We’re in the middle of the School holidays and have had a blast so far – lots of crafting including tin can telephones and puppet-making, saw Monsters University (loved it, although it wasn’t a patch on Monsters Inc), playdates, a couple of scootering adventures, visited Scienceworks and Collingwood Children’s Farm, and we’re off to the zoo on Friday.
We’ve also been on a ball-making frenzy. Melbourne is awash with energy balls, with almost every cafe and health store around here pimping their own version. Jill Dupleix wrote a great article about them in Epicure recently. Her supplied recipe looks delicious, and was the inspiration for mine; but the biggest problem with all the energy ball recipes I’ve come across is that they contain nuts. My mission was to create some that could be used in the kid’s lunchboxes next week (their school has a nut-free policy).
My Nut-free raw chocolate energy balls are amazeballs! To be honest, like this post, they were part of a failed planned-overs experiment. My intention was to make cookies from a portion of the energy ball mixture but they just bloody well didn’t work! I really wanted to share the balls recipe though, as they’re so good. They come pretty close to truffles in texture, but they’re actually healthy. Lightly sweetened with honey, lots of dried fruit and seeds and, one of my favourite indulgences, pure organic cacao powder. If you’ve not used it before, you can buy it and check out all the health benefits here – you’ll never go back to ordinary cocoa powder again.
Both my boys gave these balls the thumbs up, as did the husband. Enjoy!
Footnote, April 2014: We’ve been experimenting with different ingredients for the past few months. A recent favourite has been ‘bliss logs’; a mixture of medjool dates, dried apricots, currants, coconut oil, good quality cocoa powder, rolled oats and a dash of maple syrup, rolled into coconut-covered logs (you can see them in my facebook post on April 2nd). Delish!

Nut-free chocolate energy ballsNut-free raw chocolate energy balls

Ingredients (makes 15 large energy balls):
100g (3½ oz) sunflower seeds

50g (1¾ oz) fine desiccated coconut
60g (2 oz) raw powdered cacao
60g (2 oz) organic coconut oil, melted
60g (2 oz) organic honey

85g (3 oz) craisins (dried sweetened cranberries)
5 medjool dates (100g/3½ oz), pitted and chopped
100g (3½ oz) pitted prunes, chopped
Approx. ¼ cup fine desiccated coconut, extra, for rolling

Process sunflower seeds until you have a fine meal. Add all other ingredients except the extra coconut and process until completely combined and smooth.
Refrigerate the mixture for about 15 minutes to make it easier to handle. Roll the refrigerated mixture into approx. 15 golf-ball sized balls and roll in the extra coconut. Refrigerate for at least one hour before eating. Yum!
[Recipe loosely adapted from Jill Dupleix]

  • Craisins can be replaced with dried goji berries, soaked for one hour in hot water and very well drained. You can also add chia seeds and/or sesame seeds.
  • Raw powdered cacao can be found at health food stores or online from Loving earth. Replace with good quality cocoa powder if unavailable.
  • Organic coconut oil is available from health food stores. It’s cold-pressed, and well worth the expense, being rich in short-medium chain fatty acids (these are good fatty acids, unlike long chain fatty acids) fibre, vitamins and minerals. You can read more about it here. Copha, the supermarket variety, is hydrogenated, refined and bleached. AWFUL!
  • Coconut oil can be melted by placing the required quantity in a bowl and sitting it in a sink of warm water until liquified.
  • Energy balls can be stored, covered, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks; or frozen for up to 3 months.

45 thoughts on “Amazeballs!

  1. Yummo! These sound delicious. I think I might come to your place next school holidays too sounds like you guys have a lot of fun! I’m with you on the organic cacao powder – so good, never going back. Love the vintage wallpaper (was going to say fabric but saw the above) what a wonderful find!! x

    • Thanks Evie! Gawd, I feel exhausted just re-reading that list of school holiday activities. Fun though! That book of wallpaper samples was the best find. I had to bite my lip to prevent myself screeching when I found it 🙂

  2. Great idea to use sunflower seeds or oats instead of nuts Sas! Love the idea of the sweet/sour craisins and prunes too, definitely delish! I love raw food balls so I am looking forward to trying these. Oh, and I love the wallpaper too. So gorgeous xx

    • Thanks heaps! For a no-nut treat, these taste decidedly nutty! I absolutely LOVE prunes. I could snack on them all day, but for obvious reasons, I don’t. Damn them and they’re fibre-filled ways.

    • I made a HUGE batch of mixture. My plan was to use half as is, for the balls, which I did and they were great! The other half quantity I attempted to turn into cookies by adding flour and eggs – they were certainly edible but a very strange texture! The balls are great though, so easy.

  3. Just made your balls Sas – they look and taste fabulous, tho only 1/2 golf ball size which makes for many more! Thank you for yet another fantastic idea xx

  4. Pingback: The Four Food Groups of Early Pregnancy (and Some Healthy Snacks) | Simple Provisions

  5. These look gorgeous Saskia! Healthy little chocolatey balls of deliciousness! I adore bliss balls and energy balls. I make big batches of them, then leave them in the refrigerator to take to work and college. I love the wallpaper also… just read your above comment! It’s my dream to have enough money for a couple of vintage wallpaper feature walls one day. Or pressed tin in the kitchen. Sigh. I need to win lotto! xx

    • Thanks Laura! I grew up in a house full of wallpaper feature walls. One of my favourite childhood memories is of my sister and I being allowed to draw on the walls before dad put up the wallpaper.

      • Haha, what a beautiful memory! I did the same thing on my bedroom wall… but on the wallpaper! It had tiny cars on it, and I drew little people and roads etc in a spot near my bed. Not sure what’s happened to it now 🙂

  6. Sounds like you’ve had a busy school holidays! I wondered what Monsters University would be like…was quite a fan of the first one 🙂
    These energy balls look great and would be great for my healthy work snacks plan!

    • We loved Monsters Inc too (definitely one of Pixar’s best). Yeah, the energy balls are perfect as a healthy work snack, and quite satisfying. I have some defrosting as we speak!

  7. Delicious! I love these ball type of treats Saskia! I have some sunflower balls too on my blog with cinnamon as the main flavor…they are truly one of my favorite things to eat. Yours look so delicious. Only problem is it’s hard to not eat them all at once!!

    • Thanks Brandi! Cinnamon sounds like a beautiful addition. Off to check out yours now… (not that I need the temptation to make more balls as I have positively overdosed on them this week – too addictive)!

      • Postscript: Love the look of yours Brandi! I especially like that they contain oats and oat flour; and they’re oil-free. Although I must admit I’m loving coconut oil at the moment. I just heard from a friend who made my energy balls this week. She used the leftover coconut oil to sauté onion and garlic for a curry. Sounds like a beautiful idea. Will give your balls a try soon; when my supply has deleted.

  8. I plan to keep 2 balls at a time in my car for a snack – so much better than those bought health bars from the supermarket.Thanks for another delicious recipe Sas.

  9. oooo! these look wonderful saskia!! i could really use the energy from these right now and if they could only help me be “nut-free’!! wish i could reach in and grab a few. love the fine coconut covering (and the girl on the water ski’s too :)!

    • Thanks Kim! They’re like magic pick-me-up balls. I just scoffed two actually. I keep them in the freezer so they’re out of sight, otherwise I’d gorge myself. The only prob is that they taste fantastic straight from the freezer! The girl on water skis is ace isn’t she.

  10. I was just searching for tasty balls recipes & this one looks truly tasty & the balls look beautifully too. MMMMMMMM!
    Another must try! I love your cool yellow placemat or tablecloth too! Funky! X

  11. Post script: The balls were a big hit today with adults and children alike. I confess I have actually eaten about ten of them over a ten hour period, which is testament to their ‘more – ish – ness’ and my gluttony.

  12. These sound really good, Saskia. Though I personally don’t have any food allergies, I know people that do and it’s always nice to have recipes for a few treats, as well as dishes, to have on hand for when they visit. Best of all, if I serve these, my guests may have the energy to clean the mess hidden in the kitchen. Hope springs eternal … 🙂

    • I like your thinking John. That’s an excellent tip – serve these up at the end of a dinner party, to energize the guests into helping with the clean-up. Excellent. The all-natural, legal, party pep-up!

    • I’m not sure what the ‘official’ advice is, but I tip my unused melted coconut oil back in the jar and it seems, and smells, absolutely fine. I store it in the fridge, just to be extra safe.

  13. Great recipe, thank you. Eloise doing the rolling for me and has made way more than 15 for us which is excellent. I assume these are fine to freeze which would make them good for school lunches?

    • Ace! Love a bit of live commentary. Yes, these freeze really well (in fact, they’re extra yummy eaten straight from the freezer, just secretly). Hope you like them!

  14. I saw these on facebook and as usual I want to ask you ‘where did you get that print’?! Your amazeballs look awesome 😛 Much better than the ‘bounce’ balls that they sell at the gym!

    • Presuming the bounce balls they sell at your gym aren’t the rubber variety – if they are, I can guarantee these taste better 🙂
      The tablecloth is yet another piece of vintage wallpaper. Can you imagine it covering a wall? So cute.

  15. Fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing this. Now, to try and substitute these for the ones we make with crushed biscuits and condensed milk …

  16. Wow, your timing is perfect. I was just reading another post about energy balls made with peanut butter and thinking that this would be a great lunch-box item if I could develop a nut-free version. You’ve just saved me heaps of time Saskia! Do you think these would work with all mejool dates and no prunes…or perhaps with dried apricots in place of the prunes? I’d like to make them before I do my next grocery shop! The girls are at camp and I actually have been having fun coming up with different ideas for the bento boxed lunches. Glad you are enjoying the holidays there. Thanks for the movie recommendation.We’ll have to go to Monster U next — we went to Despicable Me 2 yesterday and it was brilliant.

    • You could definitely swap the prunes for dried apricots – I’ve noticed them in many energy ball recipes. In fact, I was planning to try them myself next time, so let me know how they go if you do make them! Thanks for your movie recommendation too Barb – that one was next on our list.

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