I am not a chocolate lover. There, I said it. My entire life I’ve been the person in my family who turns up her nose at a piece of chocolate. It’s not that I don’t like it – I’d just rather dive into a plate of fries dunked in ketchup. When my friend Michael invited me to take a bean to bar chocolate making class at his shop, Ethereal Confections, I was skeptical the experience would change my feelings about chocolate. Let’s just say I was wrong.
We made six vegan chocolate bars in the class and received a goody bag with more chocolate to take home. Michael and his sister were so incredibly generous! I figured the loot would last a lifetime, but every piece was gone within a few weeks. Oops! Now I’m buying cacao by the truckload from the bulk section and making fun, bite-sized desserts like these Raw Cacao Energy Balls. Who am I? A chocolate liker, that’s what.
These Raw Cacao Energy Balls are brimming with nutrient-packed nuts and are naturally sweetened with dates. Not a pinch of refined sugar in these treats! I actually made them because my pantry was overflowing with bits and pieces from the bulk bin I wanted to use up. Raw almonds, walnuts, and oats make up the base of these energy balls, but you can probably use any nuts or seeds you have on hand. I imagine pepitas and pistachios would be fantastic!
As if you needed another reason to eat chocolate, simmer on this nugget of knowledge: cacao has more than 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries and is an excellent source of plant-based iron. Just be sure you’re purchasing raw cacao (pronounced cuh-cow) powder, not cocoa powder. Cocoa powder is processed and roasted to the point where nearly all of the antioxidants are destroyed. You can find cacao powder in health food stores and in the bulk bins at most every grocery.
Raw Cacao Energy Balls
These Raw Cacao Energy Balls are brimming with nutrient-packed nuts and are naturally sweetened with dates. Not a pinch of refined sugar in these treats!
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 0 mins
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 12 energy balls
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 1/2 cup raw walnuts
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- 2 Tbsp. raw cacao powder
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup dates, chopped
- 1 to 2 Tbsp. water
- Put the almonds, walnuts, oats, cacao, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the nuts break down and combine with the other ingredients. The meal should be fine, but retain some texture — you don’t want to make nut butter!
- Add the dates and a tablespoon of water and run the food processor until the mixture becomes thick and sticky. You should be able to squeeze a bit of the mixture between your fingers. If it’s too loose and crumbly, add another tablespoon of water and process until everything comes together.
- Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Scoop pieces of the mixture and roll it into balls between your palms, slightly smaller than the size of a golf ball. Line them up on the baking sheet and place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour, overnight if possible. Store the raw cacao energy balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.