I associate carrot cake with booze and my best friend, and therefore it makes me happy.
In late high school, college, and the early “adult” (muahahah) years, Fifi and I frequented a very fancy restaurant called Hot & Crusty. This delicious and not remotely sexual sounding establishment is an NYC chain, and there happens to be one a couple blocks from my mom’s apartment. After a festive night out, Fifi and I would hit H&C to pick up a late night snack and then scurry home (not gonna lie, there was sometimes a cab involved) to inhale it on the living room floor in various states of undress.
I’ve humble bragged before that young Selena was kind of a celeb at the 86th street H&C. When she waltzed in circa 3am, the guys behind the counter would greet her with cheers—and occasional hugs—and start prepping her feast from memory. This health-conscious order included a bagel sandwich with turkey, bacon, cream cheese, and lettuce, a side of chips, extra pickles, all the G2 in the place, and a slab of, you guessed it, CARROT CAKE.
The weird thing is, I hated carrot cake as a kid. I must have turned a corner at some point in high school and developed a taste for it, but I can’t be sure how or when. It’s entirely possible that I simply walked into H&C one night circa 2004 demanding cake (I fucking love cake), the dude gave me carrot, and that was that. A carrot cake addict was born!
Regardless, ending a good night with a piece of carrot cake was a thing, and no matter where I am or what I’m doing, when I eat something carrot cake-themed, I think of Fifi and boot cut jeans feel young, and wild, and freeee. I think that’s why I make these Carrot Cake Energy Bites so much…
Energy bites are like smoothies in that there are infinity recipes for them on the Interwebs, and I’m always hesitant to post another, but whatever. Maybe you have a billion energy bites in your repertoire, or maybe you don’t read many food blogs and have never even heard of energy bites (fingies crossed—you know I love to take credit for introducing people to things!!), but either way, I hope you’ll take this recipe for a spin. There’s a lot to love.
First and foremost, these bites taste delightful. The sticky mix of Medjool dates, rolled oats and carrots kicked up with hemp or chia seeds, warming spices, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice hits all the classic sweet and spicy notes. I add raisins and chopped walnuts to my ballz because I think carrot cake without those two things is fucked up, but they’re completely optional. As is rolling your bites in coconut, although I highly recommend it. It goes without saying that you must always do you.
I’m also thrilled to inform you that the bites come together in all of 10 minutes, then you just pop them in the fridge (or freezer) to firm up for half an hour. Boom, done! They’re high in fiber, beta-carotene, and omega-3s, and I find that just one or two really hit the spot when I’m craving something sweet. Plus, they happen to be vegan, gluten-free, and Dude Diet-friendly, so they’ve got major crowd-pleasing potential. Ooooh, you should make a batch for your mom on Mother’s Day!! (My mom would not be psyched to receive energy bites, but yours might?)
One quick recipe note before you run off to the kitchen. Your carrot cake bites will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a week or so and in the freezer for 2-3 months. In general, I prefer the texture of frozen energy bites, but I recommend the fridge if you add raisins. Frozen raisins are no bueno.
Carrot Cake Energy Bites: (Makes about 20 bites)
2 packed cups pitted Medjool Dates
¾ cup rolled oats (not quick cooking!)
¾ cup grated carrots
2 tablespoons hemp or chia seeds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
¼ cup golden raisins (optional)
¼ cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)
Fine coconut flakes/dessicated coconut for rolling (optional)
Preparing your Carrot Cake Energy Bites:
-Add all the ingredients except the raisins and walnuts to the bowl of a food processor.
-Process until everything is very well combined and the mixture becomes a coarse “dough.” It will start to form a ball in the food processor when it’s ready.
-Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the raisins and walnuts if using.
-Mix until well combined. (I find this is easiest to do with a fork.)
-Line a baking sheet with parchment. With damp hands, roll tablespoon-sized measures of dough into balls, roll them in coconut (if using), and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
-Refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up, then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week or in the freezer for up to three months.
- 2 packed cups pitted Medjool Dates
- ¾ cup rolled oats (not quick cooking!)
- ¾ cup grated carrots
- 2 tablespoons hemp or chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup golden raisins (optional)
- ¼ cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)
- Fine coconut flakes/dessicated coconut for rolling (optional)
- Add all the ingredients except the raisins and walnuts to the bowl of a food processor. Process until everything is well combined and the mixture becomes a coarse “dough.” It will start to form a ball in the food processor when it’s ready.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl and mix in the raisins and walnuts if using. (I find this is easiest to do with a fork.)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment. With damp hands, roll tablespoon-sized measures of dough into balls, roll them in coconut (if using), and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week or in the freezer for up to three months.