Energy balls! With infinite ways to make them and such a delightful abundance of healthy ingredients that we can weave into them, the limit here is your imagination.
In today’s recipe, I felt it would make a nice change to use dried figs, instead of the usual dates. Apart from that gorgeous crunch (thanks to the figgy seeds), figs are a good source of potassium (said to help lower blood pressure).
I’ve used almonds, maca powder and carob powder for this particular blend. More on these to follow.
Maca features regularly in my cuisine. One of the best ways to add it into food is as an ingredient for energy balls. Maca has a malty taste, balanced in this recipe with the natural sweetness of the carob powder. Carob & maca seem to dance particularly well together, I must say.
Maca is an adaptogenic plant-food, which in simple terms means that it helps us to ‘adapt’ to stressful situations. In modern life, this could be mental, emotional or physical stress (which to be fair, is includes pretty much everyone in some way).
Maca also has an uncanny knack of being able to balance out the endocrine (hormone) system. Dr. Malaspina (from Peru) suggests that the benefit is that rather than introducing hormones from outside the body (which can create imbalance and knock on effects), maca encourages the ovaries and other glands (thyroid, pituitary gland, pineal gland, hypothalamus, testes, adrenal glands etc.) to produce necessary hormones for optimal function through the whole body. Important considerations for virtually all of us.
I’ve written in lots of detail about maca here…
Carob is a bit of an unsung hero. I LOVE The stuff. It’s a bean, dehydrated, ground into a powder, and, used in much the same way as cacao. It is an excellent alternative to cacao as it does not contain caffeine (not knocking cacao or anything haha – just sayin’!!!). It also contains twice the amount of calcium to that of cacao.
Without getting all scientific, it just feels good to my body when I eat it and it tastes delectable.
There are different ways that carob powder comes. It tends to come in either a dark ‘bitter’ form (great if you fancy a bitter hit) or alternatively it comes naturally sweet (this tends to be lighter in colour). Both have their merits for flavour, although if given the choice I will go for the lighter, naturally sweeter version every time.
You need a decent food processor to make energy balls. I am travelling at the moment, and, the processor I have with me is pretty rubbish at grinding, although it still works well enough. I opted to leave these energy balls with nice rustic chunks – pretty awesome having that crunchy texture in there.
You can soak the figs in advance if you want to, although I opted to simply add a touch (we are talking 2 tablespoons) of water right at the end. If your figs are particularly moist, then you probably won’t need the water either. Just feel what works for your particular batch.
As always, I would invite you to play with the ingredients. Tweak them to your preferred requirements. Add more or less of what you like. Generally it works to have about 50% nuts (or seeds) and 50% dried fruit… the rest is up to your imagination.
This blend works well. There is 100g almonds, 100g dried figs, 1 tablespoon maca power, 2 tablespoons carob powder (optional vanilla and a touch of water if required or desired).
Energy balls are excellent in your lunch box, fab as a hiking snack and work well to snack on through out the week at home.
They keep in the fridge for at least a week and freeze well (extending their life for months, if you can make them last that long haha).
I shot a quick video the day I made these as I was ‘out and about’ in La Palma, scouting out the lay of the land ahead of the hiking retreat that I will be running here this morning. Enjoy…
- 100g almonds (3/4 of a cup approx)
- 100g dried figs (3/4 of a cup approx)
- 1 tablespoon maca powder
- 2 tablespoons carob powder
- 2 tablespoons water (or as reqired)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- Grind the almonds in a food processor.
- Remove any stalks from the dried figs.
- Add the figs, maca powder and carob powder to the processor and grind until you achieve a rough 'meal'. Chunks are fine, as long as everything is fairly well broken down.
- If the mixture is dry then add water (be very careful not to add too much - a couple of tablespoons is usually more than enough - and sometimes not even needed).
- Roll into balls.
- Pop in to the fridge and enjoy whenever you feel.
- The energy balls freeze very well extending their life for months. They also keep well in the fridge for at least a week.
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