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.
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
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.
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