Folks, I’ve made a decision. The rest of the month of January is going to be dedicated to finding balance. I started last week with my Coconut Mango Chocolate Granola, and now, it must continue. After looking at the recent additions to my baking bucket list, I realized that they all had something in common: they were all geared toward getting me back on track. After what seems like months of eating everything I could get my hands on, recovery is taking me a little while. But, damn, having a bit of self control these days feels good! So, I’m going to keep this roll going as long as I can!
Since the day after Christmas, I’ve been so good, guys. I’ve eaten on a schedule, portioned my foods, and cut back on sweets. But, there is one monster in my closet that I’ve yet to touch since cleaning up my diet. Peanut butter. This stuff is quite literally my kryptonite. I swear, once I have a single spoonful, the jar tends to lose half of it’s volume…magically! Now, here’s the thing…peanut butter is actually fantastic for you. It has a good amount of healthy fat, and a ton of protein. It’s wonderful for you that is, if you eat versions of it made without all the added unpronounceable gunk, and if you eat it in moderation. I just have a hard time with that last part.
In order to stare the peanut-buttery monster in the eye this week, I decided to tackle it in a healthy way. A healthy way, that only allows me to eat a bit of it at a time. These PB&J Energy Balls have been the perfect solution. Bite sized, packed with nutrient dense ingredients, with just a touch of the dangerous stuff.
To make these guys, you only need a couple of ingredients. Dates, peanuts, almonds, peanut butter, and dried berries…that’s it! As far as equipment goes, you’ll need a high powered food processor.
Let’s start with the peanut butter! Into your food processor, put a half cup of dates, peanuts and peanut butter. I decided to start with pre-chopped dates, in interest of preserving the motor power of my little processor. Starting with whole pitted dates would work great as well. You’ll process these until all of the components are broken down and are starting to form into a “dough” ball. This will take about 1-2 minutes. If you notice, after that, that the ball isn’t forming, try adding in a teaspoon of water in at a time, until it comes together. Put that mixture into a bowl and set to the side.
For me, this is where the story gets interesting. Here’s a disclaimer for you. Due to my food processor, these balls did not turn out like they were supposed to. I planned on doing the same thing as above with my jelly ingredients (blueberries, almonds and dates), so that I would have two different flavored doughs that I would later clump together. BUT, because my processor was a bit too weak for the job, I ended up with a peanut butter dough and a mixture of chopped blueberries, almonds and dates. And, a smoky processor. (RIP Polly the Processor…)
You know what…thank God for weak processors! Because, honestly, I like my improvised version better! Stick with me here!
With your jelly ingredients, use a chef’s knife to chop them roughly. Or, you can still use a food processor, but only pulse until you have a rough chop. You’ll end up having what looks like a trail mix.
Take a tablespoon of the peanut butter mixture and flatten it in your hand. Place about a teaspoon worth of chopped jelly into the middle, and then use another tablespoon of peanut butter dough to create a ball. Repeat until you are dough-less! If you’re feeling fancy, melt a bit of extra peanut butter and drizzle it over the top.
There you have it folks! Another perfect balance between clean eating and indulgence. With a peanut-buttery twist! These mistaken versions turned out to be better than I could have hoped for. Instead of a smooth texture throughout, tasters will get a bit of a sweet and crunchy surprise in the middle.
Next week, we’ll continue the balancing act with another seemingly indulgent but clean treat. Until then, stay tuned and stay hungry!
- 1/2 cup pitted dates
- 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
- 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1/4 cup pitted dates
- 1/4 cup dried berries
- 1/4 cup almonds
- For the peanut butter dough, place the ingredients in a food processor. Process until the mixture forms into a “dough” ball, about 1-2 minutes.
- For the jelly filling, combine the dates, berries and nuts and roughly chop them either by hand or with a food processor.
- To assemble, flatten a tablespoon of peanut butter dough in the palm of your hand. Place about a teaspoon of chopped jelly pieces into the center and then, use an additional tablespoon of dough to create a ball.
- Refrigerate energy balls for up to 2 weeks.