Cookie house tadpole Emma is back to uni next week, she is big on the no added sugar thing, so I whipped up these little protein balls for her to tuck into her bag for a quick boost between lectures. They have no added sugar, no gluten and no dairy. They look so much like the rum balls my Mum used to make with the scouts when I was little (Hi Mum!), which were the polar opposite of healthy, but just the sight of these brought back a happy childhood memory, so they were worth making just for that.
Don’t they look fabulous? And they taste wonderful too, as proven by eldest Cookie House tadpole Jon who polished off four in four bites and tried to make off with the plate!
45g chia seed
400g pitted medjool dates
120g raw cashews (or pine nuts if you don’t eat cashews)
55g crunchy peanut butter
10g powdered peanut butter (this is optional, I recently found some powdered peanut butter at Woolworths and am trialling it as a thickener, it also adds a protein boost to these balls, which is a good thing for a busy uni student)
additional - 10g cocoa
- dessicated coconut
- roasted chopped peanuts
Process the chia seed in a high powered food processor or spice grinder, I used my NutriBullet, until it is a powder.
Place the dates and cashews into the base of a food processor (if you don’t have one and you plan to make many of these, I would very much advise you to get one) and pulse until they come together in a sticky mass, I do not purée these, I don’t want that sort of texture, I mostly want the dates broken up and the cashews in lots of chunks. Tip in the peanut butter, ground chia seed and powdered peanut butter, process again until it all comes together in big balls. Divide into three bowls.
Add the cocoa to one lot, a good dusting or slurp of vanilla to another (I used that gorgeous vanilla powder from Queensland I have mentioned before), leave the other plain.
Mix the vanilla and the cocoa through their respective mixes thoroughly.
Roll 25g portions into balls, roll the finished vanilla ones in desiccated coconut, the plain ones in chopped, roasted peanuts (you may have to speak firmly to them about coating in the peanuts), and leave the chocolate ones just the way they are.
Store for up to two weeks in the fridge, or pop them in the freezer, I would be very surprised if they last that long, you can keep them at room temperature, and they will be fine for Emma to take to uni in her bag without a cold pack, but they just keep better in the fridge. They will firm up as they mature as the ground chia seed absorbs the moisture in them, this just makes them chewy as well as delicious, so there you go, guilt free indulgence. Enjoy.