Cocoa-Kissed Chia Energy Bombs

I’m always looking for healthy portable snacks and bite-sized goodies I can take with me when I’m on-the-go. With candy and treats surrounding me ALL DAY at work, it’s nice to bring something sweet to munch on so I don’t give in to all the tempting yet processed stuff staring at me in the face when my afternoon sweet tooth hits 🙂

cocoa kissed chia energy bombs

You know, that chocolate monster that just won’t go away unless you feed it a little something? Some people have will power…I just trick my taste buds instead!

These no-bake energy bombs are the perfect homemade snack or treat and can be adapted to your liking! Add your favorite dried fruit, chopped nuts, shredded coconut, nut or seed butter or even mini chocolate chips or unsweetened carob chips for a little more decadence! If chocolate isn’t your thing, you could even omit the cocoa powder for a “blond” version.

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Cocoa-Kissed Chia Energy Bombs
Gluten-free, Egg-free, No-Bake, Dairy-Free, Vegan Option, Nut-free Option 

Ingredients

3/4 cup gluten free oats (I used Bob Red Mills) — could even try quinoa flakes for a change!
5 Tbsp ground flaxseed (I grind mine in my Magic Bullet using the “S” blade)*
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (I used finely shredded but regular works too)**
1 Tbsp unsweetened raw cacao or cocoa powder
1 Tbsp black or white chia seeds
rounded 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (can omit but I love the flavor and health benefits of cinnamon)
4 Tbsp honey, agave or maple syrup (do not use honey if strict vegan)***
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp creamy or chunky peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter or sunflower seed butter (use sunflower seed butter for nut-free)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Add-ins (Optional)
1/4 cup chocolate chips, raisins, dried cranberries, chopped dried fruit, cacao nibs, chopped nuts/seeds
or even add in your favorite extracts or spices

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
2. In a large bowl, combine all wet ingredients. Next, add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until wet combined.
3. Chill for 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator. Use a spoon or your hands and scoop into rounded tablespoons then rolls into balls. Store in a container in the fridge and enjoy!

Makes 14-16 energy bombs (unless you eat the dough like me!)

*If you don’t have flaxseed, you could probably sub the flaxseed meal with a nut meal like almond flour or even a protein powder for added protein (if you try this let me know this works, I like the added fiber and nutty flavor from the flax).

**I’ve made these sans-coconut as well, just increase the oats by a 1/3 cup

***You might be able to use date paste in this recipe but you may need a little more to help hold everything together, or increase the nut butter a bit…depending on the consistency of the date paste and nut butters. I use natural nut and seeds butters (just nuts/seeds and salt) so you may have to add a little more oats or sweetener to help hold the mixture together depending on the ingredients used. If it’s too crumbly, add more sweetener, if the mixture is too runny then add a bit more oats or flax.

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“Nutella” Ice Cream (Non-Dairy) – SRC

Today’s dessert recipe was inspired by Dorothy of Shockingly Delicious. I was assigned her blog this month for the Secret Recipe Club and was thrilled to have been introduced to her delectable recipes – and so many to choose from!

I decided on her Nutella Ice Cream, not only because it’s on her favorite’s list but because it spurred me to make my own homemade “Nutella” AND it gave me the urge to use my ice cream maker after 6 months of hibernation. There’s something about frozen desserts when it’s still cold outside that is still really appealing. Does anyone else still crave ice cream in the fall and winter?

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I altered Dorothy’s recipe to make it dairy free and refined sugar free. I decided to double all of the ingredients because I wanted more than just a pint…what can I say, I like dessert! I started off by making my own homemade Nutella. I also added a bit more cocoa for a greater chocolate kick (this could be due to my homemade version), subbed coconut nectar for sugar, and used Mimic Creme and almond milk in place of cow’s milk and heavy cream. For a little garnish, I also chopped up extra hazelnuts and tossed on cacao nibs for added texture…mmmm!

This recipe was chocolately, nutty, creamy and rich-tasting without the dairy and guilt 🙂 The perfect sweet ending to a long day!

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Chocolate Hazelnut aka  “Healthier Nutella” Ice Cream (inspired by Shockingly Delicious)
Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Vegan, Grain-free, Refined Sugar-Free

Ingredients 

1 1/2 cups unsweetened Mimic Creme* (could substitute canned coconut milk if preferred)
1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk or other non-dairy milk (chocolate, vanilla or plain all work here – I used vanilla)
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp chocolate hazelnut spread/”Healthy Nutella”**
6-8 Tbsp coconut nectar (or agave syrup) to taste (depends on how sweet you want your ice cream, remember when it gets cold it is less sweet!)
pinch of sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
optional: 1 rounded Tbsp unsweetened cacao or cocoa powder for extra chocolate boost

For garnish: chopped hazelnuts and chocolate chips or cacao nibs OR you could mix them into the ice cream maker toward the end if want them incorporated into the ice cream

Directions

1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend on low speed just until combined. This will take 15 or so seconds. Pour into container for electric ice cream maker and process until frozen, following manufacturer’s instructions for your machine. You may chill the mixture before processing if you like, but it is not necessary.
2. Eat immediately (it will be a soft-serve consistency, or scoop into a container and freeze for several hours to harden it further.

Makes 2 pints.

*For a creamier and richer ice cream, use all Mimic Creme or coconut milk instead of the non-dairy milk.

**If you are in a pinch and don’t have time to make your own homemade nut butter, you can find healthier versions of chocolate-hazelnut butters in health food stores if you want to go that route 🙂

nutella ice cream biteFor other recipes from the Secret Recipe Club posts today, click here!


Chocolate Hazelnut Spread aka Healthy Nutella

I am finally getting over 2 1/2 weeks of the “crud” going around, and the lingering cold has really put a dent in my cooking. Besides soups and on-the-go meals from our local health food store, I haven’t been inventive in many meals. However, this chocolate hazelnut spread pulled me out of the slump…it’s creamy, chocolately goodness and rich, nutty flavor made my taste buds sing and I knew I was on the track to recovery.

Oh, the healing powers of chocolate! But please, if you think that’s a bunch of bologna, I’d rather you keep it to yourself so I can keep on indulging 🙂

nutella 1I’m quite comfortable with making homemade nut butters (ie. nut butter madness post), yet it’s been a while since I posted a new flavor combination. I also realized I’ve never posted a chocolate nut butter….what???? It’s about time!

Hazelnuts + chocolate are a lovely combination…does Nutella ring a bell? I try and stay away from those processed ingredients and partially hydrogenated oils in actual Nutella, so why not whip up a batch of my own? Plus…homemade always tastes better. I won’t say it tastes exactly the same as Nutella but why would it when you are using real and healthy ingredients? 🙂

One word — deliciousness!

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Chocolate Hazelnut Spread aka “Healthy Nutella”
Gluten-free, Vegan, Refined Sugar-Free, Grain-free, Dairy-Free 

Ingredients 

2 1/2 cups raw hazelnuts
2 Tbsp coconut oil (or other neutral oil)
1/3 cup coconut milk (I used the canned variety)
5 Tbsp cup unsweetened cacao or cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut sugar (or other granulated sweetener)
2-3 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp pure stevia extract (or could increase the granulated sugar by 2-3 Tbsp)
a rounded 1/4 tsp sea salt or to taste

Directions 

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Add hazelnuts to a large baking sheet and roast for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned and some skins have loosened around the hazelnut.
3. Place the roasted nuts in the center of a damp kitchen towel (use an older towel or dark colored one). Bundle it up and rub the nuts for a couple minutes to loosen the skins. Pick out the “skinless” nuts and place into the bowl of a food processor. Repeat until most of the skins have come off and add the remaining nuts to the processor (it’s ok if there are stubborn ones that are difficult to remove).
4. Process the hazelnuts for 5-6 minutes or until you achieve a creamy nut butter. You may need to stop and scrape the sides of the bowl every couples minutes or so to help it along.
5. Add the oil and process for a minute or so until smooth.
6. Add the remaining ingredients and process again until fully incorporated and really smooth, this took me another 5 minutes. Taste the spread and adjust salt and sweeteners to taste if desired.

nutella scoop

Makes about 1 1/2 cups of nut butter. Store in jars or containers in the fridge.
Enjoy with a large spoon, spread on toast or use in your favorite recipes. “Nutella” Ice Cream (Dairy-free) coming soon!

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Raw Cacao-Coconut Fudge Bites (Vegan)

I hope everyone is enjoying (or surviving) the summer heat!

It’s hot here. Plus, there’s no air conditioning in my apartment so I refuse to turn on the oven in the middle of the day. I would much rather stick my head in the fridge…that might have something to do with the fact that these little squares are waiting for me 🙂

No bake, quick and oh-so-delicious — these dense little blocks satisfy not only my craving for chocolate but any decadent dessert or after-meal treat. They can also stand in as a speedy afternoon pick-me-up when you need a little burst of energy and/or to quench a midday sweet tooth.

Did I mention they are chock-full of healthy fats, fiber, protein and antioxidants (you gotta give it up for raw cacao!).

The base of these fudgy bites are homemade coconut butter (though a store bought version works here too) and your favorite nut or seed butter. Tailor these filling squares to your liking with various extracts, nut/seed butters and add-ins. The addition of dried fruit would be delicious – cherries, raisins, apricots, cranberries, goji berries, banana or dates would be delicious!

Raw Cacao-Coconut Fudge Bites

Ingredients

12 oz unsweetened shredded coconut (or about 1 1/2 cups coconut butter)
1/2 cup of your favorite nut or seed butter, or combo (I’ve used both almond and peanut butter)
1/3 – 1/2 cup raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder but would not be raw or even carob powder for caffeine-free)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla
3-4 Tbsp agave (honey or maple syrup can be subbed) and/or stevia or your favorite sweetener to taste
3 Tbsp flaxseed meal (ground flaxseeds but can be subbed for your
2 Tbsp chia seeds
optional: for a protein boost, add 2 scoops of good-tasting chocolate or vanilla protein powder (be sure you like the flavor!)
optional add-ins: 1/3 – 1/2 cup chocolate chips, chopped nuts and/or or dried fruit of choice

For sprinkling/garnish:
2 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
2 Tbsp raw cacao nibs

Directions

1. Line a large loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside (Can use small or large pan for different thickness).
2. In a food processor, add coconut and process for about 10 minutes or until the coconut turns into a butter. See my post here on to make homemade coconut butter.
3. Add in nut butter through sweetener and process for another minute until smooth (the more liquid sweetener used will result in more of a fudgy texture)
4. Add in flaxseed meal, chia seeds and protein powder (if using) and process for 30 seconds. Stir in add-ins at this time, if using.
5. Pour into prepared pan and refrigerate until hardened, about 30 minutes. Cut into squares/blocks and enjoy!

Makes 20-30 squares (depending on size)

Tip: I put these in the freezer to harden and tried to cut them and they didn’t cut as easily. I think hardening in the refrigerator next time would be my preference, but I was impatient 🙂