Happy Spring everyone! Apparently the first day of Spring was on Monday. I don’t know about everywhere else, but it definitely feels more like winter here in Dublin today (thanks to the grey skies and sideways rain). If you’re like me and sometimes need a little chocolatey pick-me-up to keep you going on grey days like these, you’ll LOVE this delicious little number.
There are so many variations on energy ball recipes out there. Personally, I like to keep it simple. These Cashew-Cacao Spring Balls contain only 5 ingredients, and will definitely put a spring in your step! (Pro tip: if you’re watching you sodium intake, they work great without the sea salt, and will only contain 4 ingredients! Yuss!)
Medjool dates are appearing in all sorts of recipes lately, and it’s no wonder really. They have an amazing ability to add natural sweetness as well as a delicious, caramelly texture to sweet dishes. On top of that, they are a great source of potassium, magnesium and fibre! This recipe works out at less than 1 date per ball, so you don’t even need that many dates to get that amazing decadent, sweet taste!
When it comes to choosing sweeteners, it’s important to choose your poison wisely, and enjoy in moderation. Some good options are dates, raw honey, good quality maple syrup, and coconut blossom sugar. Remember that all these healthy(ish) sweeteners DO contain naturally-occuring sugars (mostly glucose and fructose), so are not sugar-free. They’re just refined sugar-free.
The difference between eating lots of dates and eating lots of refined (cane) sugar is that when you eat refined sugar all you get is the calories, with absolutely no other nutrients. When you choose a natural, unprocessed sweetener (like the ones mentioned above), you’re getting lots of other great nutrients along with the natural sugars in dates. For this reason, natural sweeteners are more satiating, and less likely to lead to a sugar crash a few hours later.
Now, the fun part: the recipe. Warning: this one involves getting your hands messy!
*This recipe is vegan-friendly, gluten-free, refined sugar-free & grain-free*
Cashew-Cacao Spring Balls
MAKES: approx. 12 | PREP TIME: 20 min
3 tablespoons cacao powder
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
1/4 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
Pro tip: if the Medjool dates you bought are a bit tough, you might need to soak them in boiling water for about 15 minutes, and then drain them before adding them in step 2, with a tablespoon of their soaking water.
- Place 2/3 of the cashews in a blender or food processor, and blend until you get a fine flour. Throw in the remainder of the cashews and pulse to get a rougher texture. Take all cashews out and set aside.
- Place the dates and the tablespoon of melted coconut oil in the food processor, and blend until you get a thick paste.
- Add the blended cashews back in on top of the dates, along with the cacao powder and sea salt. Blend everything together until you get a thick, chocolate-y dough-like texture (see photos).
- Pinch a bit of the mixture into your hands and roll until it forms a ball (about the size of a ping-pong ball). Repeat until you run out of mixture. It made 12 for me.
- Place in a container in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm up, then store in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-5 days.