The other day a friend of mine was telling me about how much she loves almond shortbread cookies. I can completely understand that obsession. Simple, buttery cookies with a hint of almond flavor. It reminded me of visiting Italy before I discovered I couldn't eat gluten. Those amazing Italians make the best amaretti cookies which are flavored with just the right amount of almond extract. So I decided to create my latest raw bites with her in mind.
These raw bites are a little different than my others in that they are made from raw cashews instead of almonds. While almonds are a much better nut option, I wanted these to have a lighter color and to have a creamer flavor and felt that cashews was the right nut (but are actually seeds) for the job. Cashews, in moderation, are extremely healthy. They are loaded with unsaturated fatty acids (the good fat), protein, and are high in zinc, copper, and magnesium. Add the coconut oil and you have a yummy bite that is an excellent source of healthy fat, an idea which we really need to start embracing. Good fat is not our enemy and is essential to a healthy weight loss plan.
One or two of these a night will easily satisfy your sweet-tooth craving. Made with medjool dates, they are naturally refined sugar-free and a good alternative for those trying to cut out processed sugars and foods. And just like my other raw bites, they are so easy to make!
Start by processing the raw cashews in your food processor for about 20 seconds, until you see a fine meal consistency.
Add the dates and process them for another 20 seconds.
Then add the melted coconut oil and almond extract and process another 20 seconds until a ball forms.
Pinch off a chunk and, using both your palms, roll into a ball.
If you are just craving a simple amaretti ball, you are done. Store them in the refrigerator or freezer and pull one our when you need a little something creamy and sweet. Seriously, these on their own are so delicious.
However, if you want something just a little special I have two other options for you.
First, for the holidays, why not dress these up like you would a sugar cookie! I melted some vegan chocolate chips (which are NOT refined sugar-free) and added a little coconut oil so that I could drizzle it over the top of them. I also added some crack-sugar (extremely processed) snowflakes to fancy them up a little. Too sweet for me, but hey, it's the holidays!
Or you could also do my favorite variation and press the middle down with your fingers to form a small bowl in the top to fill with your favorite berry jam.
Plain-Jane or gussied up, you will love these really simple raw balls. Enjoy!
Time: 15 minutes
2 c. raw cashews
1 1/2 c. medjool dates
3 1/2 tbsp. liquid responsibly sourced coconut oil
1 tsp. organic almond extract
Favorite fruit jam or
Chocolate Drizzle -
1/2 c. vegan chocolate chips
2 tsp. liquid responsibly sourced coconut oil
In your food processor, blend the raw cashews 15-20 seconds until they form a fine meal. Add the dates and process for another 15-20 seconds until you only see small bits of the dates in the mixture. Add the coconut oil and almond extract and mix for another 15-20 seconds until a ball forms.
With your clean hands, form into small balls by pinching off a portion and rolling between your hands. Work gently and they will come together.
Jam Centered Balls:
Place the balls on a parchment paper lined pan or plate. With your finger, push into the center of the ball which will flatten it slightly and form a small bowl in the middle. Work the edges a little with your hands to fill in any cracks and re-round the edges. With a spoon, fill the small bowl with your favorite jam. Place in the freezer for half an hour to harden.
Chocolate Coated Balls:
Place the balls on a parchment paper lined pan or plate. In a small glass bowl, heat the chocolate chips in the microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and with a spoon, stir a little. Repeat for another 30 seconds, stir and repeat again for another 30 seconds. This time when you stir you will most likely be completely melted. Add the 2 teaspoons of liquid coconut oil and stir again. If it is not liquid enough, return to the microwave for another 15 to 30 seconds. Do not over nuke your chocolate sauce though. Drizzle or dip your balls in the sauce and return to the parchment paper lined pan/plate. Place in the freezer for half an hour to harden.
Store your uneaten balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.
Makes 16 large or 20 small balls.