July 23, 2013
Sugar-free Fruity Nutty Balls
July was supposed to be the month I cut out sugar - or at least tried to cut out sugar. It started well. I stopped having sugar in my tea and coffee, I resisted all urges to eat cake and sweets, I made stewed apples with Greek yogurt when I wanted something sweet. I even baked an apple tart with no sugar - it didn't taste very good. But then it hit - my birthday. How could I not eat cake?! In the last week my will to refrain from sugar passed, and I ate sweets. And it was gooooooodd...
It got me thinking about these so called diets, which to me is when someone cuts out a food group/s for periods of time. They never work because you know when the diet is over you will get to eat those foods again, so what's really going to change? I've always been a firm believer in eating well as a lifestyle. Reducing my sugar intake is something I'm going to have to do slowly, and is something I've been consciously doing for a while. For example, whenever I bake a recipe that calls for one cup of sugar, I'll halve it, or replace it with honey. I won't make things that are heavily sugar based (except for marshmallows cos they are amaze-balls). My tolerance for sugar has dropped as well - these days I find things too sweet.
I'm my efforts to not buy another bag of Mars bars and eat them all, I wanted to make a healthy snack that was good for me and involved NO SUGAR.
These babies, they have no sugar, no gluten, no dairy, and no egg. And, they're yummy! Feel free to mix it up and use your favourite dried fruits or nuts (except keep the dates of course). And if you can, try to use stuff already in your pantry, as these can get a little expensive if you have to go and buy everything! When I made these, I only had to buy the apricots and cashews, everything else was randomly in my pantry.
FRUITY NUTTY BALLS
150g dried dates
1/2 cup water
100g dried apricots, roughly chopped
100g cashews, roughly chopped
100g pistachios, roughly chopped
3/4 cup of shredded of flaked coconut (desiccated coconut tends to be too fine)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon flax seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 160C. Line a tray with baking paper.
In a small saucepan, add the dates and water, and cook for 5-10 minutes, or until they are soft and the water has been absorbed. Use a wooden spoon to mash the dates up a little, then place the mix into a food processor and blend til smooth. You might need to add a little more water to loosen it should the mix be too thick. It should be the consistency of baby food.
In a large bowl, add all the chopped fruit, nuts and seeds (all other ingredients!), then add the pureed date and mix well so it's all evenly incorporated.
Take a tablespoon of the mix, and using you hands, mould it into a ball, a bit smaller than a golf ball. Place it on the baking tray. When all balls are on the tray, place in the oven and cook for 20 - 30 minutes. 20 will give you chewy balls, 30 will produce a more crunchy ball (sorry, so many balls!)
Makes 30 balls.
Last ball reference, I promise. Did I mention the nuts though?