The season of candy is upon us, with bowls of wrapped treats placed on every vacant surface at work, the dry cleaners, school, and even the gym (yes, the gym–sheesh, no fair!). What’s a chocolate lover to do?
I suggest fighting the sugar onslaught (for me, kit-kats and skittles) with my protein-packed, chocolate-rich, delectable energy balls, which curb the urge to eat heaps of candy by keeping you satisfied and happy throughout the day, as well as energized to conquer your to-do list.
They even have a dose of vegetables. Take that, kit-kats!
I know you’ve seen a lot of energy ball recipes. But this one is a little bit different.
Google “energy balls,” and the overwhelming majority of recipes include the following:
*Sugar or syrup
That’s fine, and I’ll be the first one to say that I love a peanut butter-oat-honey energy ball. Nevertheless, it’s fun to use some of the other ingredients in the pantry to create a tasty, nutritious treat. For example, the coconut flour that’s sitting on the shelf, waiting for a new use. Or the pepitas in the freezer. And how about unsweetened cocoa powder? It’s great for so many recipes beyond brownies.
These bite size-lovelies include all of the above.
Further, I added a hefty dose of protein. I used a plant-based chocolate protein powder, but vanilla will work beautifully, too (you may want to add an extra tablespoon of cocoa powder, depending on how strong you like your chocolate). You can use any protein powder you have on hand, or prefer.
Because protein powders vary significantly, I’ve given a range of for the amount of coconut flour you’ll need. You begin by blending all of the other ingredients, and then a little bit of coconut flour at a time until you have a roll-able “dough.”
If you add too much, flour, fear not! Nothing scary here. Simply add a touch more pumpkin, or a splash of milk to the mix. It’s almost impossible to go wrong!
You can roll the balls in chopped pepitas, cocoa powder, cacao nibs, coconut, or whetever you like. If you are no-frills, anti-crumbs kind of eater, keep them plain; they are great without any adornment whatsoever.
Happy eating, everyone!
- ½ cup pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
- ½ cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
- ½ cup packed pitted dates
- ½ cup chocolate or vanilla protein powder of choice
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 to 6 tablespoons coconut flour (see note)
- Optional suggested coatings:
- chopped pepitas
- unsweetened cocoa powder
- finely chopped unsweetened shredded coconut
- In a food processor, process the pepitas until finely chopped. Add the pumpkin and dates. Process until mixture is a smooth, thick puree.
- Add the protein powder and cocoa powder to the food processor; process, using ON/OFF pulses, until mixture is blended.
- Add the coconut flour, a few tablespoons at a time, until mixture comes together into a cohesive dough (the amount of coconut will vary according the type of protein powder used). If mixture becomes too dry, add a bit more pumpkin puree.
- Roll the mixture into 20 balls. Roll balls in optional coatings, if desired, or leave uncoated.