Cacao-Nut & Seed Bites Recipe
By Pam Turczyn
What’s your idea of the ideal snack? Hmmmm…..It should be yummy, of course. What else? For me, it should have a great texture, be healthy, and it should satisfy hunger, providing fuel for my day's activities. If it is a sweet snack, it shouldn't be overly sweet and, if homemade, it should be fun and easy to prepare, with lots of variations.
Those were the criteria that went into the creation of these snack bites. Store-bought bites are often mostly dried fruit, resulting in a very sweet but not very filling snack. They may also be a bit pricey, a dollar or more per serving. This recipe makes 26 bites at about 35 cents each!
With a texture somewhere between a rustic shortbread cookie and a chocolate truffle, and requiring no baking, these are fun to make and delightful to eat. If one of your snack must-haves is a chocolatey taste, we’ve got you covered!
1 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped or pulsed briefly in processor
15 dates, roughly chopped or cut into chunks with kitchen scissors
½ cup raw sunflower seeds
½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
¾ cup unsweetened shredded dried coconut
1 T chia seeds
2 t maca powder (optional)
3 T coconut oil (more if your almonds are on the dry side)
3 T raw cacao powder
Place almonds and dates into a food processor, then add the rest of the ingredients. Process until the ingredients stick together, about 2 minutes. Stop processing periodically to check the consistency, as you don’t want to end up with nut butter. The texture should be a little crumbly but will hold together when you press it. The shape will firm up when chilled.
Use a measuring tablespoon to mold the bites by scooping up some of the mixture, then pressing it into the spoon. Slide it off and arrange in a storage container. (Or just form them into balls with your fingers.) Store in the refrigerator; wait at least two hours until the bites are firm before serving.
Option #1: Skip the cacao powder and enjoy “plain” Nut & Seed Bites.
Option #2: Improvise! There are endless ways to get creative with this recipe. Instead of almonds, you could use raw pecans, hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts or any combination of nuts. Note: walnuts are so rich in oil, you can use less coconut oil. If you prefer a sweeter taste, add more dates or other dried fruit, or honey and/or maple syrup. Just add a little into the processor and taste test as you go. Or, you could venture into other flavors: lemon zest and grated ginger with poppy seeds instead of cacao powder, adding mint leaves in with the cacao powder, etc. If you create a fabulous new variation, let us know!