Yields: about 26-30 bites Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes
Dates, coconut and cashews are the base for these healthy treats. Packed with nutrition and most importantly, flavor, these little bites are free of gluten, refined sugar and are vegan, satisfying any sweet craving!
10 dates, softened, chopped and pits removed (about 1 cup)
1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup almond meal
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup crispy rice cereal
1. To help soften dates, place in a bowl and cover with warm water for 10 minutes. I drain the water and even microwave for no more than 10 seconds. This all isn’t always necessary, but I often keep my dates in the fridge, so they may need an extra boost to help soften.
2. Place dates (chopping first helps), cashews, shredded coconut, almond meal, maple syrup, coconut oil and salt in a food processor.
3. Process for 1 -2 minutes checking at 30 second intervals.
4. When all of the ingredients are well combined, transfer to another bowl and gently fold in the rice cereal.
5. Spoon about 1 tablespoon at a time into your hand and gently roll into a ball. Enjoy right away or store in a covered dish in the refrigerator for easy and healthy snacking!
As I have mentioned before, we have all of our family birthdays pretty much in the fall, with multiple celebrations sometimes. Then in a few weeks, we have Halloween, followed by Thanksgiving and for us, Christmas. It is a time of what feels like extreme gluttony and saturation of sugar.
I am realizing in my aging years that refined sugar and I are not the best of friends. Or at least, it isn’t the healthiest of relationships. So, while I’m not sure I’m ready to completely give up refined sugar, I feel the benefits when I cut back.
Thus, begins my effort to create recipes with no refined sugar. I already try to cut back and swap out when I can. And I do realize my timing couldn’t be worse, as we are entering the holiday season. So, with all of that said, I’m keeping my expectations low.
And now to this recipe, with which I am super excited to share. The kids love these little bites, I love these little bites, and even my husband is a fan. They are incredibly easy to make, require little ingredients, and are free of most allergens (except nuts). Best of all for my new (and super attainable) goal of no refined sugar, these are perfect! In fact, they remind me of little crispy date balls my mom would make during the holidays. Those were filled with butter and sugar, and while delicious, are quite the contrast to these healthier ones.
There are certain times of the day when I crave something sweet, especially around 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. So, to have these in the fridge is really helpful. I first made them without the crispy rice cereal, and while they were still good, they were missing the desired texture and crunch that often accompanies the sweet craving.
If you are needing a gluten free recipe, be sure to find gluten free rice cereal. Sometimes a barley or wheat based syrup is used to lightly sweeten the cereal, and thus a small amount of gluten is introduced.
And as far as nutrition, these little bites are loaded! Dates are naturally sweet and high in fiber and potassium. Cashews have no cholesterol and are filled with vitamin E, zinc and magnesium (to name just a few). Coconut is also a great source of healthy fats. These are what I would consider to be nutrient dense (meaning a lot of nutrients, including healthy fat and calories, in a small amount), so while it’s easy to go overboard, just a few make a perfect serving size!
I hope you enjoy these as much as we do! (My youngest was such the "helper" during my photo session!)
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