I have made these way too much lately. Probably 10 times in 6 months, because they are so surprisingly satisfying.
Let's talk about donuts for just a minute. I am a strong believer in skipping on healthy food that doesn't actually taste that good, especially when the real thing is a donut from a place like Donut Monster (for all you Hamilton/Burlington locals). They are next level donuts. Fried and flavourful pockets of gluten, sugar and sunshine. You literally can't go wrong.
Unfortunately, eating those fried dough balls as much as my taste buds would request them, would make me feel awful. So I have turned to these little wonders. Not as punishment. Not through deprivation. But instead, through knowing that Tim Horton's donuts are comparatively garbage, and knowing my body can only handle the real deal once every few months.
Enter the energy ball.
Fauxnuts aka donuty energy balls
This recipe is essentially Ashlae's from Oh Ladycakes, but I made a couple very subtle, but important tweaks. For the sake of ease, I stop into my local bulk store and get just about everything there in the portions I need for this recipe.
1/2 cup large flake rolled oats (gluten free if necessary)
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut**
1/2 cup raw pecan halves
1 teaspoon vanilla (I used a homemade extract made with vodka, but if you are simply using regular vanilla, adding 1 tsp of vodka as well probably wouldn't be the worst thing in the world)
1/4 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg (or more if desired)
Pinch of fine sea salt
6-7 Medjool dates**, remove the pit and soak in warm water for 15 minutes if they are too dry/old
Cinnamon icing sugar: (1/2 cup icing sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon)
Preheat the oven to 325F and toast the oats, coconut and pecans as pictured (separate the pecans), and toast on a baking sheet in the oven for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Be careful not to let the coconut burn.
In a food processor, blend the oats and coconut into a fine meal. Add the pecans, nutmeg, and sea salt, and blend until the pecans turn into a fine meal, too. Add the dates and process for 45-60 seconds, until a smooth dough is achieved. Using about 1.5-2 tbsp of dough and drop the balls onto a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Roll into balls then transfer to the fridge to chill for 20 minutes.
After they are chilled, roll them around in the cinnamon icing sugar
** You can absolutely use unsweetened coconut, you may just want to add an extra date or two to increase the sweetness. I just prefer it to have less dates for the texture, so that's why I use sweetened.
** I use Medjool dates, but they are expensive, you could use regular pitted dates and save a bundle, but I find the medjool are worth it. Just make sure you remove the pits