January is the month when we wipe the slate clean and start fresh. With a new beginning comes new hopes and intentions. New ideas and plans. Less sugar, more protein. Or perhaps you are taking the dry pledge this month and eschewing alcohol as your first month of the year resolution.
As good as our intentions may be, the beginning of 2021 doesn’t feel that much different than the rocky road that was 2020. Keep in mind we can’t control the world, but we can control what we eat.
And while I’d really like to make a big batch of chocolate chip cookies to feed the political pain we are watching on TV and minimize our collective agony, I’m sticking with the virtuous route and not giving in to the treacherous path of cookie cravings. Instead, I am leaning on these almond butter chocolate chip energy bites. They taste a lot like a chocolate chip cookie but happen to be a beautiful combo of protein, fat and chocolate–and who can say no to that?
Protein, Fat and Chocolate
Using only five basic pantry ingredients, these bite-sized snacks are healthy, gluten-free, vegan and require zero cooking. A smart combination of almond butter provides the protein, coconut adds fat, maple syrup adds a sweet note along with essential minerals. The mini chocolate chips are the coup de grace of chocolate crunch factor. They are certain to satisfy the sweet cravings when they hit.
Once you pulverize the oats and coconut in the food processor, all you need is 10 minutes, one big bowl and wet hands and these energy bites are ready whenever you are. Keep them handy for moments of hanger, when the kids need a quick bite mid-day or when everyone needs a better-for-you-than-ice-cream-dessert. A few of these almond butter chocolate chip energy bites and everyone will be happy again.
Or maybe you need to make these energy bites–that will remind you of chocolate chip cookies–and not tell anyone. Make them when no one is home and store them in an obscure place in the freezer so they will be yours, all yours.
Based on the first 13 days of 2021, this may be the most prudent course of action.
Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Energy Bites
When you are craving chocolate chip cookies, but you know this is not the best choice for a snack, grab a few of these energy bites instead. They will satisfy you more than a cookie will because of the brilliant combo of protein, fat and chocolate. Store them in the fridge or freezer for when the moment of need strikes.
- 1 1/4 cup gluten-free oats
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1 16 oz. almond butter unsalted
- heavy pinch kosher or sea salt
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips I use Enjoy Life brand
In a food processor, add the oats and coconut.
Pulverize until finely ground.
In a big bowl, dump the ground oats and coconut and add the jar of almond butter, salt, maple syrup and chocolate chips. Stir well to combine.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Wet your hands and shake them off. Use a tablespoon to scoop the batter, roll the batter in the palms of your hands into a ball of whatever size. I made them 1- 1 1/2 inches in diameter--enough for two or three bites of goodness.
Place the balls on the parchment paper and, when all of the batter is used, place the baking sheet in the fridge for an hour to solidify.
Once the balls are more firm, place the balls in a sealed container or freezer bag. Store bites in the fridge or freezer and enjoy them frequently. Sharing is entirely up to you.