These delicious breakfast bites taste like dessert, but are actually good for you - sugar-free and full of nutrients. One of the main ingredients, almonds, is considered a superfood and delivers significant amounts of protein, calcium and vitamin E. Dates have many health benefits, and oats are gluten free, satisfying, rich in vitamins and high in fibre. And medical research continues to reveal the health benefits of cocoa.
These breakfast bites are easy to make, keep well, and 2 or 3 are enough for a satisfying breakfast on the run or high energy snack.
Step 1: Ingredients
This recipe uses just 5 ingredients:
- 2 cups (not packed tight) of cooking dates, pitted
- 1 1/4 cups of raw almonds, unsalted
- 1/4 cup cocoa
- 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats (raw)
This recipe makes about 35 breakfast bites.
You can also add flavour enhancers to taste. Some suggestions which have worked well for me are:
- 3 tsp instant coffee, dissolved in a bit of water
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp orange extract
- 1/4 tsp salt (do not use if you are starting with salted nuts)
I added instant coffee, vanilla and salt to the breakfast bites featured in this instructable and they were delicious!
You will also need a food processor.
Step 2: Soak Dates
Pour boiling water over dates and let them soak while you are gathering the ingredients and processing the nuts.
Step 3: Process the Nuts
Put nuts into a food processor and process on high until the nuts have released their oil and you have a creamy nut butter.
This can take five minutes or more. You may need to stop the food processor periodically to push the nuts with a spatula into the chopping area. The first time you try this it will seem like it takes forever, but be persistent, and you will eventually get nut butter.
You could start with one cup of purchased nut butter and skip this step, but I prefer to start with whole foods.
Step 4: Add Remaining Ingredients and Process
Drain water from dates (but reserve the water) - you don't have to drain them completely dry.
Add the dates and process them until chopped and well mixed in with the nuts.
Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth.
Add water (1 or 2 tablespoons at a time) if needed, to create the right texture.
Process until mixture is smooth and blended.
Step 5: Roll Into Balls
Use painters tape to tape a piece of wax paper to your countertop.
Use a large spoon (e.g. a soup spoon) to take spoonfuls of your "batter" and roll between your hands into balls. Place balls on wax paper or in large plastic containers, leaving space between them so they don't stick together.
Note - the batter will stick to your hands - you can use the spoon to scrape excess batter from your hands.
Step 6: Roll Balls in Shredded Coconut or Ground Almonds If Desired
I like to coat these breakfast balls in unsweetened shredded coconut, or ground almonds, or cocoa, or rice flour for some added flavour and visual appeal. It also makes them less sticky. The most flavourful coating is shredded coconut. Cocoa looks nice but is messy to handle. You don't need to coat them at all, so this step is optional.
Place the coconut or other rolling medium in a shallow bowl, and roll the balls until coated. They are initially quite sticky when they are still warm from the food processor, but as they cool down they get less sticky, so roll them in the coconut right after the balls have been formed.
Store your breakfast balls in the fridge or freezer (they thaw in minutes) in a single layer. Once frozen they can be transferred to ziploc bags or other containers. I find it helpful to store them in the freezer so I don't eat them all at once!
Step 7: Chocolate Truffle Variation
For more of a dessert like ball, use the same technique but try the following ingredients:
- 1 1/2 c. almonds
- 2 c. dates
- 1/3 c. cocoa
- 2 T. coconut oil
- 1/2 c. hemp hearts
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 - 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp. instant coffee dissolved in 3 tsp. water
These are my sugarless version of chocolate truffles. Delicious!
Step 8: Hemp Heart Variation
This is my latest variation - the hemp hearts add healthy oils and protein so they are both nutritious and delicious!
- 1 ½ cups almonds (either raw, or roasted – but unsalted)
- ¾ cup hemp hearts (also called hemp seeds)
- ¼ cup dried grated coconut (optional)
- ¾ cup quick rolled oats
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups dates
Step 9: Enjoy!
These healthy breakfast bites are incredibly versatile.
I have brought these to dinner parties as a healthy dessert, to work for mid-morning snacks, and on hikes for an energy hit. My husband says that they are too good for breakfast!
I hope you enjoy this easy recipe and feel free to experiment by substituting your favourite nuts and flavours.
Many thanks to Darlene McKee, inspirational hike leader and nurturer, who first introduced me to her version of these healthy breakfast bites.
Runner Up in the
Breakfast Challenge 2017
4CoreenM made it!