Grab-and-go snacks are really important for my family since we love outdoor activities. Everyday, we either eat a granola bar, a cookie, a trail mix or an energy ball with fresh fruits. Kids (and adults!) are SUPER sensible to hunger and most of the time, a nutritious snack can help control cravings between meals and may even help avoid a tantrum. These delicious energy balls are filled with plenty of healthy foods and seeds. I often double or triple the recipe, especially when Noah is helping me sprinkle the seeds on top of the balls. They are great frozen too! I prefer to pack them cold so the chocolate melts slower and we can head to the beach or a trek and have our snack ready!
The fun thing about these is that they don’t require any baking and they are super adaptable : you can change their shape (smaller or bigger balls, bar shape), add toothpicks if you don’t like messy fingers or vary the ingredients to fit your tastes.
Here are a few ideas to change the recipe if you (or your kids) have allergies or you just want to substitute an ingredient:
- Different nuts: I generally do this recipe with almonds, but you can use other nuts (walnuts, brazil nuts, pecans) or directly go with peanut or nut butter (you'll probably have to add around 2 cups of nut butter for 1 cup of raw almonds). If you’re looking for a nut-free option, use sunflower butter or soy butter (WowButter). Finally, to replace the crushed hazelnuts, you could use whatever other nut or roasted soybeans.
- Different dried fruits: I really like dates, but sometimes, if I run out, I use raisins or apricots. They work well too. If you feel your energy balls aren’t sweet enough, you can add a bit of maple syrup or honey. This is the kind of recipe you may need to adjust if it’s too dry or too wet, until you reach a texture that’s easy to handle.
- Different seeds: the suggested recipe includes a mix of super seeds, but you could also top yours with unsweetened coconut flakes, crushed nuts, cacao powder, goji berries etc… More information on seeds here and here
- Different cereals : crisp rice cereals add crunchiness to the balls (and they are pretty easy to find!), but you can replaced them with crushed corn flakes, puffed quinoa or whatever other cereals you like.
Noah's favorite "super seeds" energy balls
Yield : about 20-25 balls
1 cup or 18-20 pitted Medjool dates
1 cup raw almonds
½ cup raw hazelnut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup rice crisp cereals
½ cup dark cacao chips (at least 70%)
1 teaspoon extra virgin coconut butter
1 tablespoon hazelnut butter (optional – see note)
Topping ingredients :
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon chia seeds
½ tablespoon bee pollen seeds
Fine grain sea salt (to taste)
1. Roast the hazelnuts at about 350F for about 10-15 minutes. Coarsely chop and set aside.
2. In a food processor, process the almonds, dates, salt and vanilla. At that point, you should have a sticky mixture (a dough will start to form). Keep aside in a bowl.
3. Add the crisp rice cereals and roasted hazelnuts to the sticky mixture.
4. Melt the chocolate with the coconut and hazelnut butters in a small pot at low heat. Cool down.
5. Shape the dates mixture into 1 inch-balls.
6. Dip the balls in the melted chocolate and sprinkle with the super seeds.
7. Set aside in the fridge or freezer until the chocolate is set.
Note : Hazelnut butter gives a “Nutella” taste to the chocolate topping. If you omit that ingredient, you may need to use about ¾ cup of cacao nibs instead.