Chocolate Energy Balls taste like little brownie bites, and they are 100% fruit-sweetened! All you need is 5 simple ingredients to make them.
Why Are They Good For You?
These chocolate energy balls are naturally sweetened with dates. They have NO added flour or sugar, and yet they really do taste like a brownie!
Benefits of Dates:
- Dates are high in fiber, so they may help to prevent constipation.
- They contain flavonoids, which may help to protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
- Dates also contain phenolic acid, which may help to lower the risk of cancer.
- Eating 6 dates a day may help pregnant women naturally go into labor. (And have a shorter labor!) I did this with both my first and second pregnancy, and it seemed to work for me!
- Dates also contain minerals that may promote bone health, like phosphorous, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
Paired with walnuts, these date balls taste like… you guessed it, a walnut-studded brownie. Studies have shown that walnuts may particularly help with decreasing fat deposits in the mid-section.
How to Make Them
To make these chocolate date balls, you’ll start by pulsing the walnuts in a food processor, until they are finely ground. This should take about 30 to 60 seconds.
Once the walnuts are ground, add in the dates, cacao powder, vanilla, and salt. Process again, until the mixture sticks together when you press it between your fingers.
It’s okay if the mixture looks crumbly, as long as it does stick together. If it doesn’t stick together, keep processing the mixture until it does stick together.
Important: Keep in mind that you CAN over-process a date ball. If the mixture starts to look super-oily, that means you processed it too long, and it’s hard to fix that other than trying to sop-up the oil with a towel.
Scoop the mixture using a tablespoon, then roll them between your hands to form balls. I like to arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then place them in the fridge or freezer so they will firm up.
Once the balls are firm to the touch, you can roll them in cacao powder for a fancy presentation, but I actually think these taste best without rolling them in the extra cacao. (The added coating will make them more bitter, FYI.)
Transfer the chocolate energy balls to an airtight container and store them in the fridge for an easy treat that’s ready to grab!
Which Dates Work Best?
When shopping for dates, look for ones that are either refrigerated, or in the produce section. They should be nice and squishy, and I think the ones that contain pits stay the freshest, longest. (Pitted dates tend to dry out.)
If you don’t have soft & squishy dates on hand, you can soak the dates in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes to help them soften up. Drain the water, then use the dates as directed.
Chocolate Energy Balls (5-ingredients!)
- 1 1/2 cups raw walnut halves (162 g)
- 1 cup Medjool dates (188 g; soft & squishy; pits removed)
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder (24 g)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (6 g)
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (2 g)
- Additional cocoa powder , for coating (optional)
- In a large food processor fitted with an "S" blade, grind the walnuts into a fine meal.
- Add in the rest of the ingredients, and process again until a sticky, uniform dough is formed.
- Scoop the batter by heaping tablespoons onto a plate or baking sheet lined with parchment paper, to prevent sticking. Roll the balls between your hands, and roll them in cocoa powder, if desired.
- Store the balls in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- I prefer the taste of walnuts in these brownies, but feel free to use any other nut you like, including pecans or almonds. (Seeds may work, too, for a nut-free version.)
- If you don’t have access to dates, try making these with another dried fruit, like raisins, instead. The flavor will be different, but still tasty!
Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite chocolate dessert?
Questions and Reviews
Yummo! I can’t wait to try these little bites. My favorite chocolate dessert is a really good quality, organic dark chocolate bar.
For a while I was in total denial and told myself “I am never going to eat chocolate again” after gaining 10 pounds on Easter chocolate.
Reality? That I’m gonna crave chocolate again…..that’s what makes these so great =) They satisfy that craving without the soy, sugar and other processed junk. And they’re paleo/vegan, wonderful.
Love the addition of walnuts, gives it that brownie-ish feel. Need now!
Grew up on E.L. Fudge cookies, Nilla Wafers, Mac & Cheese and Capri Suns, all things my kids have never even gotten to try! But they can have these. And the walnuts help with belly fat? Yay!!!
Some of you guys (particularly you), sound like you could use a good easy recipe or when you don’t have time for this. Here is my fave recipe (it’s good w/ nuts added):
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
truvia or stevia sweetener, to taste
Combine ingredients in a bowl and firm in refrigerator or freezer in ice cube trays or on a wax paper-lined plate.
Yes walnuts are good w/ belly fat, but when you combine such a healthy fat w/ high sugar/carb foods (like dates), then not so much. Dates are good for growing young children w/ super high metabolisms, but a grown adult would just have a big insulin spike and would store all that fat (only because its combined w/ carbs) as fat.
Good idea, Sophia! Walnuts make the inside of my cheeks swell up. I’ll use maple syrup instead of stevia.
Stick to Stevia, Truvia is man made…
Yeah, your right, it is processed, even though the ingredients are natural.
I am probably going to start using this sweetener in place of truvia:
I’m really into freezer desserts right now, and I made a ball similar to these with more of a chocolate-chip cookie dough vibe. These seem like decadent truffles to me – will have to try soon!
What a handy little scooper you have there to form the balls. Where did you get that? I just roll them with my hands – then end up licking my fingers. A messy but yummy job. I think I want to make these with pecans. What do you think?
This is the scooper I have: http://amzn.to/1oO9ZmP I use it for everything! I love how it keeps my hands clean and everything evenly portioned.
And I think pecans would be delicious in these, too!
Hi Megan. Love this recipe btw 🙂 just wondering what the life expectancy for these yummy bites? 🙂
They should last at least a week (or more) in the fridge, and I’ve stored them for up to 4 months in a sealed container in the freezer.
thank you so much for the info Megan 🙂
I’m allergic to walnuts so PECANS (soaked & dehydrated) did the trick. Yum!
so how would I make a chocolate coating of some kind to dip them in? Would cocoa and some coconut oil and some pure maple syrup work?
Definitely! You could use the chocolate coating from my Klondike Bar recipe: https://detoxinista.com/2014/05/healthy-klondike-bars-dairy-free-paleo/
Thanks so much! I am excited I guessed the right ingredients, lol!
OOOhhhhhh…. these look yummy!!!
Mmmm! That’s all! 🙂
I’ve been making a very similar recipe for the past 5 years- so good!
Your pictures make me want to go home and make these asap, even though I don’t like dates (I have tried several times to like them, but I just don’t)….maybe I can give them another shot :).
Instead of dates how would prunes work with this recipe?
I just used prunes because our store was out of the dates (they had a HUGE bag full, but I didn’t want to buy so many). They turned out REALLY good. I don’t know if it was the prunes…pretty sure it was….that made them more oily feeling and absorbed the cocoa when I rolled them to coat them with it…so you can’t see the powder look of the cocoa, but you can taste it. 🙂 And, I don’t know this because I haven’t made them with dates yet, but I bet they would be more sweet with the dates. These still taste really good though with prunes 🙂
Thank you for sharing your substitution with prunes, Katherine. You’ve encouraged me try that as well : )
Recently got Navitas raw cocoa powder: now I know why! Thanks for this health booster, Megan. Btw: your blog rocks thanks to accurate health info.
We made these tonight after my husband came across this recipe, delicious! They do remind me of the filling in those EL Fudge cookies. Great recipe!
Wow! These are really delicious. Made them today and they were a huge hit. Thanks for sharing.
I use chipped brazil nuts in mine.. delicious and a good amount of selenium to boot! Thanks for the recipe;
Yum- or rolled in coconut! (like that used for the macaroons)
These sound lovely, but a cup of dates is full of sugar. Not a good thing no matter how much you love chocolate. You are better off eating a couple 90% dark chocolate squares.
I made these last night, but with roasted pecans- SO GOOD! When I asked my husband if he wanted one, he said he wanted to cut down on sweets at night, to which I said: It’s your lucky day! Perfect nighttime treat with not much sugar! He really liked them too, and he is the ultimate test! He doesn’t usually like this dark of chocolate either. Thanks for the recipe! Success!
Great sweet treat without sugar. Chopped the whole dates before adding to food processor. The scoop works very well. Caution, not all dates are created equal, many sugar coated.
These look absolutely delicious! Can’t wait to try them.
Hey, I was wondering what the Nutrition Facts on these babies are?
I don’t like dates, so I substitued organic wild blueberries. Unfortunately, the only type available were sweetened with cane sugar. I substituted a tablespoon of Penzey’s Raspberry Enlightenment for the water. The balls absorbed the first coating of cocoa powder, so I put them in the freezer for about 10 minutes and then dropped them in a small bag of cocoa ~ success! Next time I will chill them before the cocoa dusting. I’ll also be on the lookout for some organic dried unsweetened blueberries for my next batch. I calculated each ball at approximately 75 calories for 24 balls. I plan to eat one or two with a bowl of fresh organic raspberries and blueberries! YUM! What a great chocolate fix!
Megan, do you use cocoa powder or raw cacao? I have both in the cupboard (Green and Blacks cocoa powder and Choc Chick Organic raw cacao) and not sure which one to use! Thanks! x
You can use them both interchangeably– the taste difference is negligible to me, so it’s just a matter of personal preference!
What is the serving size of these?
I think I need to put more than 10 dates to make it a little sweeter. The cocoa powder was a bit bitter for me.
I made mine using a generous heaping tablespoon, but you can make them any size you like!
Oh my goodness! These are super easy and delicious! I did add 2 more dates though…..I have a major sweet tooth! 🙂
Made these today, as written. So delicious! Thank you for a great recipe!
I made these tonight and they are wonderful. I rolled mine in coconut for something different and they are delicious! Thanks
Made these yesterday and brought them to dinner with a couple of my girlfriends – they were a huge hit! I scooped smaller brownie balls and this recipe made a whole bunch! 20 or so. I’ve made raw brownie bites in the past, but I really enjoyed your recipe… they came out nice and moist and perfectly chocolatey. I used cacao powder for a nutritional boost. TASTY! Will definitely be making these again.
I’ve been making many of your recipes and this was a huge HUGE hit! so easy to make and I even made it in my vitamix bc I don’t own a food processor and it didn’t get stuck at the bottom as much as I would have thought. Thanks for your ideas! love them…
I have made several of your recipe’s and am always passing your website to friends/family trying to eat better. Thanks for the great recipe, they’ve were a life savor when we went through a cleansing diet. I just made this one today and it’s really good. I think I will have to watch out so I don’t eat too many.
These look awesome, but dates are loaded with sugar!!! One cup of dates has 93 grams of sugar and are over 100 grams of carbohydrates. I realize we are not eating the entire cup of dates in one sitting, but that is not the point. This is not the only thing you are likely to consume that has sugar in it, and it adds up throughout the day. If you are on a low carb. diet, this treat will not be a good one to have. People, you need to do your own research on the deleterious effects of sugar in the diet, especially fructose. It is best all around to break the sugar habit. If you must eat chocolate (and I do) I go for 90% dark chocolate with a very limited amount of sugar. It is bad enough that we get it in the fruits we consume. There is no healthy reason to add extra sugar to the diet via sweets like this.
So delicious – I’ve made these about four times already for myself and my Sweetie. They are so yummy and a healthy indulgent sweet! xx
When I sent this recipe to my Mum she was very sceptical. I made it up today with a mix of pecans and walnuts, and I rolled them in coconut. Mum is totally converted. She could not just eat one! Great recipe, you would never guess there is no sugar except for the dates.
I’m allergic to walnuts- what other nut will work?
MEGAN.I have made these a couple of times now, but both times I added a tablespoon or 2 of goat cheese (might have been honey chevre) and they have been absolutely indulgent! I’m sure they are still so good without the goat cheese, but if you want to mix it up, I highly recommend you give this twist a try 😉
Greatest things ever! A few tweaks:
-organic almond meal instead of walnuts
-Cacao powder instead of cocoa
-Shot of espresso instead of water
the coffee sets it off!
Thanks Megan – love your recipes 🙂
I made these tonight and they are awesome 🙂
my kids and i made these today. we subbed oat flour for the walnuts (i have a tree nut allergy). they were DELICIOUS!! thanks for sharing such a valuable recipe!! 🙂
I liked these so much more than I thought I would and my toddler gobbled them up and kept saying “mmmm!” Love giving her treats that are actually good for her!
What food processor do you have/use/reccommend? I have a little mini one that is too small, a Magic bullet that isn’t powerful enough, and even my VitaMix wasn’t up for this job!
I use an old KitchenAid food processor that I got in college– so mine’s 10 years old, but it still works great! I don’t think they make my exact model anymore, but I’ve seen great reviews about this Cuisinart food processor lately:
Cuisinart 14-cup processor
My 14 c Cuisinart did a great job.
I tried these but felt like the walnut flavor was really overpowering. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll try it again but this time maybe swapping out a percentage of the walnuts for another nut.
I made these tonight and they are amazing!! Everyone who tasted them loved them! Thank you so much for the recipe. I made them with cashews
These are awesome! As for the people freaking over the natural sugar in the dates…..relax, it’s meant to be an occasional treat, not a daily meal. Some people, like myself, love sweetened chocolate. Yes, dark is healthier, and I do eat it but I’d be lying to me and you both if I said I actually liked it. I only recently started eating clean and to be honest if I couldn’t occasionally dabble in a little sweetened chocolate luxury I don’t know that I could stick with it. Do I indulge daily? No. But once a week or every other week I like to sink my teeth into something as decadent as this and feel much less guilty than if I were scarfing a Hershey bar. Dates also have significant fiber, potassium, copper, manganese, magnesium & Vit B6 in addition to that sugar….so it’s not like consuming empty sugar grams with no nutrients. There are plenty of other chocolate recipes on here that stay in the low/no sugar realm….feel free to try one of those if you don’t like this one.
“Yes, dark is healthier, and I do eat it but I’d be lying to me and you both if I said I actually liked it
Wow! This looks so yummy. How long can they be kept in freezer?
Just made these and they were absolutely perfect. Filled my chocolate fix.
These are fantastic and the perfect little treat after a day full of veggies and meat.
Hi. This recipe is delicious! But is there a substitute for the dates since I’m trying to eat low sugary stuff? Also, what are the nutrition facts? Thanks.
Made these the other night and followed a recipe similar to this one.. The mix was very crumby and not formable so when it was put it the freezer, I just pulled out a tray of cold crumbs! Any way I can save it? Thanks!!
These are delicious. Thank you!
One quick question. They were super oily, as in my hands and the food processor were dripping with oil. Does that mean I processed it far too long or are they meant to be like that?
Yes, if they release that much oil it means they were processed too long! I just had that happen to me last week when I over-processed a batch of date energy balls (I forgot the food processor was running) and it’s such an oily mess! Definitely shouldn’t happen if you process until it just becomes sticky.
Still fully safe to eat though? (Provided I store then in the freezer?) Unprocessed oils can go rancid pretty quick, right?
I would definitely keep them chilled, but I’ve never had a problem with that. We do usually eat them quickly, though– within a week on average.
My own initial stab at these was a little too “loose” and oily, so I slung in a handful of oatmeal and gave it all another couple of pulses and that worked a treat!
YUM! wow these are perfect. It’s so hard to find sweets to make for a gluten free and diary free household. And these are great grab on the go snacks too. Can’t wait to try them out.
I made these last year, and my husband loved them!! I am getting ready to leave them for Santa. 🙂