Homes at this time of year are decorated with balls on Christmas trees, staircases, and doorsteps. How about making a few edible balls?
Let’s start with energy balls to help get through the hustle and bustle of the holidays. These healthy snacks are a great boost during busy days, everyone in the family can enjoy them, and most are gluten-free.
Dried Fruit And Nut Bites
A few years ago a friend and I decided to do a 21-Day Food Challenge from Whole Living. These balls were one of my favorites and I usually have these in the freezer for a quick energy bite when needed.
- 2 cups mixed dried fruit (suggestion: dates, apricots, cranberries, figs, cherries)
- 2 cups raw mixed nuts and seeds (suggestion: almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, sesame seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds)
- 1/3 cup raw sesame seeds
- Dash cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- In food processor pulse dried fruit. Once processed move to a mixing bowl.
- Pulse nuts and seeds until finely chopped.
- Knead fruits and nuts together.
- Form mixture into balls and roll in raw sesame seeds or unsweetened coconut.
- *May need to add a little bit of water to form balls.
- Recipe is vegetarian and vegan friendly.
- 5 balls are considered one serving.
- High in protein (10 grams) and fiber (6 grams) per serving
Energy Oat Balls
Some of my favorite ingredients are oatmeal and peanut butter. Almost can’t go wrong when adding them or any recipe. Bonus! These energy balls include both!
- 1 cup dry oatmeal (I use old-fashioned oats)
- 2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
- 1/2 cup peanut butter (I like chunky style)
- 1/2 cup ground flax seed
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips or cacao nibs (optional: I rarely add)
- 1/3 cup honey or agave nectar
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.
- Once chilled, roll into about 1" balls.
- Store in airtight container. Keep in fridge or freeze.
- Sometimes I roll the energy balls in the coconut flakes rather than including them inside the balls.
Peanut Butter Balls
This is an excellent low-calorie, high-protein snack ball for adults or children. Great to have on hand for a mid-morning snack, after school, or a workout.
I don’t usually get as many balls as is listed in the recipe (50). I must make them too big. The instructions tell you to use a one-teaspoon measuring spoon. If you’ve been reading these blogs, you’ll know that I lost the one-teaspoon measuring spoon from my set some time ago, so that’s my excuse! Actually, I make them the same size as my other balls – about one inch. Oh, maybe there was a better way of saying that.
- 1/2 cup peanut butter (natural with no trans fat is best, but any peanut butter will work)
- 3/4 cup wheat germ
- 1/2 cup honey
- 3/4 cup non-fat dry milk
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds, chopped nuts, toasted oatmeal or coconut flakes
- Combine all ingredients together.
- Form into small balls using a one-teaspoon measuring spoon.
- Roll in optional ingredients (sesame seeds, or nuts, or coconut or oatmeal) if you wish.
- Store in the fridge or freezer
- You can substitute half of the peanut butter with Nutella if you want a hazelnut/chocolate flavor.
Brownie Bourbon Balls
Okay, enough of the good and healthy balls. Let’s switch to the rich and decadent. Most recipes I found have vanilla wafers as the main ingredient in bourbon balls. What I liked about this recipe is that it used brownie mix instead. Oh yeah! I’ve been making these for a few years as a dinner party dessert and guests love them. They also make a great gift around the holidays.
The most challenging part of these bourbon balls is to decide which type of bourbon to use. I’m not a bourbon drinker so I had to defer to my hubby for advice. Well, short of a bourbon tasting (which I flat out refused at 8:30 in the morning), I was given a real education into the world of bourbons, sour mash, and whiskey. That could be a blog on it’s own. What bourbon did I use for my recipe? Maker’s Mark.
If buying bourbon for the purpose of this recipe seems a bit over the top, you could substitute bourbon extract or dig out that small airline bottle of bourbon you’ve been saving in your cupboard. Better yet, a great excuse to visit a neighbor! Forget about borrowing a cup of sugar, borrow a cup of bourbon – three tablespoons go in the recipe and, well, you can figure out what to do with the rest. 🙂
BOURBON BALL RECIPE
1/3 cup applesauce
1/4 cup egg substitute (or egg whites – to get 1/4 cup – about 2 eggs separated to get egg whites)
1 tablespoon water
1 (16.7 oz) package double fudge brownie mix (regular brownie mix works good too)
3 tablespoons bourbon
1/3 finely chopped toasted walnut pieces
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine applesauce, egg sub or egg whites, water and brownie mix. Stir well.
- Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray and then spoon in brownie mix. Spread evenly for better cooking.
- Cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. (Check for doneness by inserting a wooden pick near the edge of the pan – it should come out clean.)
- Cool pan on a wire rack.
- Crumble brownies and place in a food processor.
- Add bourbon and process until mixture clumps together (about 30 seconds).
- Shape brownie mixture into 24 balls (about 1 1/2 tablespoons each or 1″ round).
- Roll balls in nuts, pressing gently to evenly coat.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days or freeze for up to a month.
Any of these balls can be frozen. I use my FoodSaver zip bags so if I want to take out a few, I just have to re-vacuum them. Love that about those FoodSaver zip bags. So convenient.