Nope—there’s actually no peanut butter or jelly in these bite-size "PB&J" energy balls, but their nutty crunch and sweet strawberry flavor never fail to bring back fond memories of munching on my favorite after-school snack. In fact, I created this recipe for our latest cookbook, Ready or Not!, because I wanted a portable and crave-worthy bite that’s easily made in a flash. (If you don’t already own a copy of our second cookbook, what are you waiting for? Buy one here!)
Unlike the PB&J sandwiches I used to make for myself, these homemade treats are made with just nuts and fruit (and a pinch of salt). So when you need a pick-me-up after a long run, a hard workout, or an afternoon of gardening like a maniac, just pop a ball or two in your mouth, and I guarantee you’ll feel like a kid again. And yes, your kids will love them, too!
1 cup (150 grams) pitted and chopped dried Medjool dates
Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted in a 300°F oven until golden, about 3 minutes
Pulse the freeze-dried strawberries in a food processor until it forms a powder. Let the pink dust settle.
Toss in the almonds. Pulse to roughly chop the almonds. Transfer the chopped almonds and strawberry powder to another bowl.
Throw the dates into the now-empty food processor bowl, and pulse a few times to roughly chop up the pieces. Then, pulverize the dates until they form a sticky ball that thwacks against the side of the work bowl. (If your dates are especially dry, you can add a few drops of water to get the right consistency.)
Add the strawberry powder, almonds, and a pinch of salt to the sticky date paste in the food processor bowl. Pulse a few times until combined. The result should be a dense mass that comes together as a nutty dough.
Pinch off about a tablespoon of the dough and roll it in your palms to form a smooth ball. Repeat ’til you’re out of dough.
Put the toasted shredded coconut in a shallow plate or a piece of parchment paper. Toss each of the balls into the coconut, making sure to coat the entire surface.
You can refrigerate your balls in a covered container for up to 1 week, or freeze ’em for up to a month.
Feel free to substitute another freeze-dried fruit of your choice for the strawberries to mix things up. I’ve had great success blitzing up these energy balls with freeze-dried blueberries and raspberries. Also, if your dates have been hanging out in your pantry for a while and are no longer super moist, add a few drops of water when you’re blending them together, and your balls will form beautifully!
CuisinePaleo, Gluten-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Energy Balls
Recipe by Nom Nom Paleo® at https://nomnompaleo.com/2017/10/16/pbj-energy-balls