Nothing makes my kids happier than an awesome snack they can pop in their mouth! These little powerhouses are great for packing in lunches, afterschool snacks and they make great gifts you can slip into a clear cellophane bag and tie with a pretty ribbon. (Perfect for teachers!) The protein from the peanut butter and chia seeds will keep tummies full and best of all, they are gluten-free, sugar-free and dairy-free (if you use vegan chocolate chips).
2 cups quick cooking rolled oats, not the big flat oats
dash Celtic sea salt
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
1 cup pitted Medjool dates
1 Tbsp chia seeds*
4 Tbsp natural peanut/almond butter (OK to leave out to make nut-free or use sun butter)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp raw cacao
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (preferably semi-sweet, milk-free)
1.Put oats and salt in a food processor.
2.Process until finely ground.
3.Add remaining ingredients, except for chocolate chips, and process until fully combined. Add 1/2 tsp water to bring ingredients together.
4.Fold in chocolate chips
5.Add a few drops of water if needed to form balls.
6.Form into balls or press into a square pan and cut into squares.
Makes 40-50 balls depending on how big you make each one. Keep in the fridge in an airtight container. If you want a more distinct cherry taste, chop the cherries instead of processing in the food processor. You'll have bigger chunks in each ball.
*Don't be tempted to leave out the amazing little chia seeds. These suckers are packed with fiber, protein, Omega 3's and tons of nutrients! You can put them in smoothies, oatmeal, sauces, water, pudding and more!
Cindy Santa Ana