I have a thing for dark chocolate. I’ve been pretty vocal lately about the fact that I’m trying to change this after-dinner habit. It’s not that it’s a bad habit, per se. It’s just that one tiny piece of dark chocolate before bed can easily turn into two or three… or four… generously portioned pieces of dark chocolate, especially when one is caught up in a Downton Abbey marathon.
And anyway, I’m focusing on alkalizing greens and nutrient-dense plant proteins right now.
Still, old habits don’t die. They lie dormant until you’re feeling tired or have depleted all your willpower reserves for the day, and then they reappear in the form of intense nighttime chocolate cravings.
Some nights I have the most delicious chocolate tea, sent to me by my friend Jason to help in my habit transformation. Side note: surprising someone with a high quality tea is one of the nicest things you can do, especially if it’s someone who wouldn’t purchase nice tea for herself. If you are my friend, I will probably send you tea at some point, because it made me so happy when Jason sent tea to me. End side note.
Other nights, though, I just really want chocolate. Sometimes, nothing else will do. So I’ve started making cacao balls.
I’ve made a few different versions of these now, but the concoction I came up with today is my favorite because I was able to pack in some serious nutrients without losing the dessert-like quality. That said, these balls are full of energizing maca, making them a good midday snack too. Or pre-workout fuel. Or post-workout snack. Or breakfast, I suppose. I will eat chocolate anytime, obviously.
I’ve incorporated my ball-making into my new Sunday nut butter-making routine. Once the nut butter’s made, I leave a bit in the food processor, and it forms the base of the balls. From there, assembly is almost too easy.
If you want to go for simple and decadent, stick with dates, nuts, and cacao. But if you want to up the health factor of your chocolatey treat, get crazy. In addition to maca, I added a whole lot of hemp hearts to this batch.
Makes 46 balls
- 8 medjool dates, pitted
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- 3/4 cup raw cashews
- 1/4 cup hemp hearts
- 2 tablespoons cacao powder
- 2 tablespoons maca powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine ingredients in a food processor and process until they form a somewhat sticky dough. If it still seems a little crumbly, that’s okay. Using a teaspoon, scoop out spoonfuls of the dough and shape them into balls with your hands. Set the balls on the plate and let them sit in the fridge or freezer for an hour or two. Transfer to a glass container and store in the fridge for up to 10 days.