Energy bites are my favorite snack. They are easy to make, healthy and avoids all the processed sugar, syrups and preservatives.
Before leaving Hannover, I rummaged through my cabinets to see what pantry goods I had left. Sad to leave Germany, I made gluten free snacks. Since we had to lug both cats back to the United States, I didn't want to pile our hand luggage with heavy food. So, I thought of something wintery and jingled the Kris Kringle spirit - caramel-based amaranth energy bites.
Something about the date caramel, chocolate, cranberry and pistachio combination sent my tastebuds to culinary heaven. I tried this with and without coconut. I prefer the coconut, but I know not everyone is a fan.
In Germany, puffed amaranth, quinoa and millet are as accessible as German beer. It's easy to find and it's everywhere. In the states, I have noticed that its hard to find. A big philosophy in my recipes is that I use ingredients that are easy to find 'cause lets face it, modern day living is tough and stressful. Nothing is worse than wanting to create a recipe, but having to search five grocery stores to find it after a long day at work. You can create magic with everyday ingredients and affordable pantry favorites.
So for my European friends, puffed amaranth is everywhere. For my fellow Americans, puffed amaranth is not on every shelf. But, its not difficult to puff. You can simply heat a dry pan (that has a lid) and place the amaranth on the pan. Close the lid, shake the pan for about 1 minute and once it pops remove from the heat. Wah la! But if you're short on time, choose oats :)
Oh and this recipe is a true budget-saver. I estimated to make 8 balls cost approximately 0.80-1.20 Euros. Seriously, good food is that cheap in Germany - how it should be everywhere in the world.
Vegan Caramel Energy Nut Bites
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 0 Minutes
Total Time: 10 Minutes
Waiting Time: 1-2 Hours
Makes 8 Balls
1/3 cupvegan caramel** (see note and recipe)
1/4 cup puffed amaranth (or puffed quinoa or rolled oats)
3 tbsp pistachios, chopped
3 tbsp dried cranberries
1 tbsp dark chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate from a bar)
1 tsp flax seed
1/2 tsp coconut shreds (omit if you do not like coconut)
Make the caramel by blending the dates and vanilla into the blender. You can add a smidge of nondairy milk but do not go overboard with the liquid. You want the mixture to be sticky. Prep the pistachios and mix all the ingredients (except the caramel) in a bowl. Next, add the caramel and mix. You may need your hands to cover the entire mixture. Once coated, grab about a spoonful worth and roll into a ball using your palms. You may need clean hands to help roll.
**Notes: Do not go overboard on the milk. Thus, you do not want liquid caramel. The runnier the caramel the balls will remain mushy and will not harden. It still tastes good but doesn't form like traditional energy balls. Keep the date mixture thicker. Alternatively, you can form into squares instead of balls.
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Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com