Welcome to another day of healthy, real treats and desserts. I decided I was going to send a bonus extra recipe this week to my newsletter list, so if you haven’t signed up yet, do it here!
Have you jumped on the date/energy ball craze yet? If not I’m here to convince you that you need these treats in your life. There are a million kinds of date + nut based snack bars/balls out there (I have made this healthy nut and cocoa snack bar recipe a million times) and I thought it was high time I shared a few other similar recipes with you.
Today I’m sharing blueberry muffin date balls with you. They are sweet, easy to make, and all of the ingredients are healthy. I absolutely love having a batch of these in the freezer so that I have a quick treat all made and ready for when the sugar cravings hit (for me that’s right after lunch and again around 4 pm). These are the perfect natural craving busters that also have some great protein and fat.
Buying dates intimidated me a little the first time I went looking for them. You can get them at Costco in the unrefrigerated produce section. This kind had the pits in them still and I didn’t realize that. So I tossed them in my food processor, turned it on, and almost broke the thing. Date pits are hard as rocks. The pit come out very easily, just don’t forget that step! I have also bought whole pitted dates at my little grocery store near the raisins and other dried fruit. They came in a bag that looked like a “craisin” bag. I couldn’t tell a difference between the ones from Costco and the ones from our store and I had good luck making date balls with both. Dates are the sweetest little pieces of soft fruit you’ve ever had and they don’t have much flavor. You’re going to be surprised by how much you love them.
The nuts that you use don’t really matter, use what you like. I normally do half almonds because they are a nice “neutral” nut with a firm texture (I like the little chunks left!). The other half I’ll use what I have and it’ll end up being pecans, peanuts, walnuts, or cashews, or a combo of any of those. I like to use raw unsalted nuts for these but I have tried them with roasted nuts too and they were great.
When it comes to the dried blueberries I bought unsweetened dried blueberries from Bob’s Red Mill and they were tiny, delicious, little bits of heaven. The blueberry flavor in these is awesome, just look for dried blueberries that don’t have any added sugar.
Blueberry Muffin Date Balls
- 2 cups nuts (I used 1 cup of pecans and 1 cup of almonds)
- 1 cup dates, pitted
- 1 cup dried blueberries
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- Add all of the ingredients to the bowl of your food processor and blend until the nuts are well chopped and a thick “dough” starts to form, about 3-5 minutes of processing.
- When the ingredients are well incorporated, remove the blade from the food processor. Take 1 large tablespoon of the “dough” and roll it into a ball in between your hands. Repeat with remaining dough. Keep the balls in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer much longer.
You are going to want to use dates that are still squishy and fresh. (They are still dried, but not super old. Fresh dates are yellow and I have no idea if you can even eat them. These are brown shriveled dried but not hard dates…) If you use older dates that have started to dry out a bit (they might have a slight white residue on the outside from the sugar crystallizing on the outside if they are old too), then you might need to add 1-2 tablespoons of water when blending to help the ingredients come together. Be sure to remove the date pits too. They are hard as rocks.
If you blend it too long you are going to start making nut butter. So if the ingredients are chopped into super small pieces but the dough isn’t coming together, try adding a tablespoon or two of water to encourage everything to come together.
For this recipe, I recommend:
This recipe was inspired by and slightly adapted from The Healthy Maven
I had a reader make my other date bar recipe this weekend and it ruined her food processor! I have a Kitchen Aid 14-cup food processor and it can handle this kind of thing, but if you have a smaller one you might want to process it in smaller batches. No one wants a ruined kitchen appliance!
If you don’t want to hand roll the balls you can line a 9×13 inch baking dish with parchment paper and press the nut and date mixture into the bottom. Chill the bars for an hour and then remove them from the pan by pulling on the parchment paper and cut them into 24 squares. Balls or bars, they taste awesome no matter how you shape them! I like them best cold and I store my in the freezer.
Have I convinced you to try this easy no-bake date ball recipe yet? I think you should because you are going to love them. Need more great treats? I’d try this Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe (made with honey, coconut oil, and whole wheat flour), or these awesome healthier coconut no bake cookies. Both are big hits in my house! Don’t forget, there’s a secret healthy dessert recipe going out to members of my newsletter this week so don’t forget to subscribe.
Have a great day and enjoy!