magical maple balls
I take my snacking very seriously. Snack time to me is as important as a hearty breakfast, a solid night's sleep, or a mid-afternoon tea. It is a chance to add a little more nourishment and energy to your day, and keep those blood sugars in check so you don't turn in to a total hangry a-hole (I'm not the only one who becomes a real jerk when I'm hungry).
These little maple balls make the perfect perk-up on those hectic days when your hunger just won't make it to dinner, or when the hour-long hike with your pup turns in to 2 hours and you regret not having that extra egg with your breakfast. They are full of nourishing healthy fats from the walnuts, natural sugars, and a few extra magical ingredients to promote a happy body and mind (see NOTE).
• 1.5 cups raw walnut pieces (about 180 grams)
• 1 heaping cup pitted medjool dates (about 160 grams)
• 1.5 tsp. ground fenugreek (you could also grind fenugreek seeds in a spice grinder)
• 2 tbsp. maple syrup, preferably a darker amber variety
• 2 tsp. maple extract
• 2 tbsp. maca powder
• 2 tbsp. ashwagandha root powder
• 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
• Additional chopped walnuts, for rolling
Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread walnuts on a large baking sheet and roast for 10–15 minutes, stirring frequently, until walnuts are golden brown, fragrant, and making a sizzling sound. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
In a large food processor, pulse the cooled walnuts until they are coarsely chopped. Add the remaining ingredients, and continue to pulse until mixture forms together into a dough-like substance, scraping down the sides of the processor bowl frequently with a spatula to ensure mixture is well-incorporated.
Shape dough into 16-18 balls, about 1.5 inches in diameter. Roll the balls in additional chopped walnuts, if desired. I suspect these would also be bomb rolled in cinnamon or cocoa powder. Store in the refrigerator to be eaten at a moment's notice, whenever snack time strikes. These also travel well, and can be stored at room temperature for a shorter period of time.
NOTES: Maca root has been shown to support mood, healthy hormones, and provide an energy boost. Ashwagandha root has been used as a natural treatment for anxiety and depression, as well as a immune-system booster. I love adding them to smoothies or stirring them in to hot cereal.