Happy Valentines Day bellpeppers!
Here’s the thing, I’m really happy for anyone out there who actually enjoys this holiday, gets to dress up go out on a nice date, or takes the day to appreciate their friends and family and all those wonderful people in your life that you love. That is great. For me- eh, I’m not so into it. Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends and family and of course mr mish- but the whole parade of Valentines Day? The let-me-feel-bad-about-myself-because-I’m-single-and-I-dont-have-a-Valentine: Not really my thing.
What is my thing? Chocolate. It’s a cause I can get down for, except of course if it’s made by slave labor. Shocking fact, I realize. Most chocolate in the world is made by slave labor, which is why fair trade chocolate is actually pretty important.
But that is not this post. This post is chocolate and peanut butter and coconut and flax and sesame seeds and oats and honey and dates- this post is zen balls. Popularized by E Street Cafe in Encinitas (the loveliest little coffee shop in downtown Encinitas) and a new staple in my house, for sure.
These balls are nutty, wholesome, just a hint of sweet and can be left in the freezer until you’re ready to serve them. Feeling zen already? I thought so. I used to make a version of chocolate-coconut balls back in India, but they were more crushed cookies with chocolate, then this more nutritious version. I love these, because they are clearly dessert but you don’t really need to feel guilty about it afterwards.
And let’s be real. You don’t want to feel guilty while you are watching episode after episode of House of Cards and eating copious amounts of zen balls- oh wait, that’s not your Friday night plans? Well, it certainly is mine.
Chocolate-Coconut Zen Ball Recipe
In a perfect world I would have added carob nibs, pecans, and walnuts. Point being, if you have different seeds or nuts in the house- this recipe is very forgiving and can be substituted for other things. And if coconut is not your thing- just skip it! Be sure to add in another dry ingredient in its place.
- 2 tbsp flax seeds
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp cacao powder
- 1/2 cup peanut butter (or any nut butter you prefer)
- 1 cup dates
- 1/2 desiccated coconut
- 1 tbsp honey (you can use Agave or maple syrup to make it vegan)
- 1/2 Kamut
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- a few dashes of cinnamon
- dash of salt
- 1/4 cup of desiccated coconut to roll the balls in
Fill a bowl with the dates and boiling water and let sit while you add in all the other ingredients into a large bowl. You want to dates to be soft and mushy so it can become a binder.
In a separate bowl add the kamut and pour a bit of water onto it, but not covering. The water will quickly be absorbed and the kamut will crumble easily.
Add the sesame, flax, cacao powder, peanut butter, coconut, and honey into a bowl. Drain the dated, chop them up and add into large bowl. Add in the crumbled kamut and the rolled oats. Throw in a few dashes of cinnamon and a sprinkle of salt.
Mix together all ingredients with a spoon so that all the ingredients are well incorporated and you have a bowl full of brown mush (delicious!).
With you hands start picking up bits of the “dough” and roll into 1″ inch balls. Have a plate with the extra desiccated coconut near you to roll the balls in. Set aside on a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
Once you’ve gone through all the “dough” and made your balls, you can place them in the freezer to harden. I left it overnight since I did this super last minute, but 2 hours should be enough. If your pressed for time, they will still be delicious no matter how hard they are.
Wow, hard balls. I went there.
Happy lovey dovey day bellpeppers!