No-bake Maple Walnut Energy Balls – sweet nutty little bites with the perfect blend of luscious maple syrup and rich, toasted walnuts. Are they a dessert, an addictive snack, or a nutritious energy boost? (Answer: They’re all three!)
I’m a kid with a new toy! It’s distracting me and I can’t stop playing with it.
I WON A NEW FOOD PROCESSOR! Yes, a beautiful, top-of-the-line food processor! A while ago I entered a draw for a giveaway at the Food Bloggers of Canada site. The draw for a sleek and powerful Breville Sous Chef 12 Plus was sponsored by California Cling Peaches and featured along with a recipe for a delicious Peach Frangipane Tart that had me drooling. (I’m going to make their Frozen Peach Pops next.) I entered the draw, never expecting to win. When I got the email a couple weeks ago announcing I’d won the food processor, you can bet there was a whole lotta unladylike whooping and screeching going on! I have been cussing and swearing at my worn-out old food processor for the last couple years already – it has trouble even grinding nuts or cooked beans. I have to stop multiple times to scrape down the sides and need to have the blade sharpened every year in order for it to kind of work.
I’ve been gone the last two weeks, to visit my mom and my mother-in-law, and got the call that the box with the new food processor arrived shortly after I left, so I’ve been chomping at the bit to try it out.
This is one beautiful machine. Since I got home Friday night I’ve been processing everything. I’ve been slicing, shredding, and grinding up a storm – sliced up veggies for slaws, pureed up a smooth hummus, whizzed up purees and sauces, and powered through several batches of thick gooey energy ball dough. Work that made my old processor groan and lag, the Breville whizzes up in seconds without even a hiccup in its powerful motor.
I think I’ve got a new friend in the kitchen. Too bad it doesn’t do the dishes, too.
I love making energy balls (see links at the bottom of this post for a selection of delicious flavours). They’re no-bake, no-fuss, easy little snacks that pack a powerful punch of fiber, nutrients, and healthy fats. I love that they’re a quick, portable bite.
The base for these maple walnut energy balls is rolled oats and toasted walnuts. Don’t skip the toasting step, as it amps up the flavour of the nuts so they are rich and . . . well . . . nutty. The kind of nutty that shouts from the rooftops. Dates add their luscious caramel notes and dance a tango with the sweet maple syrup. A touch of salt brings out the flavours, and a splash of vanilla marries it all together. Such simple flavours and so quintessentially Canadian.
Oats are a great source of soluble fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and walnuts are the king of the nuts, providing high levels of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats plus a host of other nutrients. And yes, even though the maple syrup in these little energy balls contains minerals and antioxidants, it is still a sugar. However, there’s less than a teaspoon of maple syrup in each ball. If you can find the dark, grade-B syrup, use that, as the maple flavour is much more concentrated and you can use less syrup to get the same great taste.
Pack a few maple walnut energy balls into a plastic container for work and travel, or set out a plateful, along with a few pieces of good chocolate and serve them with steaming espressos for a simple and elegant dessert.
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Kitchen Frau Notes: If you don’t have maple sugar to roll the balls in, leave them plain, or roll them in coconut sugar instead.
Also, don’t skip the salt – it heightens the caramel flavour of these little balls.
Make sure your walnuts are absolutely fresh (old walnuts can go rancid very quickly, and taste very bitter). Store walnuts in the freezer. Toast up a big batch of walnuts and you can use the extras for this simple breakfast of yogurt, honey, and toasted walnuts.
Energy balls freeze well (they even taste good straight from the freezer) and keep well for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
Maple Walnut Energy Balls
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan
- 2½ cups (250gms) walnuts
- 1¼ cups (125gms) rolled oats
- ½ cup (100gms) pitted medjool dates (about 6 dates)
- ¼ cup maple syrup (preferably B-grade dark amber syrup)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons maple sugar (or coconut sugar), optional
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
Spread the walnuts in a single layer onto a cookie sheet. Toast in the oven for 10 – 12 minutes until the nuts are golden and smell fragrant. Let cool. Remove ½ cup (50gms) of the nuts and chop them. Set aside.
In a food processor, grind the rolled oats to a coarse flour. Add the 2 cups of toasted walnuts, the dates, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and salt. Process until the mixture clumps together into a large ball. Add the ½ cup of chopped walnuts and pulse a couple times just until the nuts are incorporated into the dough.
Scoop up about 1½ tablespoons of dough at a time, and press it into a clump, then roll into balls about 1¼ inches (3cm) in diameter. (You can also make the balls smaller, using 1 tablespoon of dough and roll them into 1 inch balls.) Your hands will get oily from the walnuts releasing their oils as you work the dough.
Leave the maple walnut energy balls plain, or roll them in the maple sugar if desired.
Makes 20 energy balls (or 30 small ones). Can be frozen for up to six months or stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks in a sealed container.
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You might also like these other delicious energy balls:
Chocaholics rejoice – intense chocolate bites to satisfy those cravings: Chocolate Walnut Cookie Dough Balls ↓
A warm spicy bite with a cashew nut base: Gingerbread Cookie Dough Balls ↓
Fun and fruity, you can call them Dinosaur Eggs because of their crunchy chia seed coating: Apricot Orange Energy Balls ↓
These are so tangy and delicious: Lime and Matcha Green Tea Energy Balls ↓