Food bloggers are mad for these raw, vegan, sugar-free and dairy-free treats, but are they actually worth bothering with?
Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you'll probably know that raw food is very much the diet du jour. We need look no further than the likes of all the clean-living blogs popping up to realise that cooking is something a lot of people are trying to avoid nowadays. And it's not down to laziness, either. It's because some people think that raw food is better for our bodies.
Frankly, we can't ever imagine giving up cooking, not least because it would give us a lot less to write about. But these so-called energy balls seem to be one of the most blogged-about 'treats' to come out of the raw food movement.
They look tempting and chocolatey all right, but do they really taste any good? And are they as simple to make as they look? We gave it a go.
1. Gather your ingredients
We did a bit of a Google and came across all kinds of variations on what people put in their balls, including everything from spirulina to lemon zest. We ended up improvising with a combination of the most commonly used ingredients and what we could get our hands on.
To make 22 balls:
- 1 and a half medium-sized mug of ground nuts
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 medium-sized mug of dates
- 1 tbsp of coconut oil
- 1 tbsp of raw cacao powder
- 1 small bowl of desiccated coconut
2. Pit the dates
Don't worry, this is a hundred times less painstaking than pitting most other things because the flesh has already detached itself from the stone during its drying-out phase.
3. Put all of your ingredients in a food processor
And whizz until it's combined. You'll end up with a course Nutella-with-bits type of texture (at this point it's worth managing your expectations by reminding yourself that this is not Nutella, but you can learn how to make it Homemade Tries-style here).
4. Roll into bite-sized balls
The verdict …
They're not quite as indulgent-tasting as a real chocolatey treat – that's to be expected – but these are a pretty good imitation. Dates are a clever way to add sweetness and the ground nuts add a pleasing crunch. As for the 'energy' bit? No idea. They're amazingly quick and easy-to-make, and yes, we'd make them again. And most likely finish them off in one sitting.