I had four 12-year old boys in my house the day I was experimenting with this recipe. And one or two of them might be prone to feeling grossed out by any food with strange flavors or textures (strange in their mind, anyway). So, knowing these boys are also prone to brutal honesty, I knew this was my perfect panel of Taste-Testers. I gave permission to “spit it out” and even warned them that my Nutty Chia Energy Bites might not be something they were going to like. Do I know how to sell something or what? So, here’s how it all played out. “Yum, tastes like an energy bar. But a good one!”, “It’s almost fruity, to me.” “Can we have another?”…these comments were the best confirmation I could have that I was on the right track. My son even came back for thirds during the pictures so this “action” shot wasn’t even staged.
A combination of rolled oats, unsweetened shredded coconut, hazel nuts, macadamia nuts, flax-seed and dark chocolate chips go for a quick whirl in the food processor. Then some chia seeds, nut butter (almond, peanut or cashew), honey and vanilla binds everything together. The energy bites can be rolled into 1-inch or 2-inch balls, whichever is your preference (2-inch shown here).
Going into my experiment with these little morsels, I had a few requirements. First and foremost, they had to be low in sugar, so unsweetened coconut is a must and 1/4 cup honey gives just the right amount of sweetness (substitute agave nectar for a vegan option). The oats, nuts and chia seeds are a great texture combination and the nut butter is the perfect tasty binder. Almond butter is less sweet tasting than peanut butter and cashew butter would also be divine. Just use what you have. The dark chocolate chunks can be left out if you want. The hazelnuts give that “fruity” flavor that one of my astute tasters noticed, and macadamia nuts are nice and creamy. But again, you can experiment with whatever nuts you like.
These would travel well in lunch coolers, and can even be frozen for up to a month. Perfect for a bite to keep your sweet tooth at bay or for a quick energy pick-me-up. Give them a try and tell me what you think. I’m off to have another.
Nutty Chia Energy Bites
- 1 cup rolled oats, not quick oats
- 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, plus more for rolling the bites
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts, macadamia nuts or a combination of both
- 1/4 cup ground flax seed
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks, optional
- 1/3 cup chia seeds
- 1/2 cup nut butter of your choice, almond, peanut or cashew butter are good options
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Place rolled oats, coconut, nuts, flax seed and dark chocolate in the bowl of a food processor. Process for approximately 10 seconds, just until nuts are roughly chopped.
- Place this mixture in a medium bowl. Add chia seeds, nut butter, honey and vanilla extract. Mix well with a large spoon or spatula.
- Refrigerate for about 15 minutes, then using a cookie scoop, roll the mixture into balls, but don't pack them tight yet. Roll each ball in the additional coconut and then pack them tightly, just until the coconut adheres well.
- Refrigerate the energy bites for one hour, then transfer to an airtight container where they will keep well in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze for up to a month.
- This recipe makes approximately 60 1-inch bites, or 30 2-inch bites.
Per 2-inch ball: Calories 70, Total fat 4.5g, Protein 4g, Carbs 7g, Sugars 2.9g.
Recipe loosely adapted from Some the Wiser as a base for initial measurements and ingredients.