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dates

Baking

Energy Balls with Chocolate and Peanut Butter

separate piles of ingredients for chocolate peanut butter energy balls

One of my favourite times of the day is when I sit down and have a cup of tea and a snack, flipping through a new food magazine with the sun shining through the windows. Just heaven to me. For me, a snack could be anything from fruit salad to a bowl of yogurt or a muffin or a cookie, as long as it’s healthy. I love a good cup of tea, but to me, it’s not the same without something to nibble on. That’s why I like these Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls so much. Made with nut butter, dried berries, coconut flakes and just enough chocolate chips to make you want more – they are very very good.

Energy Balls became popular a couple of years ago. They are jam-packed with dried fruit, nuts, raw honey or maple syrup and nut butters. They are easy to make partly because you don’t even have to turn the oven on. So, you can make them any day of the year and not worry about heating up your kitchen. They are excellent power foods. So easy to take on a long hike, a bike ride or even to the beach. And who doesn’t need a snack with any of those activities.

In this recipe, you can use smooth peanut butter or chunky peanut butter. I still add chopped peanuts even when I use chunky peanut butter. Or you could use natural peanut butter as well. You could also use almond butter with chopped almonds if you wanted to change it up a bit.

ingredients for chocolate peanut butter energy balls

Put all the chopped and measured ingredients into a big bowl and give it a stir. Make a wish too if you like, too.

ingredients for peanut butter energy balls in a bowl

Stir everything together with a big wooden spoon until everything is fully mixed together.

chocolate peanut butter energy balls on a wooden board

Then roll them into balls. Easy peasy. I store mine in the fridge, so the chocolate doesn’t melt on me. They keep for ages, but will undoubtedly get eaten up before you know it.

I love energy balls for all sorts of reasons: they’re portable, the combination of dried fruits and nuts is so divine, and because they’re small. You can have one or you can have two and you don’t feel like you’ve broken the bank of your daily calories.

I’m not going to pretend that they are are superfoods and will improve your health in anyway. Although I do believe that they are better than snacking on chips or a chocolate bar. They’re also quick to make, taste delicious and they hit the spot when I need an energy boost.

Can’t wait to put the kettle on, pull out my latest food magazine and have a snack.

Try making some today. I’m sure you’ll enjoy them. Let me know how they turn out.

Energy Balls with Chocolate and Peanut Butter

Print Recipe
Serves: 16 Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1/2 cup chopped chocolate chips (milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate will do)
  • 1/2 cup dates (or mixed dried berries or chopped raisins).
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

Instructions

1

Chop the peanuts and the dates or dried fruit. Energy balls form better when the individual ingredients are rather small.

2

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.

3

Stir very well, so that everything is well incorporated.

4

Divide dough into 30 gram pieces. You should be able to make about 16 balls.

5

Roll each 30 gram piece into a nice round ball.

6

Place in a container.

7

Store in the fridge.

8

Enjoy!

Baking

My Mum’s Best Ever Date Squares

date squares on wood cutting board

To celebrate Mother’s Day, Melissa of the food blog breadandwords and I are teaming up together again. We are featuring recipes that our mothers made when we were young: Melissa’s Mom’s Traditional Argentinian Empanadas and my Mum’s Date Squares.

If you love empanadas, head over to breadandwords, to read about her Mom’s traditional Argentinian Empanadas. I am definitely making some of those soon.

My Mum’s Date Squares were one of my family’s favourite desserts when I was little. They were the best ever. The flavours of soft dates, a caramelized bottom and a crumbly oat and sugar topping is superb. With six of us in the family they never lasted long in our house.

date squares on wood cutting board

These date squares are quite sweet and not overly buttery. The lengthy baking time caramelizes the brown sugar in the bottom layer which makes it chewy while the top layer remains crumbly. We always loved my mom’s date squares.

woman on ship

Mum inspired all of us in various ways. It was my her sense of adventure, I think, that always inspired me. She came to Canada 70 years ago, on January 17, 1949. She had bought a one-way ticket from England arriving at Pier 21, Halifax, Nova Scotia on a bright, sunny, wickedly cold day. At 28 years years old, and next to no money in her pocket, she was excited, free and full of adventure.

My Mum was always good at making the best of things.  She grew up without a Mum and with a very stern father. You can read more about her upbringing here, with her bread recipe that I posted on the 100th Anniversary of her birth. I often wonder how she matured into such a happy adventure-seeking woman. But that she did.

Her two favourite past times were quiet, solitary activities: baking and reading. Reading was an activity she enjoyed ever since she was small.  She loved to tell us the tale about hiding out in an apple tree, eating a large juicy apple and reading a book, while her Aunt hollered for her to come help with the chores. (She actually did really like that Aunt, she was just tired of chores that day).

My Mum’s other favourite past time was baking. Her favourite recipes either came from friends, my dad’s relatives or British recipes she clipped out of the newspaper. She would have loved Instagram.

If Mum could read and bake at the same time she was the happiest. I think she liked making date squares more than anything else because she could do her two favourite activities simultaneously.

typed recipe card

recipe card

date squares on wood cutting board

I’m very fortunate that my Mum wrote down all the family’s favourite baking recipes. So it’s very easy for me to recreate them, although, I’m sure nothing is ever as good as when your Mum makes something for you.

While I was making these dates squares, I could distinctly remember how my Mum made them. After each step in the recipe she would curl up on the sofa to read while the dates cooked away on the stove, read some more as they cooled down in the pan and then read a little bit more as they baked in the oven. I think she had secret magical baking powers because she never used a timer but also never burnt the date squares. Or maybe each step took just as long as reading a chapter in her book.

date squares on wood cutting board

Enjoy!

Mum's Date Squares

Print Recipe
Serves: 16 Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dates (approx. 450 grams)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup cold butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups oats

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 350 ℉.

2

Chop the dates roughly. Put the dates and brown sugar into a pot and add about 1 cup of water. Cook on a lowish heat until the dates are soft and spreadable. This should take about 10-15 minutes.

3

Place the flour in a food processor, add small cubes of cold butter and pulse about 10-15 times until butter mixture has fine lumps throughout. Place in a bowl and then add brown sugar and oats.

4

Spread half of the dry mixture in the bottom of an 8 inch baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Gently spread date mixture on top. Sprinkle oat mixture on top.

5

Bake in a 350° F oven for 30 minutes, or until golden on top.

6

Let the squares cool down in the pan for about 30 minutes or more before serving.