Kind of ironic to be posting a cookie recipe right after a post about gut health, but these cookies aren't anything to feel guilty about. Having said that, no matter how "healthy" a dessert is, I still have to use self-control. I just get easily carried away. But at Christmastime it's nice to find some way to indulge- whatever that looks like to you. For me, that means learning to pick 1 or 2 treats that will make the holiday special, instead of 10. I'm also picking things that won't make us feel sick after eating a few. We've gotten to the point where we prefer things not so sweet.
These peanut butter balls are made with nourishing ingredients and only lightly sweetened, as well as being free of gluten, dairy, and refined sugar. Some will find it hard to believe, but they taste better than the conventional peanut butter balls I grew up with. The salty-sweet peanut butter middle, the dark chocolate coating, the crispy-crunchy texture... they're perfect in every way.
Crispy Peanut Butter Balls
adapted from my homemade reese's
peanut butter ball
1 cup sunflower kernels or any nut of your choice
1 1/2 cups good quality peanut butter (just peanuts and salt)
1/2 cup soft coconut oil or palm shortening
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
4 T. raw honey
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/1/2 to 2 cups gluten free rice krispies-like cereal
1/2 cup coconut oil or palm shortening (or a mix)
1/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
3 T. raw honey
1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips
In a food processor, pulse sunflower kernels (or other nut) until they become fine crumbs. Add remaining ingredients, except rice krispies, to the bowl and pulse until mixture is well combined. Scoop peanut butter mixture into a large bowl and pour in 1 cup of rice krispies. Use your hands to gently incorporate the cereal into the peanut butter mixture, without crushing. Continue adding cereal (up to 2-3 cups) until you like the consistency and it feels like it will shape easily into balls.
Form into 1-inch balls and arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Melt together all of the chocolate ingredients in a small pot over low heat. Stir often to keep everything well combined. Dip each ball in the melted chocolate, using a fork to scoop them out of the pot and back onto the parchment. Set the baking sheet in the freezer and let chill 30 minutes, or until they pop easily off the pan. Store in an airtight container in the freezer. (They will melt at room temp.) Enjoy icy cold, or you can let them thaw for a minute or two first. Makes about 40 peanut butter balls.
Notes // 1. For a grain-free variation, you can replace the rice cereal with some crispy nuts.
2. Why not just use all chocolate chips for the dipping chocolate? It's a little too sweet for me that way. I like the mixture of the sweet chocolate chips with some of my homemade dark chocolate sauce. Feel free to do whatever works for you!