Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Clif Meets Lara Cookie Dough Bliss Balls: 11 Fabulous Flavors

I have been missing in action for some time now because in June we decided to look into buying a house. Suddenly, all my free time was gone as I poured over real estate listings.  After a pretty frantic, stressful time, we are finally almost all moved in to our new place and functioning again. So, friends, I am finally able to share my favorite creation ever with you: We call them "cookie dough balls" around here. I make a new kind almost every week, and the kids eat them up like they are, indeed, cookies.  Theses energy bites have the fruitiness of a Lara bar paired with the toothsome texture of a Clif bar and are insanely delicious. Every morning when Emie wakes me up, long before I am ready to emerge from the covers, I am comforted by the thought that after I trudge down to the kitchen, I can look forward to gobbling one of these as my morning treat.

There are a lot of energy ball/ bite recipes out there, but what I love about these is the beans. I think the combo of beans, seeds, coconut oil, and dates gives the perfect texture. Of the many flavors I have created, I think our favorite is chocolate mint. These can be made with either oats or buckwheat (if you want gluten-free); I like both equally and cannot tell much of a difference.

In other news, my friend who also has a child with severe food allergies has started a company called Allergy Warning Wear, which sells super-cure t-shirts for kids like ours to wear as a reminder to others of the severity of their food allergies. One of the designs is even named after my son!

Classic Cookie Dough:

3/4 cup hemp, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds, or a combination thereof
3/4 cup cooked chickpeas (drained and rinsed, if canned)
3/4 cup rolled oats or raw buckwheat groats (You can sub 1/4 cup of this with chia seed meal.)
1/4 cup rice protein powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup pitted dates
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter or tahini
1-2 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4-1/3 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (I like min-chips, if you have them.)

In a food processor, pulse together the seeds, beans, oats or buckwheat, protein powder, and salt to form a fine meal. Add the coconut oil and pulse until evenly incorporated. Add the dates, seed butter, maple syrup (starting with 1 Tbsp.), and vanilla and buzz until evenly combined. If the dough is a bit dry and not yet perfect cookie dough texture, add a bit more maple syrup. Stir in the chocolate chips, form into golf-ball-sized balls, and store in the fridge.

Now the variations.....

Omit chocolate chips and roll balls in cinnamon sugar.

Cranberry Orange:
Replace the dates with dried cranberries, double the chickpeas, and take out the seed butter. Replace vanilla with orange extract. Omit chocolate chips.

Chocolate-Banana Brownie:
Replace chickpeas with black beans, 1/4 cup of the oats/buckwheat with cocoa powder, and dates with rehydrated dried banana.

Chocolate Mint:
Replace chickpeas with black beans and replace vanilla with mint extract. (Use tahini for the seed butter.)

Replace oats/buckwheat with banana chips, replace dates with dried papaya and/or mango, replace seed butter with coconut butter, and replace vanilla with coconut extract. Omit chocolate chips.

Chocolate-Covered Cherry:
Replace dates with dried cherries and vanilla with imitation almond extract or cherry extract.

Lemon Poppyseed:
Add 1/4 cup poppyseeds and the zest of one lemon to the mix. Add 3 tsp. lemon extract instead of vanilla. Increase chickpeas to 1 cup and reduce seed butter by 2 Tbsp, using tahini. Omit chocolate chips.

Sunflower Seed Butter and Jam:
Use sunflower seeds and sunflower seed butter. Replace dates and maple syrup with 1/4-1/3 cup of your favorite jam. Omit vanilla extract, maple syrup, and chocolate chips.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie:
Increase chickpeas to 1 cup and reduce seed butter by 2 Tbsp. Add 2 tsp. cinnamon and replace dates with raisins. Omit chocolate chips.

Pumpkin Pie:
Add 3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice and replace seed butter with pumpkin puree.

Enjoy!!!! Eat these, and maybe you'll be as cool as my kids....

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday Allergy-Free Wednesday Wellness Weekend Allergy-Friendly Lunchbox Love and Healthy Vegan Fridays.