Peanut Butter Date Balls

In case you didn't know, January 24th is national peanut butter day! Ah, I love silly food holidays (my birthday is grilled cheese day, which is a cryin' shame). I have an undying love for all things nut butter, so I knew that I needed to make something special to celebrate. These energy bites are my answer to healthy desserts (or a snack, I suppose, depending on your eating habits). As I mentioned yesterday, on the weekends I allow myself a couple of dates stuff with peanut butter for dessert, which is almost what these energy bites are.

I use dates as a natural sugar substitute in a lot of things these days, but they are also delicious raw. Dates are high in easily assimilated carbohydrates and fiber, potassium, iron, and some B-vitamins. They pack a relatively large amount of energy compared to most fruits, but in moderation I think they are an excellent treat, and totally stave off my sweet tooth. Refrigerated, dates keep for a few months.

Peanut Butter Date Balls

Chocolate peanut butter + jelly energy bites Makes 12
Loosely adapted from Sprouted Kitchen and Larabar

3 cups Medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup natural crunchy peanut butter
1/3 cup non-alkalized cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
2 TBSP dried cherries, chopped
1/3 cup almonds, chopped

Soak dates in warm water for roughly ten minutes, until soft. Transfer to a high powered blender or food processor, and process until a paste forms. If using a blender, transfer date paste to a bowl. If using a food processor, continue to add to the mixer. Add peanut butter, and process (or mix by hand) again until combined. Add cocoa powder, cinnamon and dried cherries. Process again until mixture holds together. Roll into TBSP sized balls (I used a 7g coffee measure), and coat with almonds. Keep refrigerated.


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