What do you get when you cross a power bar with a no-bake cookie?
Energy balls should ring a bell.
The tempting little two- to three-bite-size grab-and-go snacks are popping up at specialty coffee stores, juiceries and scratch bakeries across Kansas City. Pinterest alone offers thousands of recipe variations. But Chow Town discovered just how popular the balls were during the Kansas City Royals’ run-up to the World Series when we ran a blog post with a recipe from Mitzi Dulan, the team’s nutritionist.
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The Star’s Holiday Energy Bites are better for you than a lot of flour-butter-sugar holiday sweets you might be tempted by during the season of indulgence. For a nice respite, try adding these sweet treats to a holiday cookie tray.
Dates are high in fiber and a good source of protein and iron. These energy balls also work for a variety of special diets. They are gluten-free, as long as you select ingredients labeled gluten-free and processed in a gluten-free plant.
Plus, the bites are no-bake: Dates and dried apricots are pulsed with toasted nuts and a bit of honey in a food processor and rolled in more nuts or coconut.
Preparation tip: Toasting nuts intensifies the flavor. To toast pecans, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted.
Storage tip: These will keep several weeks in the refrigerator or can be wrapped and placed in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Variation: If desired, add 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the mixture when processing in the food processor.
Holiday Energy Bites
Makes 16 balls
1 cup pitted, dried dates (such as Medjool)
1 (6-ounce) package dried apricots, about 1 cup
1 cup pecan halves or chopped pecans, toasted
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts or shredded sweet coconut, optional
Place dates, apricots and pecans in the bowl of a food processor. Process until finely chopped. Add honey and pulse to combine.
Use a heaping tablespoon to form the mixture into approximately 16 balls. Use your hands to roll balls and make solid.
If desired, roll balls in chopped nuts or shredded coconut.
If not serving immediately, refrigerate. These can be enjoyed straight from the refrigerator or allowed to stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
Per ball, without optional nuts/coconut: 117 calories (38 percent from fat), 5 grams total fat (trace saturated), no cholesterol, 17 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, 2 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber.
Recipes developed exclusively for The Star by Kansas City-based professional home economists Kathryn Moore and Roxanne Wyss.