DIY Power Balls

The Recipe: Why pay $1 or $2 a bar when it's so quick and easy to whip up your very own energy balls aka DIY Power Balls? Just 7 ingredients, 15 minutes and spiked with espresso powder for a caffeine kick. I've been making them in 100-calorie and 50-calorie energy balls. And yes, DIY Power Balls look ... and taste ... like truffles. But y'know what? A spoon works just as well. It's the ultimate healthy snack.

Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real.

FIY Power Balls, 7 ingredients, 15 minutes and spiked with espresso powder for a caffeine kick. In 100-calorie, 50-calorie power balls or by the spoonful. Vegan. Recipe, insider tips, nutrition, Weight Watchers points at #KitchenParade.

Convenience and portability. You gotta give that to power bars. I keep them in the car, in my purse, even in a big jar near my office.

Mostly though, power bars have about 200 calories so some of the convenience and portability is lost when you want only 100 calories a shot and need to save half for later. And besides, they're expensive. And besides, they mostly taste like cardboard.

So for a couple of years now, I've been working on "my" personal power bar recipe, one I could make myself in my own kitchen. There were plenty of failures, trust me. And then one day, I opened up an issue of Men's Journal (a g-r-e-a-t magazine and not just for men) and realized all the ingredients for the workout bars from Seamus Mullen, the "Intellivore" were on hand. Off I went!

Now somehow the Men's Journal recipe both uses more water and manages to cut thick bars. That didn't work for me. But Power Balls did. And get this, they really do look like chocolate "truffles" – maybe that's why Power Balls somehow appeal to my feminine taste anyway?!

DIY Power Balls are filling and satisfying. They have real substance without being bulky. I especially like the espresso powder's small flavor- and caffeine-kick, especially in the morning. The caffein kick does seem to fade after a week or so, before that, think twice before eating one of these late at night.

So do they work? Yep. Last fall, DIY Power Balls fueled 4500 miles of car travel in three weeks. Never once was I tempted to grab a chocolate bar or ice cream or energy drink when stopping for gas.

DIY POWER BALLS

Hands-on time: 15 minutes (5 for mixing, 10 for rolling)
Time to table: 15 minutes
Makes about 15 100-calorie DIY Power Balls (aka "Power Truffles") or 30 50-calorie DIY Power Balls
  • 1 cup (140g) toasted almonds
  • 1 cup (150g) pitted dates (about 12-20 depending on the variety) or dried apricots (about 20)
  • 1/4 cup (30g) unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Hershey's Dark
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon chia
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Additional cocoa powder, for rolling, optional

With a food processor, process almonds and dates until very fine and pasty, not oily like peanut butter but thick like tamarind paste. Add remaining ingredients and process until combined.

For individual balls, separate into equal 15 or 30 balls, roll until round, then roll in cocoa powder.

Refrigerate until ready to serve, keeps about four weeks.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per "Power Ball" made with apricots/dates (assumes 15): 95/101 Calories; 6g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 13/10mg Sodium; 9/11g Carb; 3g Fiber; 5/7g Sugar; 3g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 2 & WW Points Plus 3. CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving = 1 ball (3g protein).
ALANNA's TIPS I've used both the less-sweet and less-expensive "deglet noor" dates and the more-sweet and more-expensive "medjool" dates that are most easily found in my markets. One guess which is preferred? Sorry. Toasting the almonds first makes all the difference but do let them cool completely before running through the food processor. I've also used about a quarter black walnuts, very very good! It surprised me that the chia and the coconut, in such small volumes, make such a difference but they do, especially texture-wise. I rarely bother with rolling out the mixture into balls, just use a small spoon to meter out the right amount. Hershey's Dark cocoa powder is worth seeking out, it's been my "only" cocoa powder for some years now and makes all the difference in the chocolate department. I keep thinking I'll add protein powder to this recipe, next time! It means the balls will be smaller to stay in the 100-calorie range but will up the protein.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

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I love the idea of Power Truffles! Great January recipe. I've had trouble finding Hershey's Dark Cocoa Powder since we moved but it's definitely my favorite too.
 

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