Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Energy Balls - Date, Apple & Almonds

These little energy balls, easily made from store cupboard ingredients, contain no added sugar or fat making them perfect for snacking upon when the munchies hit.

Energy Balls with Dates, Apple & Almonds
I have a confession to share with you!  It's nothing dreadful or earth shattering.  The world won't stop by learning this fact either, thankfully.  You don't even need to sit down before you hear (or read) this.  But it's a fact which may be true for a large percentage of the population.  OK, so are you ready? ..... I'm a snacker!  Yes, I have a tendency to snack. You may even call me a grazer, that's how work colleagues referred to my eating habits. 

The problem is what I graze upon,  it's often items which I may have baked such as those delicious Rugelach (they didn't last long! ) or even a shop bought biscuit or bar of chocolate - ooh chocolate!  Yes, I know I should have a banana or an apple perhaps, but they simply don't seem to hit the spot.  Although I was blessed with quite a fast metabolism, the years are starting to creep upon me and my metabolism isn't quite as speedy as it once was.  My dad, who used to call me Skinny Ribs no longer does and Mr E now describes me as a 'real' woman providing something to get hold of! ;-)  Cheeky!

Energy Balls with Dates, Apple & Almonds

So as it's January, New Year's resolution time, I thought I'd try ...yes try ... to address what I graze upon.  It's not a New Year's resolution as such, because, of course, we can make these changes any time of year, but now seems like as good a time as ever.  I'm not going to beat myself up if I fall off the so-called wagon, allowing myself a treat a couple of times a week - well where would my blog be if I stopped making pastries and cakes ;-)   Plus, a little of what we fancy does us good, right?

Knowing how naturally sweet dates are and being inspired by the so called 'energy balls' which can easily be found on Pinterest I thought I'd give them a try.  Plus have you seen just how expensive a single ball is in certain 'health' food shops?  £2.00!  Yes £2.00!   For  just one ball!  So not wishing to part with that amount of money for something I could easily make at home I whipped up a batch of 15 from store cupboard ingredients.

Energy Balls with Dates, Apple & Almonds

Many energy or snacking balls like these use food processors to blitz the dates with the other ingredients.  Not having a food processor and realising the stick blender wasn't going to work on the dates in their bought state I quickly cooked them down in a little orange juice.  The dates were then blended to make a smooth thick puree before oatmeal, ground and chopped almonds, chopped apple and cinnamon was added.  They were then shaped into balls and refrigerated to firm up.

Energy Balls with Dates, Apple & Almonds

Oh my words!  They're delicious!  They certainly hit the spot when I feel the need to reach for something to snack upon; some more will definitely be being made later in the week.  The orange works incredibly well with the dates and the apple and chopped almonds provide some lovely texture to the mixture.  The oatmeal provides some slow release energy.  To cap it all off, all 15 balls were made within 20 minutes, costing an awful lot less than the £30 they would have cost had I bought them in the 'health' food shop!!

So, let's get to it and bake!


Energy Balls with Date, Apple & Almonds      Yum

Energy Balls with Dates, Apple & Almonds
Yield: 15 Balls
Serves: 5 - 15 people
Difficulty: Very Easy
Freezable: Sorry, untested
Time: 20 minutes hands on time; plus firming up time in the refrigerator

You will need:

1 x Small Pan
Zester
1 x Medium Mixing Bowl
Stick Blender (or Food Processor)
Wooden Spoon
Paring Knife (or similar)
Medium sized Airtight Container
Greaseproof Paper

For the Energy Balls

150g Stoned Sayer Dates
1 Orange - Juice of all, Zest of half
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
150g Medium Oatmeal
40g Ground Almonds
1/2 Lemon - Juice of
1 small Eating Apple (ie/ Coxs)
30g Chopped Almonds

How to make them:

1.  Cook down the dates.   After double checking the dates for stones, roughly chop them up.  Place into a small pan with the orange juice and orange zest.  Place over a medium heat to allow the dates to cook and  soften.  Cook for 3 or 4 minutes.   Stir regularly.  Once the juice has been fully absorbed by the dates turn off the heat and tip the mixture into a bowl.  

2.  Blend.  Add the ground cinnamon to the dates and stir.  Use a stick blender to break up the dates further creating a smooth puree.

3.  Add ingredients to the date mixture. Add most of the oatmeal and all of the ground almonds to the mixture and stir together thoroughly.   Add more of the oatmeal if your mixture feels particularly soft.

4.  Prepare the apple.  Peel, core and finely chop the apple.  Toss through the lemon juice.

5.  Add the apple & chopped almonds.  Tip the finely diced apple and chopped almonds into the mixture & stir together thoroughly.

6.  Shape into balls.  Take a teaspoon amount of the mixture and roll it between the palms of your hands to create a walnut sized ball.  

7.  Chill.  Place a sheet of greaseproof paper into the base of your airtight container.  Place the shaped balls into the container positioning them so that they don't touch one another.  Ideally avoid layering them on top of one another.  Place the container with the lid attached into the fridge to allow the balls to firm up.

Enjoy!


Notes:

a) If you choose to prepare the mixture in a food processor, you shouldn't need to cook the dates.  You may also find that you won't need as much orange juice, nor as much oatmeal.
b) Omit the ground and chopped almonds if you are catering for somebody with a nut allergy. Add more oatmeal if this is the case.
c) Perhaps replace the orange juice with apple juice if you prefer.
d)  The Energy Balls will keep for 3-4 days if stored in a refrigerator in an airtight container.









This post has been shared with:


Treat Petite co-hosted by Kat at the Baking Explorer and Cakeyboi.  This month the theme is fruit and veg and is hosted by Kat. 
Life Loving Linkie Charlotte's Lively Kitchen - Food Year Linkup CookBlogShare Link up your recipe of the weekTasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com<


20 comments:

  1. I like the addition of the fresh apple in the energy balls. I'm trying to avoid unhealthy snacks too this year so I really need to make something like this.

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    1. The apple was a really nice addition in the mixture Corina. You're far more ambitious then I am, I somehow don't think I'll manage to go a whole year of making healthier choices for my snacks. Although, given how tasty these are, I may surprise myself :-)
      Angela x

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  2. I am the same - I'm such a snacker. I really need something like this to keep me off the crisps and chocolate!! I love your tip for how to make them if you don't have a food processor. I also only have a stick blender so this method would be perfect for me! Eb x

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    1. I've been pleasantly surprised by how well I've done snack wise since I made this little energy balls. I've not felt the 'need' for any chocolate - normally I'd have had a small snack bar in the afternoon everyday(usually a Fox's Classic which is my favourite). In some ways I'd love a food processor - but then it's another chunky gadget to find a home for in the kitchen. I've managed thus far without out, I'm sure I don't really need one.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting Eb,
      Angela x

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  3. These sounds delicious Angela. I'm not completely bought into the whole energy balls craze as a lot seem to include a lot of honey (or similar) and coconut oil, which is just added sugar and fat described in a healthier way! However, you've avoided that, so these are something I could actually get along with :-) I think I've got most of the ingredients in the cupboard and a new blender to play with so I'll have to give them a try.

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    1. Totally agree Charlotte about the added honey (etc) and coconut oil, I found the dates to be naturally sweet enough without the need for additional sugars. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did if you give them a go.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting Charlotte,
      Angela x

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  4. These sound delicious! I need to make some healthy snacks like this to stop me reaching for unhealthy choices

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    Replies
    1. They really are Ali. To press I've not yet had an unhealthy snack since I made these. I've been having a couple of them each day when I feel the urge for a snack and the flavour and natural sugar quashed that munchies pang! Plus they're really tasty so you don't feel as though you're missing out which I think is part of the trick to be honest.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  5. Going to make these beauties but without nuts as I can't eat them and use cooconut instead. Yum. Thanks for linking to #tastytuesdays

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    1. Ooh the coconut sounds a great idea Vicki, I hope you love them as much as we do.
      Angela x

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  6. Such a fantastic healthy snack! I'm definitely bookmarking this recipe. Thanks for entering into Treat Petite!

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    1. Thank you Kat :-) I hope you like them as much as I do - they really seem to quash that sweet craving when I get the munchies - infact I'm going to have one in a moment!
      Thanks for popping by and commenting, and of course for hosting,
      Angela x

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  7. These energy balls looks and sounds amazing. Bookmarked the recipe, to try later. # Food year linkup.

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    1. :-) Thank you, they really are delicious (well I think so), hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  8. Oh Angela these sound soooo good! I love using dates to make raw bites, I love the idea of adding orange. Thank you for sharing with #CookBlogShare x

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    1. :-) Thank you Kirsty, they really are delicious. I totally agree, dates are great for this sort of thing and the added orange was divine. I've already made another couple of matches, one of which didn't include any orange, I certainly missed that additional flavour.
      Thanks for popping by and of course for hosting,
      Angela x

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  9. These look like a great idea. Perfect for this time of year when everyone is shying away from the unhealthy snacks and leftovers of December and ideal for the cold months of the year. I like they are really easy to make.

    Sally @ Life Loving
    #LifeLovingLinkie

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    1. Thank you Sally, they're so quick and easy to make and have honestly helped me keep away from the naughtier snacks!
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  10. I love mejoole dates...and almonds...and apples! Looks like I'll have to give these energy bites a whirl! Side note I love that teal mug...where did ya get it!?

    .:Marta:.

    #cookblogshare

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    1. It sounds like you're going to love them as much as I do. They're certainly my favourite energy / snack bite at the moment.....though be warned, if you're anything like me you'll easily have a couple of them each time!
      Ooh, it's gorgeous isn't it. It's actually an orange/lemon juicer which my hubby bought for me for Christmas (after leaving a few hints when we came across it in our local department store). The range is called 'Pride of Place' and looks to be made by a Bristol company here in the UK. I've found their webpage which shows the whole range of products (cream jugs, salt cellars, egg cups etc). They apparently call the colour 'Old Green'! Here's the address if it's of any use: http://tg-woodware.com/products/ranges/pride-of-place
      Thanks for popping by and commenting Marta,
      Angela x

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