Chocolate Bean Balls

Chocolate Bean Balls.  Those are three words that I never thought I’d use in a sentence, never mind in a recipe.   I think this must have been the delicious dish that caused all the fuss in that Saturday Night Live skit.  You know the one – with Alec Baldwin (a.k.a Pete Schweddy) and his irresistible…..spheres.    If you could make it past the innuendo and the double entendres, you remember that the ladies really were quite taken with the delicious, though rather unfortunately shaped, treats.  The skit ran out of time before they were able to discuss the real merits of the delightful little orbs, which is a pity, because I think these are just about as perfect as it gets for a hiking snack.

This weekend we finally had a break in the rain and we wasted no time in getting out to the hiking trails.  Saturday we went to Eklutna:


And Sunday we went to Crow Pass:


Stopping at the Raven Glacier overlook for lunch and to laze in the sun.


About 15 minutes from this lovely little lunch spot, I had completely burned through my breakfast.  I was carrying sliced jicama and apple peanut butter, the boyfriend had darted ahead with the rest.  Since it was either spread out my back country tupperware party in the middle of the trail, or press on,  I pressed on.  If only I’d had a little grab bag of these chocolate treats at hand!  I find that they give me some instant energy, thanks to the sweet dates and small amount of caffeine in the espresso powder, but also have some staying power from the fat (<2g / ball), slow digesting fiber and protein (3g/ball).

It may seem a little strange to put beans, chocolate and coffee into one treat, but it’s time to move on from three beans being relegated to the old salad stand-by.  Why not a three bean dessert?  Or hiking snack?  Just don’t eat these near any moose nuggets, or the tourists may get the wrong idea….

[recipe title=”Chocolate Bean Balls” servings=”20 balls” time=”10 min ” difficulty=”easy”]

1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
10 medjool dates, pitted (about 5.5 ounces)
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup quick cooking rolled oats (about 3 ounces)
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pulse the rolled oats in a food processor fitted with an S-blade until they become an oat flour.  Pour into a bowl and set aside.  Process remaining ingredients in the now empty food processor bowl until smooth.  Add reserved oat flour and process until fully incorporated.  Roll into balls and serve.


This recipe was adapted from the lovely and inspirational Delisa Renideo.  If you’re a local and you want to learn from the best, check out her classes and multiple on-line offerings!

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