If you are on Pinterest, chances are you’ve seen and/or pinned some version of these Cocoa/Energy Bites. They are, more or less, a healthy, vegan alternative to a brownie. I really like the version I tried, but if you are not used to a low sugar diet, you may think the sweet factor could be amped up. You can always add more agave nectar/stevia/etc.
This is a very easy, no-bake recipe, but it does require a food processor. Confession: I used to avoid any and all recipes that involved a food processor. My food processor fear likely stemmed from a complicated contraption I once owned years ago. It had about a million parts, took up a lot of room and never quite worked right. I got rid of it and didn’t replace it until recently. When I became a vegan, it became evident I would need a very good blender and a decent food processor.
I decided to go big on the blender (Vitamix) because it makes the best smoothies, hands down. I went small (financially speaking) on the food processor. A basic model Black & Decker with no bells ‘n whistles. Nothing to intimidate or complicate. And – bonus! – I got it on sale for just $30. I chose this brand and model because of my affection for my Black & Decker mini chopper. When I bought it used over ten years ago, I had no idea what a little gem it would be. So far, my food processor has not let me down. It does a fabulous job and I’m very happy with it.
Now, about those Cocoa Bites…
MAKES 12-14 BALLS
Soak one cup of pitted dates* in water for 10 minutes, then drain.
I used 14 large dates. I accidentally bought un-pitted dates, which is no big deal. If you make the same mistake, after soaking, cut lengthwise down each date, spread open and remove the pit. They come out very easily.
Process the following in a food processor bowl until crumbly:
½ cup raw almonds
½ cup walnuts
Add the following to the food processor and blend until just incorporated:
¼ cup dried unsweetened coconut
¼ cup cocoa or cacao powder
1 Tbsp. flax seeds
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
1 Tbsp. agave nectar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Add the dates to the food processor. Blend until the mixture starts holding together.
Shape the mixture into 1- to 2-inch balls (they may feel oily from the nut oils being released, this is normal). Place on a plate and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
If you’re smart, you’ll repeat steps 1-5 to make a double batch ;)
Goodbye Oreo Balls, hello Cocoa Bites!