Week 14: Energy Bites!
I’m excited for spring weather (finally!) and to get back into outdoor running. With this modest increase in physical activity, I’ve noticed myself getting a little hungrier and wanting to reach for something healthy and homemade. I came across two different recipes for energy balls/bites on two food blogs I love and figured I might as well try both to get an idea of what kind of energy bites I enjoy. I think I’ve only ever eaten an energy ball once in my life. Thankfully, both recipes turned out to be super delicious and will probably make it into our regular recipe rotation if I can figure out how to overcome the challenge of dates in the food processor. Do you have any tips?!
Dark Chocolate Cherry Energy Balls recipe from Oh She Glows and Cashew Coconut Chia Energy Bites recipe from A Beautiful Plate. Both are healthy, packed with flavour as well as vegan, gluten-free, and raw/no-bake if you’re into that.
Ingredients: I ended up going to both the grocery store and the bulk food store to find everything for these ones – both recipes called for lots of ingredients I don’t typically keep on hand. These were also not cheap as everything from medjool dates to natural raw almonds to dried cherries seemed to cost a premium. Hopefully the health benefits are worth it!
Timing: these are probably the kind of things that should take 15 minutes but I had a LOT of food processor challenges and they ended up taking almost an hour (each).
Yield: cherry dark chocolate made 16 energy balls and coconut cashew made 32 bite size squares.
Serving: these are a fantastic afternoon or pre-workout snack!
How did it go? Um… not well. First I made the dark chocolate cherry ones and the almonds were very difficult to chop. I used my Kitchenaid mini chopper/food processor and while trying to chop the almonds my machine started smoking. So that was not a good start. Then I tried them in a full-size food processor and that seemed to work better, until I added the dates. It could barely cut through them! Weird noises were happening and I feared we were doomed. I took some of them out and then slowly added them back in gradually and the processor seemed to be better able to deal with them this way. After all of this, they thankfully turned out great.
When I went to make the coconut cashew ones, I was intrigued to see the tip to pour boiling water and then drain it to soften the dates before you process them. Could this be the solution to my date chopping troubles?! Sadly, no. Now the dates seemed too wet and would immediately get flung to the walls of the food processor and were basically unchoppable for a completely different reason. I hoped when I added the rest of the ingredients, it would get better, but the food processor continued to trouble me. Either the blade could barely move or it spun fast with the mixture packed above the blade, so not getting chopped much either way. The mixture was probably a lot chunkier than intended, but thankfully, these also ended up tasting great.
Taste: I really like the taste of both of these. I was worried they wouldn’t be sweet enough and would taste like “health food” but they are actually both delightfully sweet from the dates and the natural fruit sweetness is totally enough! The chocolate cherry ones almost taste like dessert and totally satisfy my sweet tooth cravings! The texture is soft but not too soft. The coconut cashew ones have a lighter (less rich) flavour with a bright pop of fresh orange. They also have a ton of interesting texture from the coconut, chopped cashews, and sesame and chia seeds that are added later. I might go for these in the mid-morning and chocolate cherry in the afternoon.
Tips: I don’t know what to suggest for the food processor woes as the dried and soaked dates both gave me problems. Maybe you need to have a more powerful food processor to make these successfully? If anyone has any tips or ideas, please share them in the comments below!
Luke’s review: thumbs up
Luke’s recipe rating: Coconut Cashew: This is a great pre-workout bar! Fresh, tastes good, easily transportable. Pocket friendly, great orange zest aftertaste. Dark Chocolate Cherry: Little balls of joy! Some people say the bigger the better, but in this case, these little energy balls pack the punch of two Mike Tyson haymakers! A delicious snack, grab ‘n’ go, chewy gooey gooness!