Whenever I hear gingerbread, I think Christmas time- holiday lights, carols, and all the festive goodies like peppermint and gingerbread. Package deal. These treats will definitely make put you in a festive spirit! However, what I love about this treat is that it they are so tasty they can be made year around!
This recipe was prompted by a craving for gingerbread cookies. However, I was just getting home from vacation and decided to take the healthier route- so gingerbread energy balls to the rescue! I love that these gingerbread energy bites satisfy my sweet tooth craving, yet don’t have a lot of added sugars. Also, they are a great on the go snack! They are perfect as an easy breakfast, mid-day snack, or dessert after dinner time.
What do I love most? They were easy! These can be made in less than an hour!
Everything you need to know about making these healthy treats:
The first time I ever made energy bites with dates, I was a little bit intimidated. The recipe said to soak the dates, it involved a food processor and random ingredients that I didn’t typically purchase. For some reason, the thought of soaking dates seemed way overly complicated. If you’re in this boat, hang with me! I promise they are easy to make and really not that hard.
Do I need to soak dates before making the energy balls?
Soaking dates is really important because it helps to soften the dates so that they are easier to puree. There are two types of dates available for purchase – hard or soft. The hard dates can take up to an hour to soak, whereas the soft dates only take 10 minutes.
How do I soak the dates?
Easy. Place water in a microwavable container. I usually use about twice amount of water as to dates being used. Heat water until barely boiling. Place dates in the water, and soak for recommended amount of time. This recipe calls for soft dates, so they would only have to soak for about 10 minutes. If you prefer to do this over the stove top, heat water in a sauce pan and bring to boil, remove from heat and add dates. Once the dates have soaked in water for the recommended amount of time, drain the water via a strainer.
How to roll into the perfect ball
If I’m giving these energy balls to friends or family, I like to spend a little bit more time working on the presentations of these treats. There are 2 secrets to rolling the perfect ball every time:
- Secret #1: Use a cookie scoop. The cookie scoop is essential for making perfectly symmetrical balls. Fill the cookie scoop, scrape on the edge of the bowl to level and the end result is the same size energy balls. This is the cookie dough scoop that I love to use!
- Secret #2: Roll the treats into a ball shape using hands, freeze for 10 minutes and roll them again into a nicer ball.
Freezing the balls for 10 minutes will help them hold their shape better. When you go to roll them again, you are able to form a nicer, more even shape.
Short on time and don’t want to roll every piece? Make them into bars! Evenly spread the dough into a greased 8×8 inch baking pan. Refrigerate for an hour, cut into square and serve!
Can I freeze energy balls?
These gingerbread energy balls hold up well in the freezer. Wrap in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 2 months. They also taste good if eaten from frozen- I usually take them out of the freezer, let them sit for about 10 minutes, and then devour!
Are energy bites really healthy?
There are a couple healthy benefits to these energy bites:
- The sugar comes from more natural sources, including molasses and dates. This means they are not loaded with extra sugar, unlike a lot of “energy bars”.
- These treats contain oatmeal, which is a good source of fiber. Fiber has a positive effect on your overall digestive track.
- Molasses is antioxidant. This means that is healthy for your body and has a lot of good health benefits.
- They won’t give you a sugar high and crash, which is often true of soda, candy or other high sugar items. The fiber in these energy bites helps create sustainable energy and make you feel full for longer.
Let’s make some gingerbread energy balls
I chose to use the microwave method. Fill a large measuring cup with 2 cups water. Heat in the microwave for 3 minutes, or until just boiling. Add dates and soak for 10 minutes. While waiting for the dates to soak, move on to the next step.
Combine dry ingredients in a food processor. I use & love this Food Processor. It’s inexpensive, durable (I’ve had it for 2 years now!) and easy to store since it’s so small.
Combine oatmeal, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and chopped walnuts. Puree until resembles a fine powder. Remove from food processor and set aside.
Drain dates from water they are soaking in. Add dates, molasses and syrup to the food processor. Puree until smooth. If you find the dates are not pureeing well, remove lid, scrape down the edges with a rubber spatula and puree again. Repeat as needed. Use the pulse button intermittently with the puree button to get a better mixture.
Add the dry mixture back into the food processor with the dates. Puree until well mixed.
Scoop mixture into individual balls using a cookie scoop or rounded tablespoon. Roll into balls. Freeze for 10 minutes, and re-roll balls to achieve a more uniform shape. Enjoy!!
- 1 cup dried dates whole and pitted
- 1 cup old fashioned oatmeal (alternative: gluten free oatmeal)
- 2.5 tbsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup walnut pieces
- 1 tbsp molasses
- 1 tbsp syrup
- Heat 2 cups of water until boiling. Add dates, remove from heat. Soak for 15 minutes.
- While dates are soaking, combine all dry ingredients in the food processor (oatmeal, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and walnuts).
- Pulse until the mixture resembles a powder. Remove from food processor and set aside.
- Once dates are finished soaking, drain excess water. Add dates, molasses and syrup to food processor.
- Puree until blended evenly, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
- Scoop onto tray using a cooking scoop or tablespoon.
- Roll into balls, refrigerate 1 hour prior to serving. Enjoy!