I’ll admit it: when I was a kid, I snacked on cookies. My family was big on homemade baked goods, and I was kind of in love with Oreos. I would come in from playing in the snow and have a few Christmas cookies with hot chocolate or munch my way through the classic cookies and milk after school. And, of course, cookies were always a good option for dessert.
Not unusual, right? But not the best idea when you’re trying to follow a healthy diet. That’s what inspired me to create Peanut Blossom Bites.
I may have mentioned before that I eat a lot. Currently I’m about ten pounds below what I consider to be an ideal and healthy weight for my height, which calls for a consistent strength training program and a high caloric intake. That means eating six times a day to spread out my calories in a way my digestive system is comfortable with.
Am I complaining? Nope. I love food, and I love eating. But snacks can get a little boring if I don’t make an effort to mix things up now and then. Sometimes the kid in me just plain wants to eat junk. What to do? Make something healthy that zings all the same “junk food” pathways as the cookie snacks of days gone by!
Inspired by classic peanut blossoms, these 100% healthy snack balls have it all: oats, peanuts, peanut butter, dates and chocolate. All you need is a food processor and about 15 minutes to make a batch of “cookies” you can happily snack on any time. With only three steps, it’s probably the easiest cookie recipe you’ll make all season. No more scrambling to bake something for a potluck — although it’s tempting to keep them all for yourself.
As I mentioned in my Cookie Q & A, these wound up tasting remarkably like Reese Puffs cereal. I think it’s because I used the Trader Joe’s peanut butter made with Valencia peanuts. I’d never tried it before — and didn’t even know what a Valencia peanut was — but wound up with a jar when my amazing landlady offered to pick up groceries for me while she was at TJ’s recently. Since I neglected to specify which peanut butter I usually get beyond “unsalted creamy,” she naturally assumed I was a fan of organic and picked up that variety.
I’m glad she did. The peanuts have a slight sweetness, making it perfect for recipes like this. (The linked article references the salted variety, but the flavor profile is the same.) The majority of Valencia peanuts in the U.S. are apparently grown in West Texas and New Mexico and are common in roasted peanut butter. Who knows, I may have tasted them before and never known it! But their particular sweetness is why I recommend Valencia for the bites. Regular unsalted creamy peanut butter also works, but I’d imagine the flavor would be a little deeper.
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ½ cup dry roasted peanuts
- 1 cup pitted medjool dates
- ¼ cup natural unsalted creamy peanut butter (I used Trader Joe's organic with Valencia peanuts)
- ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp raw cocoa powder (can substitute regular or Dutch processed)
- Place the oats and nuts in high-speed food processor, and process until chunky and well-combined.
- Add the dates, peanut butter and vanilla. Process until a sticky "dough" forms. (Add more dates or peanut butter if it's stubborn about sticking together.)
- Form into balls, rolling each in raw cocoa powder to coat.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
If you make this recipe, tag @green_gut on Instagram so I can see your photos!