Friday, April 12, 2013

0 Recipe #351: No-Bake Chocolate-Cherry-Almond Energy Bites

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These nutritious, satisfying, and naturally sweet bite-sized treats make great pre- or post-workout snacks. They’re also the perfect portion size for a mid-day snack or even a mini-dessert. Take them with you on the go when you need something quick and healthy to pop into your mouth.

Not only are these treats healthy and portable, but they take only a matter of minutes to make. They also happen to be vegan and gluten-free.

These small mouthfuls are deceptively filling, which is actually great, because they've got built-in portion control. :) One taste, (and then maybe wait 20 minutes or so ;) ), and you're full! It's a healthy way to satisfy a sweets/chocolate craving without going overboard.

Unlike nutritionally deficient snack foods filled with refined sugar, starch, and processed ingredients, these little energy bites won't give you that empty, unsatisfied feeling after you're done eating them. No short-lived energy bursts that'll only send your blood sugar crashing down and leave you hungry again only minutes later. These little suckers have staying power. :) So, if you keep them on hand, you’re much less likely to reach for those less-than-healthy choices in a hasty moment of hunger and desperation. Instead of a quick pick-me-up, you'll be rarin' to go for hours. :)

This is just one of the easy, tasty snack recipes you'll find in The Athlete's Cookbook. :-D Not too long ago, I brought these energy bites into kung fu class and also to last week's martial arts tournament and shared them with our team. (Yes, the recipe yield is enough to feed an entire martial arts team. Lol.)  They were a bit hit with my classmates, so I hope you will enjoy them as well!

No-Bake Chocolate-Cherry-Almond Energy Bites 

Dough Ingredients:
1/2 c. oats, finely ground into flour in a food processor
1/8 c. slivered almonds
1/8 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 c. reduced fat almond butter (be sure to use the kind with salt)
1/4 c. honey
1 c. dried, sugar-free cherries, densely packed (available at Whole Foods)

1/4 c. slivered almonds, coarsely ground in a food processor (with 3-4 quick pulses)

Directions: Combine first three dough ingredients (oat flour, slivered almonds, and cocoa powder) in a food processor and process until just incorporated. Then add almond butter and honey and pulse until smooth and fully blended. Add cherries and pulse only until just combined. Remove dough, place onto a clean surface and roll into bite-sized balls (about the size of a quarter) using the palms of your hands, then dip each ball into a small bowl containing the ground almond coating and roll around in the bowl to completely cover in nuts. Transfer each ball onto a 11" x 17" wax paper covered tray as you complete them, spacing them evenly apart from each other. Place tray in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to solidify. Eat and enjoy! Refrigerate any leftovers.

Yield: Approximately 38-40 bonbons.

Chef's Notes: If you're making these as a portable snack, I recommend individually wrapping them in small squares of wax paper and then placing them into an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. They also make great holiday treats as well.

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