Bliss balls also known as protein balls, energy bites or truffles are the perfect snack. They satisfy that sweet craving yet are refined sugar free, mostly relying on the natural sugars found in dates and other dried fruits.
There are so many different combinations floating around the internet. It’s so much fun to see people getting creative with these delicious treats.
Many bliss balls are made with nuts, which are a wonderful source of protein and flavor. However with allergies on the rise, most schools these days are nut-free. This means packing snacks that are nutritious, easy and tasty can be challenging but not impossible!
My girls have food allergies so I wanted to create something that was allergy-friendly too. These are free from the top 8 major allergens making them an ideal, safe snack to pack in your child’s lunchbox or serve to your guests.
My recipe uses sunflower seed butter and ground sunflower seeds. Grinding the seeds really provides texture and crunch.
I also added raw cacao powder, which in its natural form, is a great source of iron and magnesium. Plus, you have all the benefits of chocolate without the guilt.
For an added burst of color, roll them with freeze dried raspberries and unsweetened shredded coconut. If you can’t find freeze dried raspberries, more cacao powder or shredded coconut are nice options too. If you want to be really decadent, dip them in melted dark chocolate.
When I make a batch, I store them in the freezer so that I can pop them into my kids snack boxes. By lunchtime, you can bet that they will be devoured.
Not only do my kids love them but they make a tasty and elegant snack to serve your grown-up friends with coffee or tea.
Even if you don’t have food allergies, they are a nice change of flavor. As their name implies, they really are a burst of energy, blissfully making it easier to get through any mid-afternoon slump. 🌻
Sunflower Cacao Balls (Nut-Free)
Top 8 Free
Serving: Makes about 10 bite size truffles
- 5 oz dates, about 1 cup ( Medjool or Arya) –soaked and pitted. *See Notes
- 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, unsalted & ground
- ¼ cup sunflower seed butter, room temperature. I use Sunbutter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp date soaking water plus more if needed
- 3 tsp raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut plus extra for rolling
- freeze dried raspberries, crushed
Prepare one small baking sheet or plate lined with parchment paper. You will also need two small plates or two sheets of parchment paper for rolling the balls. Set aside.
Place pitted dates in a bowl and cover with 1 cup hot water. Soak for 10-15 minutes or until softened especially if dates are hard. Less soaking time will be needed if dates are fresh. Remove dates, reserving soaking liquid.
In a small food processor, pulse sunflower seeds until they are about the size of a grain of rice. Pour into a small bowl. Set aside.
In the same food processor, pulse dates until a soft paste forms. Add sunflower seed butter, vanilla and cacao powder. Pulse until blended together.
Using a spatula, combine date mixture with ground sunflower seeds. Gently add shredded coconut.
Add reserved date soaking liquid. Mix until well combined. Mixture should stick together. Add 1 teaspoon additional liquid at a time, if too dry.
Sprinkle plates, one with shredded coconut and another with freeze dried raspberries. Use enough to coat the outside of each ball.
Using a mini ice cream scoop, about a tablespoon each, portion out mixture into a consistency similar to a truffle. Roll each ball with shredded coconut and dried raspberries. They should easily stick to the outside.
Lay sunflower balls onto parchment lined baking sheet or plate. Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Eat & store in the refrigerator within a week (if they last that long) or store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Dates come in all shapes and varieties. If you have a scale, it is helpful to measure out the quantity listed in the recipe. I used Arya dates because they are less sweet but you can use Medjool.
- I love using this small ice cream scooper. I have a variety of sizes. I’ve found it is a handy multi-purpose kitchen tool. Using a scoop helps to control portion size when used for baking. Use also for macaroons, cookies, and fritter dough.
- For more recipe inspiration using sunflower seed butter, check out this fabulous lineup ” 19 Sunflower Butter Recipes That Prove It Deserves A Spot in Your Pantry” from Greatest ( my Sunflower Cacao Balls are found at #15).