These Raw Cacao Chili Balls are raising the snack time bar! The base of healthy fats and fiber give you a burst of energy without the crash later on. You can amp up the chili powder for an even spicier flavor, or add an extra date if sweet is more your style.
Have you ever seen something and thought that’s so strange, why would anyone be into that? If no, then please teach me how to be so open-minded. For anyone in the been-there-done-that camp, I’m with you. That pretty much sums up my reaction to chili in chocolate, explaining why I placed it back on the shelf and walked away.
Boy, did I not know what I was missing.
Since those No-Bake Tahini Date Energy Bites were such a hit, I knew that I needed to make more flavors. When the only equipment you need is a food processor (or blender), and about 10 minutes of your time, it’s nearly impossible to justify NOT making another batch. And then another…. and another… maybe even one more. A girl can never have too many.
Know what else you can never have too much of? Chocolate! Well, everything in moderation, but ideally it would be unlimited. I keep a well-stocked chocolate drawer in the fridge, so that I always have options. In this Sunbutter Dark Chocolate Bark recipe I went through some of the research behind cocoa and the flavonols it contains. One of the most important things to look for in good quality chocolate is the cacao content.
Cacao comes from Theobroma Cacao beans, which translates to “food of the gods.” You can think of it as raw and unprocessed cocoa, meaning that it has more nutrients, like monounsaturated fats, fiber, protein, magnesium, iron, and sulfur.
While it benefits us physically, there are also emotional benefits to eating cacao, because of 2 chemicals that it contains. We create phenylethylamine (PEA) in our bodies when we’re excited, making our pulse speed up and increasing focus. The second, anandamide, has similar effects on our brain as PEA, but also improves our mood and decreases feelings of depression by changing blood pressure and blood-sugar levels. On a chemical level raw cacao acts like an amphetamine, but without the side effects.
Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me. Except then I took it down a savory path and making a cacao chili mix. I figured all these amazing companies putting the spice in their chocolate bars had to be on to something. THEY ARE. Adding these Raw Cacao Chili Balls to your snack repertoire is a sign that you, too, are on to something, formally known as pure genius.
The almond-cashew-flaxseed base makes these bite-sized bursts of energy. They kind of look like munchkins, right? Except that snacking on these won’t leave you thinking of justifications. Instead, you’ll probably be feeling really good about your snack time decisions, because those are serious. Choosing nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods is a surefire way to set yourself up for success throughout the rest of your day.
You can make these sweeter or spicier, depending on how you like it. Personally, I’m more of a spice girl, and cacao chili is my new favorite combination.
Happy (raw cacao chili) balling!
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 1 cup raw cashews
- ¼ cup cacao powder
- 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
- ½ - ¾ tsp chili powder
- 3 tbsp creamy almond butter
- 4-5 dates
- pinch sea salt
- Put all ingredients into a food processor or high-powered blender and process for 5 minutes, scraping down the sides as necessary. Start with ½ teaspoon chili powder and 4 dates.
- Continue until a ball begins to form and all the nuts and dates are broken down. At this point, adjust seasonings to taste, adding more chili for a spicier kick or another date for more sweetness.*
- Roll into 20 balls. Place in fridge or freezer to chill for 15 minutes.
- OPTIONAL: Sift cocoa powder or drizzle almond butter to top.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. Let thaw a few minutes before eating!
*If the dough is not sticky enough, then you can either add a little bit of water, another date, or more almond butter.