re much easier to incorporate. However, whole ones you can now buy in the supermarkets are fine and will probably add a nice crunch.)
- 1 tbsp of Flax Seeds (again I have a milled version because I pop them into my cereal and porridge in the morning and I don’t fancy crunching on big seeds, but it might be quite nice in this recipe).
So onto the making which is an absolute piece of cake (or in a literal sense perhaps unfortunately not, but I promise they still taste just as sweet and yummy!).
If you don’t have a food processor then- to put it plainly- this recipe just ain’t gonna happen for you because it’s essential to get all the ingredients nicely chopped and incorporated together.
If you do have one, then it’s your lucky day and you’re about to witness just how simple this is!
-Blitz your chosen nuts in the processor until finely chopped, but not like powder.
-Add in the rest of the dry ingredients now. So the salt, cacao powder, cacao nibs, chia seeds and flax seeds. Give this all a good stir yourself with a spoon.
-Obviously remove the stones from each of your dates and pop them into the processor along with the vanilla extract and maple syrup.
-Whizz everything together on a medium setting of your processor, until the mixture is sticking together and clumping up around the sides. It’ll be so obvious when it is done because you’ll start to panic, that any longer, and your processor might just explode. In the rare case that your mixture isn’t quite turning sticky like this, add at least three more dates and be sure to let the processor incorporate them thoroughly. By letting the processor mix it round and round for a while breaks the ingredients down and begins to emulsify them, thus more stickiness!
Then all you do is take about two or three teaspoons worth of mixture and roll them into balls! It really is that simple.
Additionally, you can grind some extra nuts in the processor until they are well chopped and coat some of the balls with this, instead of leaving them plain.
Now because medjool dates have a pretty good shelf life, these should last you about two weeks when kept in the fridge in an air tight container (if you manage to leave them that long).
My mum and I were so pleasantly surprised with how much better these tasted with the simple additions of the cacao powder and nibs. They were such a step up from the original ones and I’d happily have one or two of these instead of a chocolate bar!
Thank you for reading, as always. Please give these a go, they take no time at all!
A Little Disclaimer- This recipe is of my own composition inspired by many others of the same nature. I therefore do not mean to pass the idea off as entirely my own. All pictures on this post have been taken by yours truly.