These bite-sized balls are a healthier alternative to packaged chocolate or snacks, especially for those who need their sweet fix. They contain no oils or processed sugar and the sweetness comes from the dried dates. As nuts and dried fruits are the main ingredients, these balls are high in fat and therefore high in calories. To create balance, limit your intake to 1-2 a day. You can also add a protein powder, or enjoy with a green juice, fresh fruit or vegetables.
I enjoy them with a matcha-latte or smoothie at the 3pm slump, or first thing in the morning, when I need that pick-me-up to get me going pre-workout.
What I love about this recipe is you can swap out the almonds for any other nuts you prefer. You can use hazelnuts to bring out the chocolate flavour, or use raw cashews for a bit of extra healthy fat!
Look out for nutrition label when buying dates
When buying your pitted dates, ensure the ingredient list on the nutrition label reads "100% dates" - with no added sugars or oils. Packets of nuts and mixed dates are usually coated in sugar or vegetable oils for preservation, however, if you look closely you will find brands that don't add anything at all. A packet will usually set you back $1-4, but if you buy medjool dates or raw dates from organic suppliers, you'll pay anywhere between $10-$30 for a healthier variety.
Soften your dates before blending
While you could go all-out and buy medjool dates for this snack, it probably isn't the most cost effective option. Medjool dates are luxury - smooth, melt-in-your-mouth dates, and often come in smaller packets with about 6-8 dates only, so it's a good idea if you're making the balls for a special occasion. If you're buying dates that are pitted and packaged in bulk (still very tasty), they're often dry on the outside. To ensure you get a smooth texture, soak your dates in hot water before blending.
Ensure your nuts are unsalted and raw
It's often easier and cheaper to find roasted or salted nuts at the supermarket, however for this to work you need to buy raw, unsalted nuts. This will ensure your snacks don't turn out too bitter or salty. Try bulk food stores or local delicatessens for more affordable raw nuts than those packaged and sold at supermarkets.
A no-bake, sweet snack that takes less than 30 minutes to whip up and only contains 5 ingredients!
Almond and date energy balls
Time: 1 hour Yield: 12-14 Serves
Nutrition Facts (coming soon)
2 cups pitted dates (approx. 320g)
1 cup natural almonds
2 heaped tbsp cacao powder
1 tbsp chia seeds
¼ cup almond meal
2-3 tbsp warm water
1. Use a blender or food processor to crush the almonds until crumbly.
2. Soak the dates in hot water for 2-5 minutes to soften, then drain the water and add them to the food processor.
3. Mix until combined and you can add a splash of hot water in to get it going if the dates are not mincing.
4. Add cacao powder, chia seeds, almond meal and warm water and mix until combined. It should be crumbly but not dry. You can add more water here to bring it together if its too dry. The combination of dates and water should allow you to shape the balls without the use of coconut oil or maple syrup.
5. Scoop out a little more than a tablespoon of the mixture and roll in your hands until it forms a snack-sized ball.
6. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour and then enjoy!
7. To make it sweeter, you can roll the balls in cocoa or desiccated coconut.