I love the idea of yummy raw balls, but to be honest, I find many of them too sweet for my taste or feel they are only a 'treat' because they are so sweet. I want to give my kids wholesome snacks, that are both nutritious and tasty, without relying upon sweetness as the main attraction.
I have made many different raw balls, and the basic recipe is the same for most recipes - a sweet dried fruit like dates, raisins or figs, and nuts and/or seeds. This week, I experimented with a less sweet version, that was full of healthy goodness.
Although this recipe uses 20 dates, it also uses over 2 cups of nuts and seeds. Possibly because I soaked the dates for so long, these were truly not sweet. Also I made A LOT of balls, so there is very little date per ball.
Dates provide the natural sweetness, but they also provide the fibre and nutrients to allow the body to break down and use the sugars, so therefore it places no further tax on the body. This differs from refined sugars which leech from the body and can cause harm.
These are total winners - so say the kids, friends, my marathon running Cantonese lesson classmate and me!
- 20 dates (soaked over night in water until really soft)
- 1/2 Cup macadamia nuts
- 1/4 Cup cashews
- 1/4 Cup almonds
- 1/4 Cup hemp seeds
- 1/4 Cup unsweetened coconut flakes, more to roll in
- 2 Tablespoons raw cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon pink himalayan salt
- 1/2 Tablespoon vanilla
- 3 Tablespoons of water from the dates
- 1/2 Cup of chia seeds
- Add the dates to a food processor, without the liquid, and blend
- Add the nuts to the food processor, and blend for a few minutes until well mixed with the dates
- Add the hemp seeds, coconut flakes and blend more until well mixed
- Add the raw cacao powder and pink himalayan salt
- Add the vanilla
- Continue to use the food processor on high until everything is evenly mixed
- If you feel it is still too 'dry' then add some water from the dates, I added about 3 Tablespoons (see photos below for an idea of the texture)
- Be sure it is all mixed, then at the last minute, add chia seeds and only mix gently to have them evenly spread around the 'dough'
Take them out of the food processor and roll into small balls
Roll some on coconut flakes if you like, leave some naked
Put in freezer or fridge on plates for them to harder, then transfer to a convenient container to store.
Store in the fridge or freezer.
Great in the kids lunch box or as snacks at the office or class - or just an afternoon or evening treat.
Why did I add the chia seeds last and try to leave them a bit more whole?
- Chia seeds absorb liquid, but it takes about 10 minutes. Since the dough needs to be 'wet' enough to roll, I thought that if I added the chia seeds last I could roll the dough easily, but then they would firm up a bit after they were made. No idea if this theory is true or not, but it did work out well for me.
- By adding them last and leaving them whole, it adds a bit of a different texture to the balls.