Allow me to introduce you to my cute “dates” for Valentine’s Day.
They’re sweet, they’re charming, they are nice and healthy, and they come bearing chocolate — a must for any Valentine’s Day, if you ask me. ;)
Yep, I made you some Almond Joy Energy Bites! I realized we were long overdue on here for a new energy bites recipe. And since chocolate seems to be on everyone’s minds this week, I thought it might be nice to have a healthier chocolate recipe that you could turn to for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack time, or — yes — dessert.
As opposed to actual Almond Joy bars, these little bites are made with all natural, healthy ingredients. And they are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free. And they are made with one of my favorite natural sweeteners — my Valentine’s “dates”, Medjool dates.
I’m pretty positive you are going to fall in love.
I’ve long been a fan of traditional Almond Joy bars, but have never been stoked about all of the corn syrup they use to sweeten them. So for these Almond Joy energy bites, I turned to one of my favorite natural sweeteners — Medjool dates!
I’m actually such a fan of dates that I’m taking over the Natural Delights Medjool Dates Facebook page this week, and talking about all things “dates” with their readers. (If you’re free today at noon CST, hop over and come join for a Q&A about dates, where I’ll be answering reader questions!)
But it’s true — I discovered the joy of dates as a natural sweetener when I first began cooking, and have used them for cooking (and snacking!) countless times since. When it comes to finding a natural sweetener that’s healthy, widely-available, affordable, sticky (especially good for energy bites), and full of delicious sweet flavor, dates win the gold star in my book. Especially Medjool dates.
For years, I have to admit that I didn’t know there were different kinds of dates out there. But then some friends introduced me to Medjools, and I fell in love. They are larger than most other dates, sweeter, really soft (not try), and crazy good. They literally taste like candy to me! But they are also an awesome choice for a natural sweetener with cooking and baking. They are easy to use, and they don’t give you the energy crash that comes from eating regular sugar. Win-win, if you ask me.
So it comes as no surprise that the Medjool dates rocked it in this Almond Joy Energy Bites recipe. All of the ingredients came together perfectly in this recipe, and so easily too! You literally just dump everything together in a food processor (or a strong blender) and let it do the work. Then you can either shape the mixture into little energy bites or energy bars. Here’s the how-to:
Begin with — yes — your dates. I used Medjool dates for this recipe, which I pitted by hand. (Although you can buy them pitted as well.) Then I popped them in the food processor, along with the remaining ingredients.
And then I let the food processor do the work. You’ll need to process the mixture for at least 2-3 minutes so that the almonds can grind up to form a sort of sticky almond butter. Otherwise, they may not stick together as well.
You’ll know the mixture is ready when it moves past the crumbly stage and begins to clump to the sides of the food processor. I then turned the mixture out into a bowl, and molded it into a big ball for easy scooping.
Use a spoon or a cookie scoop (I used a small 1-tablespoon scoop) to help form your desired size of energy bites. You can either roll them plain like this…
…or immediately roll them in coconut flakes for extra coconut-yness. (Just be sure to roll them immediately or else the coconut will not stick.)
I made a mixture of coconut-covered energy bites, and just regular ol’ energy bites. And then I thoroughly enjoyed eating them ALL.
Most of the time, I enjoy these as a pre- or post-workout snack (part of my motivation for working out!). But they are also perfect for breakfast or even dessert. Or Valentine’s Day. ;)
These Almond Joy Energy Bites taste like the candy bar we all love, but are made with healthier ingredients and sweetened with dates.
12 oz. (about 2 cups, loosely-packed) Medjool dates (**see note below about types of dates and substitutions**)
2 cups almonds
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract (optional)
Add dates and remaining ingredients to a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine, then use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl. Blend the mixture for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture has moved past the crumbly stage and begins to clump and stick to the sides of the food processor.
Use a spoon or small cookie scoop to measure out a tablespoon of dough (or your desired size) and roll it into a ball. If desired, roll the ball in a bowl of coconut flakes. Or just set it aside to eat as-is. Repeat with the remaining dough. (Alternately, you can flatten the dough into the bottom of an 8×8-inch parchment-lined baking dish, then cut it into bars.)
Store the energy bites in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
**I used Medjool dates in this recipe, which are already nice and soft. If you substitute another kind of date, you may need to soak them in warm water for 10 minutes first in order to soften then. (Then drain them before using.)
Disclaimer: This is a compensated sponsored post from Natural Delights Medjool Dates. All date-loving opinions are 100% my own as always. Thank you for supporting brands like this that help make this site possible!
OH.MY.GOODNESS. I made these tonight and my kids and myself could not stop eating them. they are beyond delicious. We love to roll them into balls and store them in the freezer. They taste SO much like an almond joy bar- but better. Amazing. Thank you!!
Awww we’re so glad you and your kiddos enjoyed these! :D
Made these yesterday, but used Walnuts instead of Almonds and left them a little chunky, so there are bits of Walnuts in them. They are delicious. A nice, not too sweet treat!
Thanks Tammy — we’re glad you enjoyed them! :)
Can you recommend a food processor to make these. Mine burned out in my 2nd batch. Delicious!!
Hi Kelly! We like Cuisinart and Magimix. We’re glad you enjoyed these! :)
Yummy ! Looking forward to making. Storing? Can you freeze them? How long will they last in container?
Hi there! You can refrigerate and/or freeze these! In the refrigerator, they should be good for about two weeks, and in the freezer, we’d say three to four months. We hope you enjoy! :)
I am going to try to make these. Do you mean a whole tablespoon of vanilla? I’m just checking!
Hi Tina! Yes, 1 TBS of vanilla is correct. We hope you enjoy these!
Live alone live to cook and I think I enjoy energy bars and low calories but Good steak anytime too
These are perfect for Arizona in the summer. No one wants to turn on the oven. Thank you so much. They make the perfect dessert.
Thanks Kaye — we hope you love them!
I was smitten by this recipe the minute I came across it because there are not a lot of recipes out there for energy bites/balls that are oat-free. I wanted to keep mine as low carb as possible; even completely grain-free. I do not own a food processor and I depend on my Blendtec to do most of that type of work for me :) Lo and behold, I got together all the ingredients (with some substitutions but all in the correct amounts called for). I made mine with medjool dates, hazelnuts, unsweetened flaked coconut, cocoa powder, vanilla bean paste, coconut oil and a touch of hazelnut extract – the taste is nothing short of divine!!! Unfortunately, my Blendtec failed me a bit on the blending work …. the raw paste was extremely thick and I even had to add a couple of tablespoons of hot water to get it to budge and spin. I would love to keep experimenting with these types of recipes but am afraid that I will NEED a food processor …. do you have any other hints or suggestions on how this can be resolved without an investment in another kitchen gadget?
We’re so glad you enjoyed them, but we’re sorry about your Blendtec! :( We think if you try blending everything more gradually, and adding some liquid first, that should help for next time.
Could you also try maybe adding chia seeds to soak up any excess moisture you have to add to use a blender? They chia seeds will take a few minutes to suck up the moisture, which hopefully will give you enough time to mix most of it all first.
These are so tasty! I soaked my medjool dates in hot water for a bit, and my food processor didn’t have any problem forming a clump after 3 minutes! Thank you!!
We’re so glad you enjoyed them, Caroline!
Love your recipes Thank you for sharing
Thanks, Judy, we appreciate that! :)
Just made these and yum! Kept taking little pinches because they are so good. Thank you for a clean (used unsweetened coconut) to get my sweet fix!!
Thanks, Amy — we’re so happy you enjoyed them!
These came out DELICIOUS! I used 1 cup of almonds, 1/2 C walnuts, and 1/2 C cashews and I used I think they’re called Tunisian dates. They turned out beautifully. A pinch of sea salt would also be great in these. Thank you for the recipe!
Thanks for sharing, Allison, we’re so glad to hear that! :)
Made these a few days ago! Very yummy, and great chocolate flavor! It felt like I was eating cookie dough. :) They did turn out a little oily (but I didn’t measure my coconut oil perfectly). I’ll be making these again; maybe playing around with them to see if I can use a few less dates for less sugar, as I want to be snacking on these often! :D
One of my all-time favourite energy bite recipes! I have been making them for YEARS and never thought to leave a review. The almond extract is essential in this recipe and chocolate chunks are non-negotiable! I use 100% Baker’s chocolate because I am avoiding refined sugar and it is absolute perfection. 12/10 would recommend this recipe!
These were delicious and resolve a chocolate craving. I had made some almond butter so used 1/2 cup of that in place of the almonds and skipped the coconut oil. Perfect results!