May 7, 2014
Energy bites are one of my very favorite snacks for several reasons. I love that you can make them with myriad ingredients depending on your mood. Today it’s carrot cake energy bites because it’s spring, the weather is warm, and I want to be outside. And for that I need a snack that gives me a little energy boost – these bites do that. They are grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, and naturally sweetened with dates. They also come together very quickly and keep well in the fridge for a week or so, of longer in the freezer. That means you can whip up a batch or two and not have to worry about making more for a few days. The other thing I love about these is that my kids will eat them. SO much better than a chocolate chip cookie after school and just as tasty.
I sat down to think about my favorite components of carrot cake – the carrots (duh), coconut, nuts, and dried fruit. I also like the spices in carrot cake. (Okay, I like the cream cheese frosting too, but there wasn’t any room for that in these energy bites!) Normally when I make energy bites, I use gluten-free rolled oats. For these I like to use raw cashews. They’re a bit like Larabars that way. The dates sweeten them just a bit without being too sweet and also helps them hold together. The sunflower butter also helps with that. You could substitute almond or another nut butter if you want, or even leave it out and add a few more dates. I love the flavor of these, but they do benefit from some cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla. It takes the bites into the realm of tasting like dessert without actually being dessert. I leave them plain, but if you want to, you can roll them in shredded or desiccated coconut.
- 1 cup diced carrots (about 2 medium)
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 10 medium sized dates (5 very large)
- 2-4 Tablespoons raw sunflower butter
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- Place carrots into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl.
- Next place raw cashews into the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Place in bowl with carrots.
- Repeat the same process with the coconut and transfer to the bowl with the other ingredients.
- Put the dates into the food processor and pulse until chopped, then add the carrots, cashews, coconut, 2 Tablespoons sunflower butter, cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla. Pulse until the mixture comes together. If it's too dry, add more sunflower butter a little at a time. Scrape down sides and pulse again, if needed.
- Lay a piece of parchment paper in a clean, dry surface. Use the small ice cream scoop or tablespoon-sized measuring spoon to form the mixture into 18-20 balls. Eat immediately, or place in fridge or freezer to firm up a bit. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for about 1 week, or in the freezer for a month or two.
- Note: You can roll them in unsweetened coconut or leave them as is.
As I said, you’ll want to keep them refrigerated, but that doesn’t mean you can snag a few for the road. They are great little snacks when you’re hiking or doing something else outdoorsy.