We’re in it folks. That crazy time of year that starts with Halloween and goes all the way through New Year’s Eve. That time when we are bombarded with candies, cookies, cakes, and rich foods of many sorts. That time of year when we are running from one thing to the next. That time of year when we skip lunch since we are so busy, only to find ourselves stuffing our face with a giant cookie at the mall because we are about to fall over with hunger (or maybe that is just me). Yup. It is that time of year.
For many of us this is a time of year when we regret a lot of our food decisions. Sometimes it is because we overeat. Sometimes it is because we stress eat. Sometimes it is because the options aren’t the best and so we settle for less-than-ideal meals. No matter what the reason, this recipe might a little glimmer of hope for you.
These energy balls are so simple to make that a 6-year-old could make them on their own. Really! In fact, these would be a great holiday afternoon activity—have your kid make them and then bring the results to a party as a treat to share. Your kid will be proud, your friends and family will be impressed, and you’ll be bringing something that is surprisingly healthy! They are sweet and chocolatey, and really quite healthy—packed with dark chocolate and protein.
These would make a great addition to any holiday celebration dessert spread (just call them truffles), they are a fantastic on-the-go snack (to avoid those mall cookies), and are even great in lunch boxes.
My version is nut-free to be more allergy-friendly and school-safe, but if you want to change them up you can use half peanuts and half sunflower seeds. You can make them pretty by rolling them in chocolate powder, shredded coconut, or sprinkles.
In short, these are a holiday-season lifesaver!
- 1 cup pitted, chopped dates
- 1 cup sunflower seeds (or ½ c sunflower seeds and ½ c roasted peanuts)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- pinch of sea salt
- optional rolling toppings: cocoa powder, shredded coconut, sprinkles
- If your dates are very dry and brittle, soak them in warm water for 15 minutes and then drain them. Put all of the ingredients, except for the optional toppings, into a blender or food processor. Blend for 1-2 minutes, or until everything forms into a dough-like mixture. Scrape down the sides as necessary. If the dough doesn’t form into a cohesive ball, then pick up a little bit and test to see if it will form a ball. If so, you are ready to go. Taste for sweetness. If you want it sweeter, add a few more dates and blend again. Once the dough is how you want it, scoop out small clumps, about 1 tablespoon each, and form into balls.
- If you are topping them, sprinkle the desired topping on a plate and roll the balls to coat.
- These keep well in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.