It’s Friday, I had a few too many “tastes” of wine last night, and I feel like today’s post is a challenge in not making ball jokes. (I actually changed “balls” to “bites” in the recipe title to avoid have to say “balls” infinity times, yet all I can think about right now is the SNL Shweddy Balls skit. C’est la vie.) Please bear with me.
If you follow me on the Snapchats (serenagwolf), you already know these citrusy, coconut-y balls bites have been flying at my face all week, and I imagine that will continue until I get sick of them. Which will probably happen soon since I’ve eaten a lot of them (they’re addictive), but I have to say, my daily ball snack has been the highlight of my week. Talk about afternoon delight…
I imagine some peeps have made energy bites before, but as per usual, I’m just going to pretend I’m introducing you to the magic. Let’s do this.
There are infinite ways to make an energy bite, but most recipes involve oats, nuts and/or seeds, and a sticky binder (usually dates, sometimes honey or maple syrup) blitzed in a food processor, and then rolled into cute little balls. Vegans and raw food enthusiasts often refer to these types of treats as “truffles,” and I considered it in this case, but I ultimately decided that it would be a misnomer. When I think about truffles, things like Lindor or Momofuku bday cake come to mind, and while energy bites are undeniably awesome, they are a different type of treat experience. They’re more Lara Bar-esque than melt-in-your-mouth ganache or buttery funfetti, and they should have a title that manages expectations. Therefore, I shall call all such creations “energy balls bites” now and forever. Cool? Cool.
My first energy bites were these pumpkin-dark chocolate numbers, and since then, I’ve gotten dirty with lots of exotic balls. (Do you hate me yet?) All have been delightful in their own way, but two recipes stand head and shoulders above the rest. One is a faux cookie dough situation that’s going in The Dude Diet book (look forward to that in…6.5 months), and the second is this lemon-coconut combo.
If you love lemon and coconut, you’re going to be alllll over these balls. The lemon flavor is bright and pronounced (which I dig) thanks to a combo of zest and juice, and the double dose of coconut (interior and exterior!) gives them a little tropical flair. Sweet and chewy, these bites remind me of a lemon bar in the best possible way, and I love them as both nutritious snack and guilt-free dessert.
I’m also pleased to report that these little nuggets are equally exciting on the nutrition front. The blend of oats, chia seeds, dates, and coconut delivers a hefty dose of fiber, as well as a host of essential minerals and some omega-3 fatty acids (which, as you should know by now, make you smarter and prettier). Just one or two goes a long way in satisfying a sweet tooth and provides a solid burst of energy. They’re also gluten-free, vegan, Dude Diet-friendly, etc., etc.
On top of their insane deliciousness and health benefits, Lemon-Coconut Energy Bites are also incredibly simple to make—I’m talking 10-15 minutes of hands-on prep, tops—and they call for mostly pantry ingredients. The only things you may have to pick up are some shredded coconut (which you can later use in all manner of baked goods, and as a topping for everything from smoothie bowls to chia pudding) and dates. Easy.
Speaking of dates, a few tips for those that may not be familiar. For this recipe, you want to seek out Medjool dates, which are deep brown (and a little wrinkly, as you can see in some of these pics), sweet, semi-soft, and chewy. Most grocery markets carry them now (when in doubt, ask!!!), as does any health food store worth its salt, but you can always order a big old bag on Amazon. If you can, buy pitted dates to save yourself the hassle.
Just FYI, the recipe makes 22 bites, and I’d say a serving is 2 (maybe 3, if you’re feeling crazy). Your bites will keep in the fridge for a week or so, but I highly recommend freezing them in a Ziploc or airtight container. Not just for longevity’s sake—I actually prefer the frozen texture, which is extra solid and chewy. Try it.
Happy Friday, friends and lovahhhs! I hope you have big plans, and I hope they involve balls.
Lemon-Coconut Energy Bites: (Makes 22 bites)
2 packed cups pitted Medjool dates
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
½ cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut (plus extra for coating the bites)
2 tablespoons chia seeds
Zest from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
Pinch of sea salt
Preparing your Lemon-Coconut Energy Bites:
-Add all the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor.
-Process until the ingredients are completely incorporated and take on a dough-like consistency. The “dough” will start to form a ball in the food processor. That’s when you know it’s ready, peeps.
-Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover, and pop it in the freezer for 15 minutes. (This step is optional, but it’s easier to mold the balls when the mixture is slightly chilled.)
-With damp hands (I like to rub mine with a little coconut oil, but you do you), roll tablespoon-sized amounts of the mixture into balls and place them on a plate or parchment-lined baking sheet.
-Pour a little shredded coconut into a bowl (you shouldn’t need more than 3-4 tablespoons). Roll each bite in the coconut, using your hands to help press the coconut into the surface.
-Refrigerate the bites for at least 30 minutes to firm up. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for all eternity…
- 2 packed cups pitted Medjool dates
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- ½ cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut (plus extra for coating the bites)
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
- Pinch of sea salt
- Add all the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor. Process until the ingredients are well incorporated and take on a dough-like consistency. (When the “dough” starts to form a ball in the food processor, you're good to go.)
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover, and pop it in the freezer for 15 minutes. (This step is optional, but it’s easier to mold the balls when the mixture is slightly chilled.)
- With damp hands (I like to rub mine with a little coconut oil, but you do you), roll tablespoon-sized amounts of the mixture into balls and place them on a plate or parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Pour a little shredded coconut into a bowl (you shouldn’t need more than 3-4 tablespoons). Roll each bite in the coconut, using your hands to help press the coconut into the surface.
- Refrigerate the bites for at least 30 minutes to firm up. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.