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Chocolate Energy Balls taste like little brownie bites, and they are 100% fruit-sweetened! All you need is 5 simple ingredients to make them.

chocolate date balls in white bowl

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:

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.

Walnuts ground in food processor

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.

 

Dates and cacao powder processed in food processor

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.

Date mixture scooped and rolled into balls

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!

date energy balls rolled in cacao powder

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.)

walnuts and squishy Medjool dates measured out for the recipe

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 date balls in white bowl

Chocolate Energy Balls (5-ingredients!)

4.94 from 61 votes
These Chocolate Energy Balls are date-sweetened, and made with just 5 simple ingredients. They taste like a little brownie bite! Vegan & Paleo friendly.
prep10 mins total10 mins
Servings:12

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)

Instructions

  • In a large food processor fitted with an "S" blade, grind the walnuts into a fine meal.
    walnuts ground in food processor
  • Add in the rest of the ingredients, and process again until a sticky, uniform dough is formed.
    dates and cacao powder added to the food processor
  • 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.
    scooped and rolled into balls on pan
  • Store the balls in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Video

Notes

Nutrition information is for 1 of 12 balls. This will vary if you get more balls out of the recipe.
If you don’t have walnuts on hand, pecans would be the most similar substitute because of their texture. Almonds and cashews will be harder, so make sure to grind them well before adding in the rest of the ingredients.

Nutrition

Calories: 135kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 49mg | Potassium: 172mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 0.8mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate energy balls

Notes:

  • 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!

Enjoy!

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite chocolate dessert?

Megan Gilmore leaning on her white countertop.

Megan Gilmore

Hi, Iā€™m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned best-selling cookbook author. I create healthy recipes made with simple ingredients to make your life easier.

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Comments

    1. 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. šŸ™‚ 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 šŸ™‚

      1. Thank you for sharing your substitution with prunes, Katherine. You’ve encouraged me try that as well : )

  1. 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 :).

  2. 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?

  3. 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?

      1. Hi Megan. Love this recipe btw šŸ™‚ just wondering what the life expectancy for these yummy bites? šŸ™‚

        1. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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!!!

    1. 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):
      Skinny Chocolate:
      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.

      1. Good idea, Sophia! Walnuts make the inside of my cheeks swell up. I’ll use maple syrup instead of stevia.

  6. Yummo! I can’t wait to try these little bites. My favorite chocolate dessert is a really good quality, organic dark chocolate bar.