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Energy Balls - the "Ferrero" Version

Simple and delicious plant-based/vegan, no-bake cacao, nut and date energy balls!

This is another variation of the nut/date energy balls- I call it the "Ferrero" version because it reminds me of the general flavor of the FerrerroRocher candy. Now mind you, I haven't had any FerreroRochers since I went from vegetarian to fully plant-based/vegan and refined sugar free about 7 years ago, so there's a chance I don't remember the exact taste of Ferrero Rocher, but it's just what it reminded me of and the name stuck in my head. So don't expect to get Ferrero Rocher candy out of this recipe, just get ready for a fully plant-based, no added sugar, mouth-watering, nutty and chocolatey deliciousness in the shape of a ball;)


Energy Balls - the "Ferrero" Version Recipe


Yields: about 24 balls

Prep time: 10 minutes + about 20 minutes for rolling, depending on your rolling skills or whether or not you have help


Ingredients:

  • 1 c ~ 100g of hazelnuts (or almonds) 1/2 c ~ 40g of shredded coconut or desiccated coconut

  • 1 1/2c ~ 200g of pitted dates***

  • 2 Tbsp of cacao powder (Dutch processed cacao, 100% pure, no additives)

  • 2 Tbsp of hazelnut or almond butter* (homemade or store-bought, 100% nuts: no added oil, sugar or salt)

  • 1 Tbsp of coconut oil** (extra virgin, cold pressed)

  • dash of ground cardamom

  • pinch of salt

*You can substitute 100% peanut butter, the teste won't be as ferrero-y, but it'll still be delicious.

**If the nut butter you're using is very oily you may completely omit the coconut oil, if it's quite dry add in 2 Tbsp of coconut oil, but if your nut butter is the regular, not-too-runny and not-too-dry consistency add just 1 Tbsp of coconut oil. If you want to make it completely oil-free, substitute the oil with 1 Tbsp of your nut butter. ***If you're using store-bought pitted dates, do make sure all the stones are really out before you throw your dates into the blender. The date pits are really hard and can damage your blade or worse- your teeth. What I usually do is I either open up each date or I squeeze each of them with my thumb and index finger to make sure they're definitely pitted.

Method:

  • 1- If your dates are very dry you might want to place them in a bowl and pour some hot water over them to make them a bit softer. Let them sit in the water for up to a minute, don't soak them for longer than that, because we don't want to lose their sweetness. Pour out the date water into a glass and set aside, you might need it later.

  • 2- In a food processor or a blender, blend the hazelnuts (or almonds) until you reach a coarse consistency of hazelnut/almond meal- that is: the nut pieces are very small but bigger than if you wanted to make it into fine flour.

  • 3- Add the shredded or desiccated coconut, cacao powder, cardamom and salt and mix everything well.

  • 4-Add in the dates, nut butter (and coconut oil if using) and mix everything together until you get a slightly gooey, dough-like consistency.

  • 5- If you've blended everything together but it's not sticking together, add in about 1 Tbsp of the date water you'd put aside or just regular filtered water. Blend everything, turn off your food processor and check with your fingers if the dough is malleable- if, when you squeeze it, it sticks together well enough to be rolled into a ball. If it is you're done with the blending part, if it's still too dry, add just a little bit more water, 1/2 tsp and check again, if you've added too much water and the dough is too sticky, no worries, you can add a little bit of oat flour (made by simply blending oats into flour) until you get the perfect dough.

  • 6- If your food processor left you with a dough ball that's great, if if you feel your dough could use a little help with sticking together nicely, you might want to transfer it to a bowl or a clean surface and knead it gently a couple of times until you do end up with one big dough ball.

  • 7- You can now start to break apart your dough ball with your fingers or using a teaspoon. I usually use a scale to make sure the balls are similar in size and I find that 20g/0.7oz balls are just the perfect size, however depending on my mood, I've been known to make them half that size as well- it's really up to you.

  • 8- Once you've measured out (or eye-balled) the desired amount of dough for your ball, roll it between your palms into a ball and voila. It's done:)

  • Optional: you can roll your balls in whatever "topping" you desire, be it sesame, chia or hemp seeds, coconut flakes, oat flour or even cacao powder. I've also made them into pralines by covering them with melted chocolate.

  • 9- Place the balls gently into an airtight container and keep them in the fridge until you're ready to serve them. If you want to eat them right away I recommend chilling them in the freezer for at least a few minutes so that they harden a little bit.

You can keep the energy balls in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of weeks and if you freeze them you should be able to enjoy them for up to 3 months, that is if there's any left at that point;) I usually freeze mine right away and take out only what I'm about to serve/eat. The really cool thing is that they will keep longer and fresher in the freezer, but they don't actually freeze completely, so when taken out of the freezer you can eat them basically right away or you can wait a few minutes for them not to be so cold. When they are chilled they do become harder and in case you ever wanted to cut them up into halves or quarters I also recommend doing it right after you take them out of the freezer so that you can cut them neatly with a sharp knife and avoid squishing them in the process. Enjoy!


Make sure to also try our other, equally simple energy balls recipes, for example: the peanut-date ones or the cacao-walnut ones!



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