I'm over the nut balls. There, I said it. I know I have made a few in my day, but I am grateful that none found their way into my cookbook, and I am pretty sure I will never again eat a nut ball and declare it delicious. This doesn't make me a bad nutritionist. This just makes me honest.
You know what I am referring to, right? Those 'raw energy balls' that nutritionists love to make that are mostly dates, blended with a variety of nuts and seeds, and sometimes there's some raw chocolate thrown in for good measure? Only under very hangry circumstances can I see myself eating a nut ball.
I needed another option. I wanted a really awesome grab and go snack that is delicious, not a nut ball, but can still stabilize blood sugar and ease the hunger. This is the magic combo. And so I began experimenting with some classic nutrient-packed ingredients and then did something I rarely do: I added a protein powder to the mix. The key was to make a fibre-rich, protein-rich and fat-rich recipe: the trifecta of a power snack. And delicious. It had to be delicious.
And so, I landed at a chocolate dipped, vanilla macaroon.
I have never before attempted to combine a protein powder into a baked good and I have to tell you, I hit a homerun on my first try.
I used the Fermented Vegan Proteins+ by Genuine Health. I normally use the natural or unflavoured variety in smoothies (watch and learn in this smoothie making periscope!), but I figured these macaroons might do well with the vanilla option so that's what I used. I love this protein powder for the obvious reasons (it's gluten-free, dairy-free and non-GMO), but also for the less obvious reason that it blends into shakes (and now macaroons!) without a trace. Also it's fermented. Why does this matter?
Protein powders can be tough on the tummy for many (often resulting in room-clearing gaseousness that may cause you to lose the love of your friends and family), but I have found this one sits well. The fermentation essentially pre-digests what might otherwise we tough to breakdown proteins. You can learn more about the power of fermentation in this awesome interview I did with Dr. Alan Logan.
Baking this protein into the macaroon will result in the deactivation of the beneficial bacteria part of what makes fermented foods so awesome, but you will still benefit from the increased digestibility, blood sugar stabilization, and steady energy that comes with consuming protein.
The addition of protein is as fancy as we're getting here, making this recipe as simple as it gets. I used basic everyday baking ingredients including unsweetened shredded coconut, vanilla extract, maple syrup and coconut oil and then a new and extra special chocolate blend (recipe below for both!).
It doesn't get much simpler than this.
You can also choose to stop after the balls are rolled and just put those right in the fridge to enjoy raw. The options are there for you.
Aside from how beautiful and delicious these look (and they go great with a cup of tea!), they fulfill what I was after. The coconut provides that heaping dose of fibre along with the fat to fuel the nervous system. We have the added bonus of the fat from the coconut oil and cashew butter in the chocolate dip and of course, our protein powder fills that need. And so there you go! The UnDiet way to satisfy those cravings and if you want to make this nut-free, you can omit the cashew butter from the chocolate or swap for sunbutter.
- 3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 serving* Natural or Vanilla Fermented Vegan Proteins+
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 50g unsweetened organic/fair trade baker's chocolate
- 2 Tbsp cashew butter
- 1-2 Tbsp honey (or maple syrup if you want to keep them vegan- taste for sweetness)
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Place all macaroon ingredients except maple syrup in the food processor and mix until evenly blended. Add honey/maple syrup ½ Tbsp at a time until desired sweetness is achieved. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides as you mix.
- On a parchment lined cookie sheet, roll out about 1½ Tbsp of the mix into tight balls. Gently place on cookie sheet.
- Bake for 8 minutes until lightly browned. Place in fridge to cool.
- While the balls are cooling, over low heat, melt together the chocolate, cashew butter, honey and coconut oil.
- Remove macaroons from fridge and one at a time, dip the bottom half into the melted chocolate. Place back on parchment. Once all macaroons have been dipped, put back in the fridge to set.
- Serve slightly chilled. Can keep in the fridge, in a sealed container for one week.