These bites are both delicious and good for you – always a winning combo!
Although I’ve seen many variations of this recipe, after much playing with different combinations and quantities of the ingredients, this one is my favourite. Feel free to change up whatever you like though to suit your own tastes.
I’ve used a combination of dried dates and dried figs, but you could equally well use either one or the other. You could probably actually use just about any other dried fruit too. I haven’t tried them myself, but I imagine that dried pears, apricots or apples would work well.
I’ve also combined nuts and seeds, and I think the mixture really works, but if you only have nuts, that’s fine too. When I made them again after taking these photos, I actually ground all the nuts but only half the sunflower seeds, and that gave a really nice, slightly crunchier texture, with the whole seeds interspersed with the smoother background.
If you have a grinder, then get the nuts and seeds whole and grind them yourself, as it’s cheaper and they’re likely to be fresher tasting. Otherwise, just buy your nuts ready-ground, and if you can’t find ready-ground sunflower seeds, then just use them whole. You can also use raw sunflower seeds – I like toasted ones best though.
The cocoa powder adds a slightly chocolatey flavour but is completely optional. If you want your bites seriously chocolatey though, just add more of it.
Also on the most recent incarnation of these, I rolled them in ground coconut before putting them in the fridge. That’s optional, but finishes them off nicely, especially if you want to give them as a gift.
- ¾ – 1c dried dates and/or figs (or any other dried fruit)
- 1-2T water
- 1½T coconut oil or butter
- ½c nuts, any one variety or mixed nuts
- ¼c sunflower seeds (toasted is nice)
- ¼c dessicated coconut, fine or medium ground
- Pinch of sea salt
- ½t vanilla essence
- 1T sesame seeds (optional)
- 1-2t ground cinnamon (optional)
- 1-2t cocoa powder (optional)
- Extra coconut to roll in (optional)
Put the dried fruit in a steamer (if you have one) or in a sieve perched over a pot of boiling water for 10 – 15 mins. This helps to soften them and make them easier to mush up.
If it’s cold and your coconut oil is in solid form, or if you’re using butter instead of coconut oil, then put that on the stove to melt at a very gentle temperature.
While you’re waiting, grind up your nuts, if they’re not already ground.
I like them quite coarsely ground for a bit of extra crunch.
Then your sunflower seeds, if you’re grinding them. Or just grind half of them.
Place the nuts, sunflower seeds, dessicated coconut and salt, plus the sesame seeds, cinnamon and cocoa powder (if using any or all of those) in a bowl.
Give it a good stir.
Then as soon as the dried fruit is softened, either mash it up with a fork or blend it in your grinder.
You may well need to add a dash of water to help the process if it’s a bit dry.
Now add the fruit to the seeds, etc, along with the vanilla essence and coconut oil/melted butter.
Mix is all up until all the parts start coming together. If need be, add a dash more water. It should be a consistency that feels something like dough.
Now taste it and decide if you want to add more cinnamon, cocoa, vanilla, salt or whatever. If so, mix it up well again.
Roll the dough into balls – I like them about 3cm in diameter, but you could go smaller or bigger if you like.
When all the balls are made, roll them in the extra coconut if you like (sorry, I don’t have a pic of this). The easiest way is to put some coconut into a bowl, roll the balls and put them straight onto a plate. The coconut oil/butter in them will stop them from sticking, so no need to grease the plate.
Refrigerate for at least half an hour so the coconut oil/butter can set again, which helps the balls become firmer and easier to eat. Store them in the fridge until you’re ready to eat them – they’re fine for at least a week there (although I doubt there’ll be any left by then!).
Serve in a small bowl (they’re delicious with coffee) or wrap a few in a little bag or transparent box, with a ribbon, to give away as a gift.
© Alexandra Lawrence and Inspired Nourishment, 2016