I’m a snacker. It’s terrible. It’s probably a big reason why I gained so much weight in culinary school; a couple of slices of gruyere here…. some mini cookies there…I mean who is counting right? Wrong. It’s really something I need to work on, but it would be impossible to try and cut snacking out of my life completely. I mean it’s in my blood. My mom is a grazer and so am I. It is what it is. At least now that school is over (albeit temporarily) I can focus on clean and healthy snacking to cleanse myself of all those bites of duck and truffled chicken that are still hanging around my thighs and donk.
Giving up nut butters for Lent has been rough. I love them so much. Cereal has been a doozy too but it doesn’t beat nut butters. I didn’t realize how frequently they pop up in things I like to cook, either; salad dressing, protein and energy balls, granola bars, smoothies, straight off the spoon etc. etc. It’s slaying me.
Prunes might be another to add to the list. Yeah yeah I know, you’re probably like prunes? seriously? Yes. I’m completely serious. I love them. I love their chewy texture. They are such an under appreciated snack. Hence why I snuck them into these energy bites. They give them this delicious chewy texture that I don’t think you could fully achieve with just dates. I get it, dates are all the rage when it comes to energy bites and adding natural sweetener yadda yadda, but why not the prune? Prunes are like giant cherries without the unpleasant tartness. And they are allegedly great for digestive health, which for me is a really big plus.
- 1½ cup hazelnuts, peeled
- 4 T baking soda
- ¼ steel cut oats
- ⅓ cup rolled oats
- 6 dates, pitted
- 8 prunes, pitted
- 2 T cocoa powder
- 3 T agave nectar (or honey or natural maple syrup)
- ¼ - ½ tsp salt (depending on personal preference)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- In a small pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Have a strainer and bowl of cold water on the side ready to go.
- Add 4 T of baking soda to the water. Immediately after, add the hazelnuts.
- Boil for 4 minutes, until the water has become almost black. Strain the nuts and then add them to the bowl of cold water. With your hands, disturb the nuts to loosen the skins. Then peel off the skins as you go and place the cleaned nuts on a rimmed cookie sheet.
- When all of the skin has been removed, pop the nuts into the oven for about 5-10 minutes to dry. Keep a close eye out so they do not get too brown. You are just trying to dry them out. Remove from the oven and let cool and dry completely.
- In the bowl of a food processor, add the nuts and puree until the nuts resemble a course couscous-like texture. Then add the oats and blend on high to combine.
- Add the remaining ingredients and mix on high until the mixture starts to come together. Remove a small piece of the mixture and press it between your thumb and forefinger. If it comes together it's ready to go.
- Scoop tablespoon sized balls and roll them between the palms of your hands. If them seem too oily, blot them on a paper towel (I personally went through several paper towels for this). Place in an airtight container and keep at room temperature for several days.