No-Bake Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites

By Ann Fulton

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Capture the flavors of the season with these no-bake, satisfying bites that come together quickly and offer an option with zero added sugars or syrups.

Capture the flavors of the season with these no-bake, satisfying bites that come together quickly and offer an option with no added sugars or syrups.

 

Filling protein and fiber. Satiating fats. Warm spices. And pumpkin! 

These bite-size gems are packed with staying power and seasonal flavor, and a big batch comes together easily thanks to a quick blitz in the food processor.

Conveniently, the bites–which taste like a cross between a chewy granola bar and a pumpkin-flavored cookie dough–will keep in your fridge or freezer for easy snacking whenever hunger calls.

The energy bites are also gluten- and dairy-free, and the recipe delivers built-in flexibility. As you read the recipe, you’ll see the various ways you can mix and match ingredients to work with what you have in your pantry.    

In the nut department, you may use virtually any nut and mix in some seeds if you like. Toasting the nuts isn’t required, although it will add a hint more flavor.

I’ve used salted cashews mixed with pecans and pumpkin seeds as well as an almond/walnut combo. Just be cautious to not go too far out of bounds in terms of quantity. While the recipe is flexible, maintaining the general ratio of wet-to-dry ingredients will ensure the balls hold together well. 

Capture the flavors of the season with these no-bake, satisfying bites that come together quickly and offer an option with zero added sugars or syrups.

For the nut butter component, you may use your preferred variety. Almond and cashew butter have the most neutral flavor profile, while the flavor of peanut butter will be somewhat more pronounced (although quite tasty!). You could use a combination—or a seed butter if working around a nut allergy.

Additionally, you could use quick oats in place of old-fashioned in this recipe if that’s what you have in your pantry. I would not recommend steel cut, however, as they will not provide the same texture and binding power.

Last but not least, if you don’t have flax meal, chia seeds offer a perfect substitute. I haven’t tried, but an equal amount of hemp seeds (which are quite fine) would likely provide another worthy alternative. 

So let’s make some!

Capture the flavors of the season with these no-bake, satisfying bites that come together quickly and offer an option with zero added sugars or syrups.

Chopping the nuts and dates before adding to the processor will ensure that no big chunks remain. Where the dates are concerned, I prefer Medjool dates, although any variety may be used. The key is to use soft dates rather than older ones that have become tough and dry. 

If you have dates that are dry and tough, you can pour boiling water over them and soak for 10 minutes to rehydrate them. Do drain the now soft and plump dates very well and pat dry. Too much residual water clinging to the dates may create a wet batter and alter the outcome of the bites.

Someone recently suggested rehydrating dried dates with a flavored liquid, like rum, bourbon, or a fruit juice like cider. I haven’t tried, but it’s something to consider. (Perhaps we’d have to rename a liquor-infused bite–Tipsy Bites has a certain ring to it!)

Capture the flavors of the season with these no-bake, satisfying bites that come together quickly and offer an option with zero added sugars or syrups.

Process until well combined and a “dough” has formed, scraping down the sides a few times, as needed. Tip: At this point, the dough should stick together when pressed into a small ball. If not, pulse a few more times.

Capture the flavors of the season with these no-bake, satisfying bites that come together quickly and offer an option with zero added sugars or syrups.

When measuring, be sure to level off the dry ingredients and thoroughly scrape the wet ingredients out of the measuring cups. This will ensure the right ratio of wet-to-dry ingredients so the balls stick together well when pinched or rolled into a ball. If this isn’t the case, you may need an additional spoonful of nut butter, honey, or pumpkin.

Capture the flavors of the season with these no-bake, satisfying bites that come together quickly and offer an option with zero added sugars or syrups.

The bites are also a fun project to make with kids and can be enjoyed as a convenient snack, wholesome dessert, or even an easy breakfast on the go. My nieces stashed a big bag in their freezer for easy lunch boxes additions.

My favorite flavor combinations are coconut + dark chocolate and white chocolate + dried cranberry. My nieces vote for semi-sweet morsels and cranberries. What combination would you enjoy? 

🧡

Capture the flavors of the season with these no-bake, satisfying bites that come together quickly and offer an option with zero added sugars or syrups.

Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites
Yield: about 25 bites (20-25g apiece)
Capture the flavors of the season with these no-bake, satisfying bites that come together quickly and offer an option with zero added sugars or syrups.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (90g) rolled oats
  • 1 cup (150g) lightly packed chopped and pitted dates (I like Medjool)*
  • ½ cup (60-65g) chopped cashews, pecans, or other nuts and/or seeds of choice**
  • ½ cup (128g) almond, cashew, or nut butter or choice (soften if cold from fridge)
  • ¼ cup (65g) pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup (30g) flaxseed meal (may sub ¼ cup (48g) chia seeds)
  • 2 tablespoons (40g) honey or pure maple syrup (optional***)
  • 1½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (homemade or store-bought)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Optional extras: ½ cup of shredded coconut, chocolate chips (dark, semi-sweet, white, or mini), dried cranberries, raisins or a mix of several
Instructions
  1. Add the oats, dates, nuts, nut butter, pumpkin, flaxseed meal, optional maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and optional coconut to a food processor. Process until well combined and a “dough” has formed, scraping down the sides a few times, as needed. Tip: At this point, the dough should stick together when pressed into a small ball. If not, pulse a few more times. If the dry ingredients were over-scooped, the dates were dry, or the full amount of nut butter wasn’t scraped from the measuring cup, you may need an additional spoonful of nut butter and/or maple syrup or honey.
  2. Add the chocolate chips or any of the other optional add-ins to the food processor and pulse just enough to combine. (Alternatively, sometimes I omit the add-ins and simply press 5 or 6 chocolate chips into each ball as I’m rolling them.)
  3. Use your hands to roll the dough into 1-inch balls.
  4. Storage: Enjoy immediately or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 1 week. The balls also freeze well for up to 3 months. (To quickly thaw, warm a bite in the microwave for about 12 seconds, give or take a few depending on microwave. It doesn’t take long!)
Notes & Tips

*To ensure the mixture has enough moisture to stick together, soft, moist dates are important. If your dates are firm and dry, soak them in hot water for 15 minutes or so, and then drain very well.

**I like to use any combination of slivered almonds, salted cashews, pecans, and pepitas. Raw nuts will benefit from toasting, but the bites will still taste great if you skip that step. To avoid big chunks, do roughly chop the nuts before using, especially if using whole almonds, as almonds are one of the harder nuts and take longer to break down.

***The original recipe used ¼ cup of honey, although I have also made these balls successfully with none at all and with a middle ground of 2 tablespoons. I recommend choosing no syrup, 2T, or ¼ cup as a low-medium-high framework based on your preferred level of sweetness. Keep in mind that you can taste this batter as you make it and adjust to taste.

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

 

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