healthy snack :: date balls


I don't know about you, but this is what happens to me on the regular: I'm in a rush to leave for somewhere and I need to grab a snack for me and/or my kids that will be healthy, portable, minimally messy, and delicious.

In an effort to address this situation that seems to arise fairly frequently in my life, I've started keeping our freezer stocked with "date balls." It's my homemade version of a LÄRABAR, produced in a ball form for ease of eating. They do take a bit of time to make, but once you make a big batch, they keep well in the freezer, and are easy to grab on your way our the door. Or when you're making a school lunch. 

A few friends have asked for the recipe recently, so I thought I'd post it out here in case you are in need of a new snack idea. 

And, important side note, they're zero waste! All the ingredients can be bought in bulk. 

Date, Cranberry, and Cashew Energy Bites
makes 20-30 small "date balls"

2 cups raw, unsalted cashews
1 1/3 cups lightly packed pitted dates
1 cup dried cranberries (or dried cherries, if you're feeling spendy!)
1-2t cocoa powder
1/2 cup raw pecans
1 or 2 pinches fine sea salt, to taste

1. Process the cashews in a food processor until they are finely chopped. Leave a few bigger pieces, but take care not to process the nuts so much that it becomes flour.

2. Remove 2/3 cup of the processed cashews and set aside for the final step.

3. Add the dates and cranberries to the food processor and process until finely chopped. The dough will start to become sticky.

4. Add the cocoa powder, salt, and pecans and pulse a few times. 

5. Add in the reserved 2/3 cup cashews and pulse as needed to incorporate.

6. At this point, the dough should be sticky enough to roll into balls. If it is too dry/crumbly, add a teaspoon of water at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.

5. Roll the dough into small balls and place on a plate or cookie sheet. I use a 1T cookie scoop. (Unlike cookies, though, it doesn't matter if the balls are uniform in size since you won't be baking them.)

6. Freeze balls on the cookie sheet or plate. Once frozen, store in a jar in the freezer. Leave out at room temperature ~20 minute before eating.