I’ve made energy bars of many flavors before, so I thought, it’s time for a change of shapes: little balls this time. Of course, I could have turned these into energy bars, just like before: as they are fairly low in carbs and high in (complete) protein and minerals, they also make a great snack on the go or vegan protein and energy bars.
Did you know, that in a typical western diet, the most antioxidants are consumed in coffee and chocolates? I don’t refer to the might-contain-traces-of-cocoa kind of alpine milk chocolates, but the real dark ones with 70-80% cocoa content. All those antioxidants come from cocoa beans, that also contains precious minerals (e.g. iron, magnesium, manganese). Generally speasking, the less processed our food is, the richer it is in antioxidants: e.g. 30g of raw cocoa beans contain almost as much antioxidants, as a cup of fresh cranberries (source).
Ingredients for approx. 30 pieces:
250g or 1 1/2 cups of dried figs
100g raw cocoa beans or 1 cup (raw) cocoa nibs
80g or 5 tablespoons of chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (to taste)
120g or 1 cup of almonds
You’ll need a food processor to prepare these energy balls.
- At first, clean the cocoa beans of their thin skin: this is the longest procedure of this recipe. It’s best to carefully crack their skin with a mortar and pestle. Of course, the first couple of beans were shattered… It was a nice relaxing afternoon task, that I finally finished while chatting with visiting friends.
- Put the dried figs in the food processor. Start pulsing at first, then process continuously until a thick paste forms. Toss the cocoa bens, chia seeds and vanilla extract.
- If you have a high performance food processor, just add almonds to fig mixture and you’re ready! This paste is much more thick than that of the previous energy bars, my food processor wasn’t quite up to the task. So I shredded the almonds separately, and processed it with the fig mixture in portions.
- Take a tablespoonful of the mixture and roll it into a small ball gently with the palms of your hands. You can prepare these like the other energy bars: in a baking form lined with baking paper.
- When preparing these balls as a dessert or a snack for guests, you can roll them in powdered xylitol to turn them white or xylitol-cinnamon powder to spice things up. Chilli flavoured raw cocoa powder is also worth a try…
This is also a pretty versatile recipe: substituting a part of the dried figs with e.g. dried cherries would result in a slightly sour flavour, and you can also use other nuts, e.g. walnuts insted of almonds.
What it’s like? Sweet because of the dried figs, crunchy thanks to the nuts, and it tastes wildly like cocoa, of course… These beans are raw, nut roasted: this flavor might be a big jump for alpine milk chocolate fans, but if you feel like youre ready to take the next step from 81% cocoa content dark chocolate toward cocoa, this is your thing.