Everyone knows about my sweet tooth, especially for chocolate! Growing up, I couldn’t wait to finish dinner to get to the real part of the meal, which typically consisted of Chips Ahoy or Breyers Ice Cream. Thankfully, I learned how to decrease my cravings for those chemically loaded items replacing them with sweet, yet nutritionally sound treats! These little gems have been my lifesaver when I want that little piece of sweet chocolate ….minus the guilt. Not to mention, who can resist making something called raw balls!
By replacing sugar with maple syrup and dates, the sweetness is still very much present and you add in several health benefits. Maple syrup is around three times as sweet as regular sugar with fewer calories, has a lower glycemic index, making it an ideal sweetener for those who suffer from diabetes. Dates are loaded with fiber — both soluble and insoluble — They are an excellent source of potassium and provide numerous other important vitamins and minerals.
1c walnuts 1c pitted dates* (see note)
1c raw carob powder
1/2c maple syrup (I do 1/4c or none at all!)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp fine sea salt (optional)
1c whole almonds
1c almond butter ( I used 1/2 peanut and 1/2 almond butter)
Topping of choice: cocoa, shredded coconut, cinnamon, nuts etc.)
Place the walnuts in a food processor and process until coarsely ground. Add the dates, and pulse until well combined with the nuts. Add the carob powder, syrup, vanilla extract, and salt. Process until mixture is thick and smooth. Add the almonds, and pulse a few times until combined; you want them to remain in crunchy chunks.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in almond butter. Form the mixture into golf-ball-size balls with your hands. Roll the balls in the topping of your choice. Place in a sealed container in the freezer until hardened. Store for up to 2 weeks.