Energy Balls or bites are typically pretty high in sugar and fat due to sweeteners and a high proportion of nuts or nut butters. This can be a good thing in the right setting - when sugar and fat are a good source of easy fuel. Think endurance events, or long hikes when you need something light, portable, and a quick source of readily available calories.
For all of us who don't participate in endurance events and just need an easy, go-to afternoon snack for ourselves or our kids in that long stretch between lunch and dinner, these little protein bites offer a more balanced approach. They are made with added protein (protein powder of your choice), minimal natural sweetener (maple syrup), a smart carbohydrate source (oats!), a dose of healthy fats (almonds & coconut), and a whole lot of delicious, warm flavor!
BONUS: the butterscotch flavor comes from maca root powder! If you've never heard of or tried maca, check out this link on its potential health benefits: http://bit.ly/2rkNePL While it's touted as a superfood of sorts, research on the actual effects of this Peruvian root are on-going.
The only kitchen tool necessary for this recipe is a powerful blender or food processor that can handle a pretty thick mixture. I have a Vitamix, but other brands like Blendtec, Ninja, or a high powered food processor should work just fine!
Once the mixture is blended, crumbly, and moist enough to stick together when pressed between your fingers, you're in business and can use some good ol' elbow grease (or the hands of some hungry kiddos at snack time!) to get the dough rolled into balls and ready to eat!
About one heaping Tablespoon of the mixture will form a decent sized ball. I recommend pressing the dough together in your hands, then rolling between your palms as you form the dough into a ball shape.
TIP: It helps to have slightly wet/moist hands as you're doing all the rolling and pressing. It really prevents the dough from sticking to your hands!
If you feel like getting creative or a little more fancy, feel free to roll the balls in a tasty coating. The options I tried out were more old fashioned oats, shredded coconut, and chia seed (all pictured above and below).
Other coating options: hemp hearts, cacao nibs, cocoa powder, chopped almonds, or chocolate chips!
Butterscotch Coconut Protein Balls
Makes About 18 Balls
- 2 cups raw almonds
- 1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut, divided
- 1/2 cup protein powder (Vanilla or cinnamon flavors would work well. I used MRM Cinnamon Bun)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp maca powder
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 2 Tbsp milk (or milk substitute), divided
- 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
- Optional coating: old fashioned oats, chia seed, shredded coconut, hemp hearts, cacao nibs, cocoa powder, chopped almonds, or chocolate chips!
- In a blender or food processor combine almonds, 1/2 cup coconut, protein powder, vanilla, maca, maple syrup, sea salt and coconut oil. Blend well until mixture is a fine crumble.
- One tablespoon at a time, add milk (or milk substitute) until a clumpy dough starts to form. I used just 2 Tablespoons in my mixture, but you may need more or less depending on the blender/food processor you use
- Add remaining 1/2 cup coconut and old fashioned oats. Pulse blender/food processor just enough to blend in coconut and oats, but leave mostly in tack. The goal is for them to add a bit of texture to the finished product.
- To roll the balls: Rinse hands, leaving slightly damp to help prevent dough from sticking to your hands as you roll. Measure out 1 heaping Tablespoon of dough, press dough together between palms and roll to form into about 1 inch balls.
- Optional: Roll balls in coating ingredients of choice.
- Enjoy immediately and refrigerate any leftovers for up to a week or freeze for up to a month!
If you try this recipe, use #jeannereillyrd on social media channels to show me your handiwork!
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