One comment I’ve read more than a few times over the years of creating recipes for the blog is while energy bars, balls, and bites are well received as a healthy, easy, go-to snack, they almost always contain nuts leaving those with nut allergies out on the sidelines with tears welled up in their eyes, sad that they yet again, can’t participate in the deliciousness.
So, this is for you my sweet and patient nut-free readers (and for the rest of you too!). I’ve come up with a tasty, Christmas-inspired, easy, nourishing energy ball that you can enjoy!
Over the years I’ve racked up quite the collection of these yummy snacks…bars, balls, and bites, and while most of them do contain tree nuts, I decided the challenge of creating a nut-free energy ball would be fun!
As a base for these delightful gingerbread flavoured balls I went with coconut!
Now… wait, wait, wait a minute Christal…. isn’t coconut a nut?
As a matter of fact, it’s a fruit!
I chose to go with a selection of fiber rich, energizing, flavourful, and nourishing ingredients; coconut, dates, chia seeds, hemp seeds, buckwheat and a bunch of gingerbready spices plus an essential ingredient… can you guess?!
Molasses! This ingredient was essential to add moisture and that classic gingerbread flavour to these balls! I used unsulphured blackstrap molasses from Wholesome Sweeteners, a great product that omits the use of sulphur dioxide making this molasses better for our bodies and the environment.
Of course, in my kitchen it seems that nothing is complete without a drizzle, dollop, splash, or hint of dark chocolate, so naturally I melted some high quality, antioxidant-rich, organic 70% dark chocolate and gave each ball a generous drizzle of the good stuff!
A pinch of coconut palm sugar, ground ginger, and cinnamon to each ball was the finishing touch and I sat back and marvelled at these nut-free beauties! It was really like Christmas came early!
Do you have a nut allergy? Are you able to enjoy coconut still? What ingredients do you use for energy balls, bars, or bites to keep them nut-free? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
- 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- ¾ cup pitted dates (soaked in hot water for 10 minutes - reserve 2 tablespoons of date soaking water)
- 2 tablespoons water from soaking dates
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
- ¼ cup raw buckwheat groats
- 1 tsp unsulphured molasses
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ cup chopped 70% dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips
- Place the dates in a bowl and pour hot water over top, let soak for 10 minutes.
- Drain and reserve 2 tablespoons of the soaking liquid.
- Add all ingredients except for chocolate to a food processor.
- Processes the ingredients until a sticky batter develops. You may need to use a spatula to scrape the sides of the processor until the ingredients form a sticky mass/batter.
- Using clean, slightly wet hands, take about 2 tablespoon portions of the batter and roll in your hands to create a ball.
- Set the ball on a plate.
- Repeat until all the batter is used up. This should make around 10 golf ball sized balls.
- Place the balls in the freezer to set cool.
- While the balls are cooling, place a pan over low heat and add in the dark chocolate and stir consistently as it melts.
- Once melted and smooth, remove the balls from the freezer and pour a teaspoon or so of chocolate over each ball. The chocolate will begin to harden quickly once drizzled over the ball.
- Repeat the process for each ball and place the plate back in the fridge or freezer for 30 minutes.
- Store the balls in the fridge or freezer and enjoy as a snack or sweet treat!
Seeing as this will be my last post before Christmas, I would like to take a moment to wish you ALL a very Merry Christmas!
For those of you with family and friends around, hold them close, hug them tight, and take a moment to breathe in the beauty and love surrounds us this time of year. For those of you who don’t have so many around you to hold and hug this time of year or are dealing with the loss of a loved one, please know that you matter SO much and are loved, valued, and important. Wrap your arms around yourself in a big hug, and know that you are never alone…
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34:18
Nutritionist in the Kitch