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Cashew Coconut and Chocolate Truffle Power Balls

These little guys make for wonderful desserts, perfect for hikes, and a great pick-me-up snack. In this lesson you’ll learn what makes these treats oh-so-delicious and several ways you can change them up. You also get to learn all about nuts, how to best pick them out, and why they make for a happy heart.

Cashew Coconut OR Chocolate Truffle Power Balls

These little guys are packed with flavor and energy. If you would like to serve them as dessert then you might choose to leave the protein powder out. I like to have the protein powder in them for a more balanced snack when I hike or travel. The brown rice is optional, it adds more substance to the balls and cuts down on the sweetness. It is nice to have recipes for desserts and snacks that utilize the inherent sweetness in fruits rather than adding refined sugar.

Yields 16 to 18, 1-inch balls | Preparation time: 10 minutes

2/3 cup pitted, fresh dates, packed (you may need to add more if the balls do not hold together)
2/3 cup cashew pieces (I prefer the roasted, salted variety) OR hazelnuts
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (leave out if you use salted nuts)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I typically use cinnamon only with the chocolate truffle balls)
1/4 cup shredded coconut OR 1/4 cup unsweetened cacao powder
Optional: ¼ cup protein powder

In a food processor, pulse the dates, nuts (either cashews or hazelnuts), salt, cinnamon and either ¼ cup cacao OR ¼ cup shredded coconut until the ingredients are well mixed with little bits of nuts visible. If you would like to add rice or protein powder, do so at the same time as the dates and nuts. Roll into small balls about ¾ to 1 inch in diameter. If they are not holding together, add more dates. If you like, you may roll the balls in either shredded coconut or cacao powder to coat the outside. Serve these as dessert “truffles” or put into a hard container with a lid for travel or hiking. They also freeze well in baggies.