It’s about time I lay off the butter.
…well, just for today. It’s been way too long since I shared a healthier recipe with you.
Have you ever had a Lara bar before? Lara bars are my favorite type of healthy snack bar. They are all-natural, vegan, gluten free, and made 100% with whole, natural foods. My favorite flavors are Chocolate Chip Brownie and Cherry Pie. The bars usually only contain nuts, dried fruits, and other whole foods.
I made little bite-sized “truffle” balls over the weekend that reminded me of Lara bars, but without the $2+ price tag. As much as I love healthy snack bars and such, buying them from the store really adds up. If I eat 5 per week at the office, that’s $10 just for work snacks! By making my own, I save money AND I have complete control over the quality of ingredients.
With Valentine‘s Day coming up, I know some of you will appreciate a healthier option to typical chocolate candies and desserts.
My little chocolate bites are vegan and gluten free with no added sugars and made with only 5 easy ingredients: dates, peanuts, sunflower seeds, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract. That’s it! I call them brownie truffles because well, they are super fudgy, dense, and moist. Pure energy in quite the natural state! I popped a few of these bites before the gym on Sunday night. I ran like lightning.
I’m not vegan, nor do I follow a gluten free or raw diet, but I love natural treats like these. I have quite a few readers asking me for vegan and gluten free recipes, so I’m happy to share a recent creation with you today. You’ll need a blender or food processor to make them.
I made three different kinds of the truffles: (1) plain, (2) rolled in cocoa powder, and (3) rolled in coconut. You could even roll them in crushed peanuts, crushed pumpkin seeds, or mini chocolate chips.
The base of this recipe is pitted dates. I love dates! They are a natural sweetener, also known as nature’s candy. There is NO added sugar in these bites; the only sweetness comes from the dates. Pure dates are one of my favorite snacks. Try stuffing them with peanut butter and mini chocolate chips. Simply incredible!
I bought the dates in the produce section of the grocery store. You’ll need 14 whole dates. Some of the dates I bought were much firmer than others, so chopping them all up into small pieces made them easier to blend. You could even soak the dates in warm water to make them softer.
Put the chopped dates and the vanilla extract into the blender/food processor first. 2 hefty teaspoons of vanilla extract. I’m never shy adding vanilla extract to my recipes! The little bit of liquid helps to break up the dates so that is why I add both first. Next, add 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder to the blender. You don’t want to add the cocoa powder last or you’ll have quite the mess all over your blender. The cocoa powder, dates, and vanilla extract give the truffle bites their intensely fudgy taste.
The final two ingredients are peanuts and sunflower seeds. I used salted dry-roasted peanuts here because I love how they taste with the sweet dates and cocoa powder. Salty/sweet chocolate treats will always steal my heart!
Mix everything together in your blender/food processor. This is the food processor I have. It also works as my blender and is very affordable serving as both.
You’ll have to start and stop the food processor a few times and scrape down the sides to really get everything going. It took me about 4-5 minutes to get the ingredients into a thick dough-like lump. It sort of resembles a very thick oily cookie dough when it is done blending together. Keep blending until you reach this point. With this dough, you’re going to roll Tablespoon sized balls with your hands. Once you have them in 18 balls, you can roll each ball into cocoa powder, shredded coconut, or leave them plain.
The bites rolled in cocoa powder were my favorite! The surface of the balls engulfed all of the cocoa powder, making them taste even more fudgy!
These energy bites a chocolate fudgy flavor, but if you’re looking for an extreme chocolatey truffle, then these aren’t for you. They taste like chocolate, but are made with dates. Not pure chocolate. Still with me? They are a healthier alternative to a box of chocolates. If you’re looking for an intense chocolate dessert, try my Ultimate Fudge Brownies or Death by Chocolate Cookies.
I love how simple, elegant, and decadent tasting these bites are. Eating one kinda makes me feel fancy. Bonus points that they are made with whole, natural ingredients, and do not contain a trace of processed sugar. Gosh knows I’ve been in a sugar coma lately. What up Red Velvet Swirl Brownies!
Get your sweet & chocolate fix without the sugar crash!
makes 16-18 bites
- 14 whole, pitted dates
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup dry-roasted salted peanuts (or any type of peanut, salted or unsalted - your preference)
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- optional for rolling: cocoa powder, shredded coconut, crushed nuts, mini chocolate chips
- First, make sure your dates are soft. You may soak them in warm water (and drain them) for 15 minutes before putting into the food processor or blender. OR you may chop them up into very small pieces so they blend easily.
- Put all of your ingredients into the blender or food processor, in the order listed, and blend for 4-5 minutes or until a thick oily “dough” ball is formed. The dough will be oily from the seeds and nuts. You will have to scrape down the sides of the blender/food processor a few times to get all of the dry ingredients to the bottom. Once a dough is formed, scoop the dough (about 1 Tablespoon each) and roll into a smooth ball with your hands.
- If rolling into cocoa powder, coconut, etc: spread rolling ingredients onto a plate and roll the moist dough ball around to fully cover.
*Store bites at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
Recipe source: sallysbakingaddiction.com
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How can you not feel fancy eating one?
Want some more healthy dessert or snack options? I have plenty that would be perfect for Valentine‘s Day!