Okay, I'm just going to say it...I really dislike creating a great snack and then naming them, well, balls. And I'll just leave it at that.
These snacks are kind of like candy...they're super sweet thanks to the dates and have some texture because of the addition of both sunflower and chia seeds as well as walnuts. Dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with toasted coconut, it just doesn't get much better!
I really like it when a snack tastes like it should be super guilty but it actually good for you. These are completely free of added sugar, sweetened just from the medjool dates and supply good things like Omega-3 fatty acids from the walnuts and chia seeds and then you get an antioxidant shot from the chocolate coating. I made these into golf ball-sized snacks, so yeah, they are a bit calorie heavy but these are good calories. If you're going to have a splurge-worthy snack, these are the kind of calories you want and need! Yes, it's hard to hear but all calories are not created equally. But these snacks are healthy enough to have one or two and feel no guilt and they're sweet enough, chocolatey enough and rich enough (no, this isn't word a play on Beast of Burden, ha!) that you won't need anymore. Although you might be tempted...
Chocolate Coconut Date and Seed Balls
(Prep Time: 15 minutes Freeze Time: 20 minutes Yield: About 12 golf-ball-sized snacks)
3 tbs unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 heaping cups medjool dates, pitted
2 Tbs coconut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup walnuts
2 tbs sunflower seeds
1 tbs chia seeds (I used black but white would be fine)
1/4 cup plus 1 tbs plant-based chocolate chips, divided (I use Enjoy Life semi-sweet mini morsels)
3/4 tbs coconut oil
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread the coconut onto a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 8-10 minutes, watching carefully so it doesn't burn. You want it nicely toasted. Allow to cool slightly. Line another baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. While the coconut is toasting, place the dates, 2 tbs coconut oil, vanilla and salt into a food processor and process until a paste has formed and there are no chunks of dates left.
3. Add the walnuts, sunflower seeds and chia seeds and pulse. You want them incorporated but you also still want some texture. I usually pulse 4-5 times for a few seconds. Add one tbs chocolate chips and incorporate with your hands.
4. Shape into 12-13 balls and place on the parchment lined baking sheet. Place in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
5. While the balls are setting, heat the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips and 3/4 tbs coconut oil in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat until melted and smooth.
6. Using a fork, roll each ball in the melted chocolate to coat and place back on the baking sheet. Sprinkle each ball with toasted coconut before the chocolate begins setting. I dip and sprinkle one ball at a time. Return to the freezer for another 10 minutes. The chocolate will start to melt almost immediately at room temperature so I store these in the freezer for up to 3 weeks, although they'll likely not last that long!