Nearly one year ago, I decided to cut sugar out of my diet. My diet was (relatively) healthy asides from the occasional sweet treat. Whilst Im not against having the occasional treat, my issue was that my ‘occasional’ was every day, and my treat never stopped at a square of chocolate or a bite of cake – as soon as I had a taste of sugar, I would instantly crave more. I had tried to cut down on sugar before but without success, and decided that my only option was to go cold turkey – I cut out all added sugar from my diet for nearly three weeks. After that I started to slowly add back in healthier sweetener options – maple syrup, dates, coconut sugar, honey, stevia. I have hit some bumps along the way (I know know that its best not to keep Cadburys Marvellous chocolate in the house, otherwise I will devour the whole block within a day or two) but for the most part have managed to stick to my no added sugar rule.
My choice to cut out sugar was largely due to the fact that I was consuming way too much of it and my blood sugar levels were all over the place. Since cutting sugar out, I’ve noticed such a difference in my mood and energy levels, as well as feeling a lot healthier on the whole. And whilst my sweet tooth is nothing compared to what it used to be, I still get cravings for something sweet from time to time. Since reintroducing healthier sweeteners, I have been experimenting with healthier treats. For a quick and tasty bite to eat, I cant go past little chocolate nut balls (also called energy balls or protein balls).
When I first tried one of these little morsels, I remember reading the description on the blog I got the recipe from which claimed “these taste just like a chocolate bar – only healthy!’ The ingredients of those particular balls included cacao, peanuts and dates, so I was envisioning a Snickers-tasting treat but of smaller proportion. When I bit into my finished product however, I was bitterly disappointed. Sure, there was a chocolatey flavour, and you could taste the peanuts, but it definitely wasn’t a Snickers. I was a little disheartened, but soon after stumbled across Peanut Butter Bites at Sprouted Kitchen – which were delicious. I then found Seven Minute Choco-Almond Truffles over at Green Kitchen Stories which also turned out amazingly and so I decided to come up with a recipe that was somewhat a combination of the two.
Fudgy peanut butter chocolate balls
Notes: These contain a small amount of chickpeas for added protein and fudginess – don’t worry though, you cant taste them!
1 cup almonds
1/3 cup canned chick peas, drained and rinsed
10 pitted dates, soaked
1/3 Cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp raw cacao
1 tsp vanilla essence
pinch of salt
Place dates in a bowl with just enough hot water to cover, soak for half an hour. Drain, and reserve the left over water to use later.
Process almonds in food processor until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add remaining ingredients and process until well combined. If the mixture is too dry, add the reserved water from the dates a tablespoon at a time.
Roll the mixture into small balls (a heaped tablespoon or a bit bigger) and either leave as is, or coat in desiccated coconut or cacao.
Store in the fridge.
Makes 12-16 balls