It’s amazing what a bit of focus can produce. These cookie-dough protein balls are a direct inspiration from ‘use it up January’ which, as the name implies, focuses on using stuff up in January, and they are completely delicious and satisfying.
‘Use it up January’ was the chosen initiative by the Zero Waste Ireland Facebook group, so this January I took a two-prong approach to using stuff up. The first part is more conscious shopping – making sure I don’t buy ingredients I don’t need, questioning if I could substitute with something I already have and the second part is making a concerted effort to use up some of the long-time lurkers in the cupboard.
Among my lurkers were big jars of sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. We eat them in spurts, but it takes a bit of effort and we aren’t making great inroads. And then there was a nut butter no one really liked – a brand that was on special offer and just wasn’t a hit. And we know this stuff is really, really good for us! With some dates, a pinch of salt and a few squares of O’Connells 99% chocolate these ingredients transformed into something quite different – delicious and in demand!
These balls have a nice cookie-dough texture, it becomes more chewy the longer it’s blended. I like to stop before it gets really really sticky. It’s a real ‘throw whatever you have in the blender’ recipe.
Ideal for lunch boxes or snacks, each ball packs a decent nutritional punch with 3mg of iron (19% the redcomended daily value) and 7.9g of protein.
Volumes of seeds, nuts and dried fruit can be replaced with any seeds, nuts and dried fruit. Raisins would work fine instead of dates if that’s what you have, I buy dates in 10kg boxes as they keep so well, so I always have them to hand.
See what YOU have lurking in YOUR cupboard and have some fun with that!
- 2 cups seeds (I used a half cup each of pumpkin, sunflower, hempseeds and sesame seeds)
- 2 cups nut butter (or 2 cups nuts)
- 1 cup, loosely packed dates.
- 15 - 20g 99% dark chocolate (I’d guess ¼ cup cocoa)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla essence (optional)
- ¼ tsp sea salt (not optional!)
- 2-4 tsp warm water (espresso would be good here too)
- Coconut, cacao, nuts etc for dipping
- If the dates aren’t that moist, barely cover with boiling water, leave sit while the seeds are blending and drain before using.
- Put the seeds in the blender and blend to crumbs. (Nuts would go in now as well if using nuts instead of nut butter.)
- Add the dates and blend.
- Add the nut butter and blend until well mixed.
- Add the vanilla and sea salt and pulse.
- Melt the chocolate and coconut oil, add and mix.
- Check consistency, if it’s not sticky enough to stay together, gradually drizzle water in by the teaspoon until it sticks together.
- Remove to a board, shape into two logs.
- Cut each log into 12 pieces.
- Roll each piece into a ball and coat in whatever you have, coconut, cacao, nuts, etc.
These were eaten within a week, but should stay fresh much longer!