Kids Week!: Energy Balls. Snack Balls. Power Truffles.

**Just a reminder to drop in on this post to enter to win a Shutter Buddy and copy of Little Pea!**

Hello, everyone. Meet energy balls. Ever heard of them? I’ve seen them floating around the blogosphere lately and decided to make my own version. They may look like cookie dough balls, but they’re more closely related to power/energy bars. I don’t really care for those types of bars. They don’t taste good to me, plus they’re really big, asking a 500-calorie commitment in some cases.

That’s why I love these “power truffles”. They’re small, yet very dense and filling, and mine are mostly nuts and nut butter. I don’t have to tell you that nuts are healthy, especially raw ones. (That aren’t peanuts… but peanuts are legumes anyway.) Some people shy away from nuts because of their calorie/fat content. However, a handful of nuts will keep you satisfied for a few hours and those good-for-you fats will do your body much better than a low-calorie, low-fat, processed piece of fluff that will leave you wanting another snack 20 minutes later.

No more rants today, I promise.

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Here’s the consistency of the nuts and oats after they’ve been ground in a food processor. And proof that I paint my finger nails. Like, twice a year.

And here’s a few more sources for energy ball inspiration:

It’s Bliss! Our Energy Ball Taste Test (Lululemon Blog)
Peanut Butter, Date, and Oat Bites (Healthy Food for Living)
Peanut Butter Crispies (Simply Healthy Family)
Almond Butter Balls (Fix Me a Snack)

Most recipes you’ll see for energy balls contain peanut butter, but we tend to shy away from it around here. I already promised I wouldn’t rant again, so I won’t. I’ll only encourage you to look into alternative nut butters like almond, cashew, or sunflower butter.

After I made the Spiced Cranberry version, I tweaked the next couple of batches and made a Gingersnap and a slightly more indulgent Double Chocolate version (that tastes kind of like no-bake cookies). I added these variations at the end of the recipe.

Have fun with these! They’re so versatile, and such a great, portable snack for the kiddos. My kids love them and they love to help make them!

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Spiced Cranberry Energy Balls

Ingredients:

1 cup raw nuts (I used walnuts, almonds, and Brazil nuts)
1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
2 T milled flaxseed (optional)
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
2/3 cup nut butter (we use almond)
2-3 T pure maple syrup, honey, or agave nectar, to taste
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

Grind the nuts and oats in a food processor or blender until there are no chunks larger than a pencil eraser. Dump into a large mixing bowl, and stir in the coconut, flaxseed, cinnamon and pinch of salt.

In a small bowl combine the nut butter, sweetener, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir for a few seconds. Add the cranberries. Finish mixing with your hands until everything is throughly combined. You should be able to press the entire mixture into one clump. If the mixture is too dry, add water 1 T at a time until you reach the desired consistency. You should be able to form balls easily, but the mixture shouldn't be mushy. Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Makes about 25.

VARIATIONS:
Gingersnap: Omit cranberries. Stir in 1 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp cloves, and 1/2 tsp nutmeg into the dry mixture. Use molasses as your sweetener (I used 2 T molasses, 1 T maple syrup), and add 1/2 cup chopped candied ginger when you would have added the cranberries.

Double Chocolate: Omit cinnamon and cranberries. Stir in 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa into the dry mixture. I used a combination of brown sugar and maple syrup as my sweetener and added 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips when you would have added the cranberries. You may need to add 2-3 T water to reach the correct consistency, but mix it well before adding the water.

Other add-ins/substitutions:
*Citrus zest, other types of dried fruit, pretty much anything you'd add when making granola.
*If you don't like coconut, add more nuts or oats instead.

from Perry's Plate

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28 Responses to “Kids Week!: Energy Balls. Snack Balls. Power Truffles.”

  1. 1

    Christina — April 12, 2011 @ 5:15 am

    I don't think you have to be a kid to enjoy these! I need a batch myself! Wish you still lived close :(

    Congrats on the sweet potato recipe win!!!!

    [Reply]

  2. 2

    Natalie @ Perrys' Plate — April 12, 2011 @ 5:30 am

    Christina! For sure you don't have to be a kid. I made so many of these in one night (75!) I had to send some to work with Steve. They liked them, too! I wish I lived closer, too. I'd love to hang out sometime!

    [Reply]

  3. 3

    Nicole — April 12, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

    What a great idea! I love the ball form and the flavor variations.

    [Reply]

  4. 4

    Darci — April 12, 2011 @ 3:13 pm

    YUMMO! I'm on a powerbar kick, so these little nuggets 'o goodness will be a delicious addition to the rotation (esp. the gingersnap). Thanks, doll!

    [Reply]

  5. 5

    Joanne — April 12, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

    You know, these seem like they would be the PERFECT pre-marathon snack! I am so making them before monday and taking them with me to Boston!

    [Reply]

  6. 6

    Natalie @ Perrys' Plate — April 12, 2011 @ 8:36 pm

    Joanne – Good luck on your marathon! If you make good time I'm giving credit to these little snacks, mkay?

    [Reply]

  7. 7

    Lauren's Latest — April 12, 2011 @ 9:01 pm

    What a smart idea! I haven't seen these in the blogosphere until you posted them! My husband would love these.

    [Reply]

  8. 8

    fooddoodles — April 12, 2011 @ 10:12 pm

    Yum! I love things like these. I think the chocolate ones would be especially tasty. I'm going to have to bookmark this recipe so I can make them soon :)

    [Reply]

  9. 9

    Jolene - EverydayFoodie — April 13, 2011 @ 2:57 am

    These would be perfect for kids! Cute little snack :-)

    [Reply]

  10. 10

    cookies and cups — April 13, 2011 @ 1:27 pm

    what a great idea!! I need to make these for my kiddos asap!

    [Reply]

  11. 11

    April — April 15, 2011 @ 3:40 am

    These are for kids??? I think I'm gonna make some just for me!

    Do you think that wheat germ would be an ok sub for the flaxseed?

    [Reply]

  12. 12

    Rebecca — April 15, 2011 @ 2:51 pm

    We've had this for breakfast and snacks already, and it's not even 10:00. Ours turned out a bit crumbly, so I think next time I'll pulse all the dry ingredients together to see if the coconut shreds can do less structural damage. Thanks for sharing a fun idea!

    [Reply]

  13. 13

    Karly — April 16, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

    Well, now I'm curious…what's your beef with peanut butter? Is there an allergy or is there some other reason you don't like it?

    I'm just being nosy. Ha!

    Your energy balls look good, but I must admit, the name makes me giggle like a 12 year old boy.

    [Reply]

  14. 14

    Jodi — April 17, 2011 @ 4:21 am

    My sister made these for us today as an after-swim snack. They were awesome. She made the double chocolate ones (my favorite, of course) and the spiced cranberry ones. Both were great and filling. Thanks for the recipe!

    [Reply]

  15. 15

    Healthy Mamma — April 20, 2011 @ 1:45 am

    Hey! Thanks for the linky love! Muchas apreciated. ;)
    My kids love pb but I never ever have. I buy All Natural just peanuts pb. I have been using Almond butter more and more, especially in baking, snack making and even stews! Awesome Groundnut Wat recipe from Africa on my blog if your interested.

    [Reply]

  16. 16

    Natalie @ Perrys' Plate — April 20, 2011 @ 2:08 am

    Karly – No, no allergies here. The problem with peanut butter is the aflatoxin (a carcinogenic mold) that naturally occurs on the peanuts and is made worse depending on the farming practices. Peanuts are also high in Omega 6 fats, which disrupt the Omega 3:6 ratio (most people are deficient in 3's and eating more 6's makes this worse). Peanuts are also one of the highest pesticide contaminated crops.

    So… that's my beef. :) They do have a lot of good nutritional benefits, so if eating peanut butter is an absolute necessity, try to find organic, natural peanut butter to lessen the aflatoxin/pesticide dangers and cut back so your omegas don't get out of whack.

    [Reply]

  17. 17

    Natalie @ Perrys' Plate — April 20, 2011 @ 2:09 am

    Gwen – Groundnut whaaaaat? :) I'll have to check that out. I'm curious.

    [Reply]

  18. 18

    Natalie @ Perrys' Plate — April 20, 2011 @ 2:38 am

    Karly – Just wanted to clarify that buying the Arrowhead Mills organic peanut butter would be better than other types of organic because it's made in New Mexico. The dry air deters the mold. Organic types in more humid parts of the country would be worse because without the anti-fungal sprays, the mold would actually be worse than non-organic. I guess you have to pick your poison :)

    [Reply]

  19. 19

    Darci — May 16, 2011 @ 10:47 pm

    Just circling back since I finally made these delicious little energy balls! They're terrific and great for on-the-go snacks when I know I'll need a little something to get me past the lure of the vending machine.

    I think small food is cute and possibly tastes better. LOL

    Thanks for another great snack!

    [Reply]

  20. 20

    Diethood.com — May 26, 2011 @ 3:50 pm

    Wow, these sound so yummy goooood! Do I have to share? ;-)

    [Reply]

  21. 21

    Jen at The Three Little Piglets — February 28, 2012 @ 7:02 pm

    So many of the commercial bars are so calorie-laden that you just think they’re good for you when really you’d be better off eating a small healthy meal!

    [Reply]

    • Natalie replied: — February 28th, 2012 @ 7:42 pm

      I agree. That’s why I like these little ones so much better — It’s not a 500 calorie commitment :) Things like nuts and coconut are naturally high in calories, so they can’t be lumped into the same category as high-caloric foods that are loaded with sugar. Luckily not all calories are equal :)

  22. 22

    Elizabeth — March 29, 2012 @ 9:52 am

    How long could I keep these without refrigeration?

    [Reply]

    • Natalie replied: — March 29th, 2012 @ 10:09 am

      I’ve kept them out of the fridge for a couple of days and they seem to do fine.

  23. 23

    Energy bar — August 2, 2012 @ 10:25 am

    ‘Balls’ are definitely a great way to get a nutritious snack or use during exercise. Various fruits (including dates) make for a thicker consistency and you don’t have to use as much sweetener.

    [Reply]

  24. 24

    Danielle — August 31, 2012 @ 7:46 am

    I would love to try these, but I am allergic to raw tree nuts. I can only eat a few almonds and that’s if they are cooked in some fashion. Any ideas for substitutions that aren’t all peanuts?

    [Reply]

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