Oat and Apricot Energy Balls
Am I the only one who fancies something sweet and delicious in the afternoon with my coffee? I suspect not. But you do not need to be a coffee drinker to enjoy these delicious bite-size snacks, my children love these anytime of the day and it is a healthier and more economical option than giving them store-bought bars.
These are totally wholesome as they contain oats, almond flour, and organic dried apricots. They are also high in fibre and contain no added sugar, the sweetness comes from the apricots and maple syrup (optional). You can eat them straight ahead without baking and keep them in the fridge for a couple of days. If you bake them you can store them in a cool airtight jar for 3-4 days.
First, let’s talk about the ingredients and what to look for when shopping. I hope you read the food labels when you shop, it is an important healthy habit which I highly recommend.
If you are on a gluten-free diet you must look for the “Gluten-Free” label on Oats packaging just to be sure. Although Oats are naturally gluten-free, if they are processed in a facility where other grains containing gluten are processed, they may get contaminated. It is always better to be cautious. Here in the UK , I prefer the Rude Health Sprouted Oats. Although sprouted oats are not essential for this recipe, I like the easy digestibility of sprouted grains in general and they tend to have slightly higher protein content than non-sprouted grains.
Now I will put on my scientists’ hat ( see “About me”) and mention the importance of using organic apricots here. Whilst organic apricots have a dark brown colour, non-organic apricots do have a vibrant colour and are visually more pleasing to the eye since they are treated with sulphur dioxide which is a colourless gas that is widely used in the food and drinks industry as a preservative and antioxidant. In small amounts, it is OK for most healthy people. However, research shows that it can induce asthma in some individuals who are sensitive to it. If you would like to learn more about the uses and side effects of sulphur dioxide you can read this paper in PubMed.
It is very easy to shape the sticky mixture into balls by hand, however, if you have not done it before I would highly recommend that either you use two dessert spoons to shape them or for a perfectly round shape a trigger handle ice-cream scoop is the neatest solution.
- 1 cup rolled oat flakes, gluten-free
- 1/3 cup almond flour
- 12 organic dried apricots
- 60 ml unsweetened almond milk/milk of your choice
- 3 tsp cocoa powder, unsweetened and alkalized
- 2 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- Soak the apricots in the warm milk for 5-10 minutes. Put this mixture together with the milk into a mini food blender/chopper and pulse a few times.
- Add the rest of the ingredients into the blender and pulse a few times more so that all the ingredients are blended nicely whilst still maintaining some texture not turning mushy.
- Wet your hands and shape the mixture into small (walnut size) balls, or you can use a small trigger handle ice-cream scoop for a perfectly round shape. You can then put them straight into the fridge and chill them before eating if you like them soft. It keeps for 2 days in the fridge.
- Alternatively, you can bake them at 350 F/ 180 C fan for 10-12 minutes for a firmer finish and longer shelf life. If you bake them, you can store them in an airtight jar for 4-5 days.
- I hope you enjoy these delicious bites. Stay Healthy and Happy!