Wednesday, May 24, 2017

No-Cook Energy Bites for Holiday Get-Up-and-Go!

When did this popular candy-rich, no-bake bite appear? It may have started during the health-oriented ‘70s tofu and granola craze. But it also is a spin-off of no-bake cookies infused with alcohol that go back to the mid-20th century.

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When I first moved here I became good friends with a neighbor, an older woman whom locals thought was my mom. But she was my best friend, pet sitter, and confidant. During the summer, one afternoon while I sipped homemade iced tea, she made Bourbon Balls (a treat my mother used to make for holidays). Vanilla wafer crumbs, powdered sugar, corn syrup, and bourbon are some of the ingredients. “Why don’t you make something healthy?” I asked. She darted, “Like what?” I offered my hippie-ish recipe for energy balls. She shook her head no while shaping her traditional 1-inch balls and putting each one on a cookie sheet.
That night her recipe inspired me to recreate energy balls. I put together good for you foods--peanut butter, honey, dried fruit, and nuts. The next day, my pal didn’t want to try my superfood, and I passed on her booze balls. But we remained friends despite our different tastes from the beatnik era to post-hippie days.

So here is a version of my get-up-and-go energy balls. As the temperature rises, both locals and tourists are going to love these bites. What’s better than bite-sized balls with wholesome goodness that are easy to make and from nature’s finest. And they contain healthful protein, carbs, fat, fiber, and iron.

Peanut Butter Coconut Balls

1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup honey (I used a local brand from Carson City)
1/3 cup premium unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
½ cup walnuts, chopped
¼ cup raisins, golden
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes, premium (I used Baker’s)
2 teaspoons sea salt
Cinnamon and ginger to taste (optional)

In a large bowl, combine peanut butter, honey, and cocoa powder. Stir well. Fold in walnuts and raisins. Put into refrigerator for about 30 minutes (it makes it easier to make the balls). Shape into 2-inch balls, then roll in coconut. Sprinkle with salt. Store balls in airtight container. (Peanut Butter Coconut Balls freeze well.)  Makes about 1 dozen.  (You can also switch it up and use different dried fruit, like blueberries and cranberries to celebrate Memorial Day weekend and Fourth of July.) Serve with iced tea or coffee for the feel-good caffeine buzz.

The different colors and textures of these energy bites are pleasing to the eye and palate. They are gooey, chewy, and crunchy. Plus, the mix of nuts and honey with a bit of sea salt gives you both a sweet and savory treat. And ginger is a brilliant note. Instead of baking cookies in a hot kitchen, these no-bake energy balls allow you time to enjoy the outdoors. Don’t forget to share the goodness with family, friends, and neighbors (all ages) for the fun of it.

*The Healing Powers of Tea and The Healing Powers of Honey are available at online bookstores, including,,

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