No Bake Cacao Energy Balls
These no bake cacao energy balls are the bomb, and one of my favorite “healthyish” snacks to munch on! I would classify these as a WHOLE FOODS version of a brownie or energy bar, but I’m not going to call them brownies, because that would be confusing to some people for various reasons, so instead I’m going to call these no bake cacao energy balls! I will admit they are sweet, but their sweetness comes from the natural goodness of dates, not refined processed sugar.
These no bake cacao energy balls are made with the following WHOLE FOOD ingredients:
- Medjool dates
- Raw cacao powder
- Unsweetened coconut
- Brazil nuts – high in selenium which is great for thyroid health and cancer prevention
These balls are also; gluten-free, grain-free, egg & dairy-free, paleo, vegan and don’t contain any refined sugars, plus they’re kid approved!
As you can see there’s nothing processed in these bars, no refined sugars, or flours. These are made with real food that mother earth created for our bodies! These balls only take only 10 minutes to make from start to finish! Yes, I’m not lying, 10-minutes, and it’s a snack that’s actually pretty good for you, (well, better for you than any refined sugar or processed snack bar) as it’s loaded with healthy essential fatty acids (fatty acids that our bodies need, but can’t make) like Omega 3 and Omega 6, dietary fiber, antioxidants, magnesium, and minerals, so yes, these bars do provide some nutritional value and taste great to boot!
Did you know that our brains are 60% fat, and that 1/3 of our calories go to our brain, so fat is good for the brain! Healthy fats also keep your blood sugar balanced longer and prevent the spikes and swings that refined sugars can give you. Healthy fats increase our energy, satiety, and metabolic rate! Bring those healthy fats on…
If you haven’t had raw cacao before, give it a try. Raw cacao is the purest form of chocolate you can consume. Raw cacao is thought to be the highest source of antioxidants of all foods and is the highest whole food source of magnesium, which is the most deficient mineral in our modern-day diet! I’ll go into the benefits of magnesium on another post, as it’s something I’ve been incorporating into my diet everyday and I’m noticing a huge changes and benefits. It’s also chock-full of minerals, excellent source of monounsaturated fats, fiber and helps to balance blood pressure!
These bites are also a great recipe that your kids can make with you! Get your kids involved in making this whole food snack and talk to them about the goodness of each ingredient! They will love these bites even more after making them with their own two hands and having that special time with you! They will also love mixing the batter together with their cute little hands and molding it into little balls or shapes!It’s like food play dough!
No Bake Cacao Energy Bites
special equipment: food processor
Note: For a kid friendly version, you can omit the shredded coconut & Brazil nuts. They will taste like little brownie balls.
- 2 cups organic raw walnuts
- 1 cup raw cacao powder – use raw cacao powder not cocoa powder – use code marinmama10 to save 10% off your order
- 1/4 teaspoon fine Celtic sea salt
- 18 soft Medjool dates, pitted – I like the consistency of 18 dates, as the bites are moister – Make sure your dates are soft and fresh, hard dates will not work well in this recipe, if your dates are hard then soak them in some warm water for a bit, as this will help soften them.
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
- 1/2 cup brazil nuts, coarsely chopped – you can add in any type of nut, or feel free to omit the extra nuts
In a food processor, add in the walnuts and process until a crumbly texture is formed (about 15-20 seconds).
Add in cacao powder and sea salt and pulse to combine.
With the machine running, slowly add in the dates, a few at a time, through the feed tube, so they can fully incorporate into the mixture. Make sure that the dates are blended into the mixture before you add more. Process until all of the dates are incorporated into the mixture.
The cacao mixture should resemble brownie crumbs at this point. You can test the mixture by pressing it in-between your fingers. It should easily stick together and you should be able to easily mold it into a ball, if not, then add more dates, but if you use 18 dates, your mixture should be perfect!
You can stop here and keep these balls as is, as they taste like brownies, or add in the rest of the ingredients. Just roll the mixture into balls, or press the mixture into a parchment lined pan.
If you’re going to add the rest of the ingredients, then transfer the cacao batter to a medium-sized bowl and add in shredded coconut & chopped Brazil nuts. Get your hands in there and mix everything together really well. It’s almost like playing with play dough. You can totally eat this batter as well because there are no eggs, so nibble away.
Now, you can do whatever you want with this cacao mixture You can roll it into little balls, (think chocolate truffles), or press it into a parchment-lined pan, and then cut it into little bite sized pieces once cooled.
You can also divide the batter in half, and do both.
The balls can be any size you want, just grab a tablespoon size amount of mixture, and roll them into a ball with your hands, and then roll them in some unsweetened coconut, as it not only adds great texture and taste, but helps with the overall presentation.
If you want to make bars, then take the cacao mixture and press it down into a parchment lined pan using your hands or a spatula. I always top the cacao mixture with a piece of parchment when molding the it into the pan, as it can be sticky. The batter will look a bit shiny due to the oil from the dates, so I always sprinkle some unsweetened coconut over the top of the cacao mixture to help with the overall presentation!
Cover and place the cacao bar mixture into the refrigerator to cool for a couple of hours, as the bar version is easier to cut when cooled. The cacao balls do not have to go into the fridge. Once cooled, lift the parchment paper and cacao mixture out of the pan, and cut it into bite sized bars or squares.
Storage: Wrap the cacao bars up tightly in the parchment paper and then with a layer of tin foil, or store the balls in a sealed container on the counter. Balls/bars will keep fresh for up to one week.