Cranberry Chocolate Granola Energy Balls

Inspiration

I have been wanting to try out a variety of energy ball recipes. While I love making and eating truffles, sometimes I want a quicker and healthier option. Like truffles, energy balls are a perfect treat to fit into TreatBoxes. To get us started on this energy ball adventure, I borrowed a book aptly titled Energy Balls by Christal Sczebel from my friend, Shelli, when I was recently out visiting her in Calgary. I asked my daughter, Heidi, which of the recipes appealed to her the most. This was one of them. Stay tuned for posts as I try out other recipes from this book such as Cocoa Crispy Rice, Apricot Coconut Seeds, Banana Chocolate Chip, Matcha Mint Chocolate, Toasted Coconut Fudge and Cookie Dough.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (160g) pitted dates
  • 1 cup (140 g) raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) dried unsweetened cranberries plus 2 tbsp chopped
  • 1 cup (110g) granola, divided (1/2 cup for ball mixture, 1/2 cup for ball coating; may need extra 1/4 cup for coating)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tbsp 70% dark chocolate

Method

  • In a food processor, combing dates, almonds, 1/2 cup (60 g) cranberries, 1/2 cup (55 g) granola. Process on low for about 30 seconds, then on high for another 30 seconds until well chopped and combined.
  • Add almond milk while processing on low and continue processing until a sticky mass forms.
  • Transfer mixture to a bowl and mix in the dried cranberries and chopped dark chocolate.
  • Using teaspoons (or a size 100 scooper) drop (approximate size of 2 tsp) onto a plate or pan. Shape into balls. I made 36 balls, the original recipe indicated it would make 14 golf-ball sized balls.
  • Place 1/2 cup granola into a bowl then roll each ball into the granola, pressing to set the granola into the ball. Since I made 36 small balls, I needed 3/4 cup rather than 1/2 cup of granola to coat.
  • Place balls in freezer to set (approximately 30 minutes). Store in an airtight container in fridge or store at room temperature if you prefer a softer consistency.

Recipe Notes

  • Made 36 balls using a size 100 scooper (2 tsp)
  • Goji berry granola – replace 1/2 cup (60 g) dried cranberries with 1/2 cup (55 g) dried goji berries. You may want to soak goji berries in hot water, then drain before adding into recipe.
  • The texture and taste of these balls was great, although it was a bit on the sweet side. Adding cocoa powder could make them more chocolatey and reduce sweetness but may require a bit more liquid to be added to preserve consistency.
  • I added mini chocolate chips rather than chopped 70% chocolate which may have contributed to the sweetness.
  • Cocoa nibs (which would help cut the sweetness) could be added instead of chopped chocolate or mini chocolate chips.
  • I used sweetened cranberries since that was what I had on hand. I will look for some unsweetened ones to use in this (and other recipes) in the future.
  • I may try chopping the granola for coating next time; if so, I will probably add some un-chopped granola along with the chopped cranberries and chocolate before forming into balls.
  • Adding some orange flavour (zest, extract or a juice reduction) would be a nice addition to this recipe. Depending on how you add that flavour you may need to adjust quantity of almond milk to preserve the consistency. This may reduce the sweetness a bit if you are adding orange zest.
  • I may try adding some unsweetened coconut. This too could lessen the overall sweetness while complementing the existing flavours. It may make the dough a bit drier so you may need to adjust the quantity of almond milk.

Packaging Ideas

You can store the whole batch in a jewelry-style box made from two 8-1/2″ x 11″ pieces of cardstock. Score the bottom at 1-1/4″ on each side. To score the top, shift the paper 1/16″ to the right before scoring each of the 4 sides at 1-1/4″. Alternatively you could cut the bottom down to 8-3/8″ x 10-7/8″ before scoring at 1-1/4″ in which case you don’t need to shift the top 1/16″ to the right before scoring.

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