You know that moment; mid-morning or mid-afternoon; you fancy a cuppa & ‘something’. Something small, something yum, something sweet but also ideally (relatively!) heathy.
It can seem impossible to combine those four things but really, it’s not.
These little homemade ‘energy’ balls are so easy to make, don’t involve any real ‘cooking’, are made with very normal ingredients & are a hit with all (obviously to be avoided by those with a nut allergy).
Try them with a strong cup of black coffee mid-morning or a cup of Earl Grey, green tea or your brew of choice in the afternoon.
One is never enough…
170g of Raw Skin-On Almonds or Cashew nuts (or a combo of the two works too)
140g Dates (with pits removed or you’ll likely break your mixer & the pits sure won’t add to the flavour!)
3 Tablespoons Desiccated Coconut
2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder (you can use Raw Cacao if that’s your thing)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract (NOT the synthetic ‘essence’)
Zest of 2 small Organic oranges OR 1 large orange
Juice of 1 Orange (using c. 2-3 tablespoons; add one-by-one to get right consistency)
Additional Desiccated Coconut & Cocoa Powder for decorating.
Soak the Dates in boiling water in a small bowl for c. 30 mins. Drain & set aside.
(Optional but nice)
Roast the Almonds on a baking tray for c. 10 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius (do not be tempted to turn the heat higher to speed this up; higher heat degrades the good fats in the nuts & will spoil the flavour to boot).
Time & monitor them too - nuts will turn from toasty & yum to burnt & acrid very quickly.
Blitz the roasted Almonds in your small food processor; you’re after a rough but fine enough texture.
Add the Coconut, the Cocoa powder & blitz briefly to combine.
Add the drained Dates, along with the Orange zest, some of the Orange juice (start with a scant 2 tablespoons of OJ) & the Vanilla extract.
Blitz for 20-30 seconds at a time, careful not to overwork the engine of your small food processor.
Check the consistency; if too ‘thick’ & very ‘stuck’ looking, add a little more OJ - you’re after a dense, sticky but somewhat moveable consistency. It should be easy to remove from the processr with a spatula but not remotely ‘liquid-ey’.
Using a soup spoon as a rough ‘serving’ size, ladle out a small amount & by hand, roll into balls (they do not need to be perfect). I get 15 balls out of this mixture - you can make them smaller or bigger (but not too much bigger as they are filling!). Place them on a baking or parchment paper lined board or baking sheet as you shape them.
(Optional but nice).
Dust first with some more desiccated coconut & then with some more cocoa powder or do half & half. You can even 'dress them up' by popping them into (eco-friendly!) petit fours cases. Doing this makes them easier to eat & also will make it a little easier to store or transport them if you’re treating friends, family or co-workers.
Store in an airtight container & keep in the fridge (if they last…) for up to a week.
Remember with the fresh OJ & the fats in the nuts, they won’t keep forever.
Hope you like them!