Confession: I was nervous to develop this recipe.
The original recipe I got from my friend is
However, with everything I’ve learned about nutrition in the past few years, I know that some of the ingredients can have undesirable effects on your body. I
knew hoped there was a healthier way to make them without compromising the taste.
And this recipe MORE than delivers.
Trust me, I gladly tested many versions before finalizing it and this one is perfection.
Here’s what I came up with:
Here’s the “why” behind the substitutions:
Butter + Dairy Milk —-> Unsweetened Almond Milk
Not only are dairy products difficult for many people to digest, but researchers have found that dairy can inhibit the absorption of certain antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals and are incredibly important for your health.
Sugar —-> Coconut Sugar
I don’t want you to misunderstand this substitution – coconut sugar is still sugar and will affect your body in a similar way. Where the two types of sugar differ is in their nutrient profile. Coconut sugar retains some of the nutrients found in the coconut palm, whereas white sugar contains no vital nutrients whatsoever.
Baking Cocoa —-> Cacao Powder
You know those reports that say chocolate is good for you? This is because cacao beans are packed with antioxidants and have been shown to lower blood pressure, regulate insulin levels, and boost mood and cognitive performance. Sounds great, right?
However, even though both baking cocoa and cacao powder are made from these super beans, they are processed very differently. In order to make cocoa, cacao beans are heated to super-high temperatures to reduce the bitterness of the bean. While this makes for a sweeter product, the high heat also destroys many of the beneficial nutrients it contains.
Cacao powder, on the other hand, is processed using much lower temperatures. This results in a more bitter taste but allows the final product to retain most of the nutrients of the raw bean.
Jif (or other brand name PB) —-> Natural Peanut Butter
There are sooo many reasons for this. Check out this post for more. The quick version is that brand name peanut butter typically has A LOT of added ingredients, including sugar and hydrogenated vegetable oil among other things.
Now that you know the “why”, here’s the recipe…
I’m sorry in advance if you have to make multiple batches because you’re eating it out of the bowl 🙂
A healthier version of my childhood favorite. Tastes as good as I remember – make extra, they’ll be gone quickly!
- 1 1/4 c gluten-free rolled oats
- 1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 c coconut sugar
- 1/4 c coconut butter*
- 3 tbsp unsweetened almond milk (I used vanilla)
- 1 tbsp organic cacao powder
- 1/3 c natural peanut butter (make sure peanuts are the only ingredient)
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Line a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment.
- Place gluten-free rolled oats, shredded coconut, and sea salt into a mixing bowl and combine. Set aside.
- Place coconut sugar, coconut butter, almond milk, and cacao powder into a medium saucepan and bring to a low boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Allow to boil for one minute – continue stirring so the bottom doesn’t burn.
- Remove from heat and add peanut butter and vanilla to the saucepan and stir until combined.
- Add the oats-coconut-salt mixture to the saucepan and combine.
- Once cool enough to touch, use a spoon (or cookie scoop to ensure they’re evenly sized) roll a tablespoon amount into a ball with your (clean) hands and place evenly on the parchment lined baking sheet.
- Place in freezer or refrigerator until hardened.
- *Coconut butter (also called coconut manna) is usually found near coconut oil at the grocery store. It doesn’t have to be refrigerated.
- I’ve also made this recipe using maple syrup instead of coconut sugar and it’s just as good. Just be warned that it’s a little messier when forming the balls due to the stickiness of the syrup.
Keywords: vegan, gluten free, dairy free, banana free, no bake
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