The Biggest Balls of Them All- Peanut Butter Balls Revisited

For those who previously read, maybe even made the recipe I previously posted for no bake peanut butter balls.  I wasn’t happy with the anise or nutmeg, so I altered the recipe and came up with a new one that makes me oh so happy.  Enjoy these vegan and gluten-free protein filled sweets! ingredients

 

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cup peanut butter (I used creamy)
  • 1/3 cup, plus 2 Tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cardamon
  • 1/4 tsp clove
  • 3 Tablespoons raw unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons cup raw unsalted pumpkin seeds
  • 4 Tablespoons raw ground almonds
  • 2 Tablespoons raw sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup oats (gluten free)

Directions:PB balls

  1. Mix all the seeds together in an oven safe bowl and bake/ roast in the oven (or toaster oven) at 375.  I didn’t roast them too long, only long enough to bring out their nutty flavors, about 3-5 minutes.  Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.
  2. Meanwhile, in a separate medium size bowl, use an electric hand mixer to ease the mixing of the peanut butter, agave nectar, and all the spices.
  3. Next, stir in the sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame seeds. Once those are mixed in well, add the oats little amounts at a time as you may decide to use less per the consistency desired.
  4. Use your hands to knead all the ingredients evenly into the peanut butter dough and form into one big ball.
  5. If your dough is super soft, put in the refrigerator for about 5-10 minutes.
  6. When firm, but not too firm, form into 1″-2″ size balls, then put back into the refrigerator to chill all the way through.  They are tasty and satisfying this way.
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Gluten Free Peanut Butter Balls (No Bake)

A Ball Comparison

About a week or so ago my friend Maggie and I went to The Filling Station (located just off of McGee Trafficway), a unique coffee shop that not only offers coffee beverages, but also houses a juice bar, and offers tasty treats.  Normally I refrain from buying desserts at coffee shops to accompany my coffee, but due to my affinity for anything in ball shape, and the fact there were gluten free peanut butter balls in the case…..well, you know the outcome. I bought one, and so did Maggie.

The Filling Station (photo by JKramp@unionhill)

The Filling Station (photo by JKramp@unionhill)

These weren’t your ordinary peanut butter balls.  Upon first glance, one could tell there were pumpkin seeds in them, but to this day I cannot remember what else.  All I remember is that with every nibble, Maggie and I were trying to determine the peanut butter mingled flavors and spices we were tasting.  She thought anise, I thought clove.  We both agreed on cinnamon and probably agave rather than honey.  The relevance of narrowing down every flavor was due to our confidence that we could replicate these balls at home.

Now a week or so later:
First, I googled a base recipe for “no bake” peanut butter balls.  Most of them called for chocolate chips, some called for protein powder (ech), and most called for oats and ground flax seed (flax meal).  I don’t recall oats being a part of the equation in the original balls, and because flax can be undetected I don’t know if it was in the original balls either, however, I decided to add a little of both ingredients for texture and health benefits.  No way did I add chocolate chips.  I personally liked the original balls because of the unique blend of spices paired peanut butter, and chocolate chips with peanut butter is so passé.

Second, I gathered my ingredients….minus the clove.  I thought I had some in my cabinet and when I went to reach for it, it was beyond my grasp.  Oh well- when it came down to the nitty gritty, I didn’t really find a base recipe I liked online, so I winged it.  I am sharing the recipe I ended up with….so far, as I will continue experimenting with and tweaking this recipe.

No Bake Gluten Free Peanut Butter Balls

pb balls 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peanut butter (I used creamy)
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1/4 tsp anise *
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg *
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed (flax meal)
  • 1/2 cup oats (gluten free)
  • 1/4 cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw unsalted pumpkin seeds

Directions:

  1. In a medium size bowl, use an electric hand mixer to ease the mixing of the peanut butter, agave nectar, and all the spices.
  2. Next, stir in the flax meal, followed by the oats.  Once those are well blended, add the sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
  3. Use your hands to knead all the seeds into the peanut butter dough and form into one big ball.
  4. If your dough is super soft, put in the refrigerator for about 5-10 minutes.
  5. When firm, but not too firm, form into 1″-2″ size balls, then put back into the refrigerator to chill all the way through.  They are tasty and satisfying this way.

*As I said previously, I want to sample the originals balls again to better determine the spices.  It is the nutmeg or the anise, or both that don’t seem right- I think they need clove.  Overall, these balls did turn out fabulous! Enjoy! ….and I welcome your feedback.

Overall, my husband loves these balls- I even love them, but they are not up to par with the outcome of what I wanted.  When I get a minute, I plan on going back down to The Filling Station, buying two of their peanut butter balls, bringing them home, and savoring them with my husband who has always been a good partner in helping me figure out how to replicate some of our favorite treats, desserts, appetizers, and entrees that we’ve discovered in cafes and restaurants.

Cherry-Almond Granola Bars

  • From Bon Appetit 2012

    I made these bars around the Winter Solstice holiday of 2012 and they were fabulous!!!!! The first time I made them I didn’t have sunflower seeds, yet I don’t think it affected my final product negatively. Also because the flavor of the flaxseeds was more prominent than I wanted, this second time around I only used 1 tablespoon of flax seeds rather than 2.  I also toasted the coconut a little, used dried cranberries instead of dried cherries, and because I love the crunch of nuts, I added 1/4 cup of pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds).  For some added flavors I added 1/4 teaspoon vanilla to the liquid ingredients, along with 1 teaspoon of crystalized ginger.  These can also be made vegan by replacing honey with agave nectar. To eliminate any confusion regarding my recipe tweaks, I will repeat these changes, highlighting them in bold, as I go into the recipe below……

    homemade granola bars

    Cherry-Almond Granola Bars: 

    INGREDIENTS:
    2 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats

    3/4 cup whole raw almonds

    1/4 cup coconut oil plus more

    3/4 cup (4 ounces) coarsely chopped dried tart cherries (second time around I used dried cranberries instead)

    3/4 cup (3 ounces) unsweetened finely shredded coconut

    1/2 cup (3 ounces) roasted unsalted shelled sunflower seeds

    2 tablespoons flaxseeds, toasted (second time around I used 1 tablespoon)

    1/4 cup pepitas  (my addition)

    1/2 cup honey (vegan alterations, use agave nectar- maybe even experiment with date or rice syrup)

    1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar

    1/4 teaspoon vanilla (my addition)

    1 teaspoon crystalized ginger (my addition)

    1 teaspoon kosher salt

    (INGREDIENT INFO)
    Coconut oil, unsweetened finely shredded coconut, crystalized ginger, pepitas and flaxseeds can be found at natural foods stores and some supermarkets.

    crystalized ginger coconut oilpepitas

    PREPARATION
    Preheat oven to 400°. Mix oats and almonds on a large heavy rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring once, until just golden, about 10 minutes. If you want to toast the coconut as I did the second time around, bake almonds and oats for 8 minutes, then add coconut and toast for the remainder 2 minutes or so.) Transfer to a wire rack; let cool on sheet. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.

    almonds & oats
    Meanwhile, brush a 13 x 9 x 2-inch metal or glass baking dish with coconut oil. Line with parchment paper, allowing it to extend over long sides. Brush paper with coconut oil.

    lined pan brushed with oil
    Brush a large bowl generously with oil. Place oat mixture, cherries, coconut, sunflower seeds, and flaxseeds in bowl.

    dry ingredients mixed
    Bring 1/4 cup oil, honey, sugar, and salt to a boil in a medium heavy deep saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil for 1 minute.

    IMG_1726

    If adding the crystalized ginger, pulverize in a food processor- I use my mini food processor.

    ginger pulverized ginger

    Then add the ginger and vanilla to the honey/ brown sugar concoction.  Immediately pour over oat mixture in bowl. Using a heatproof spatula, stir until evenly coated. Transfer granola to prepared pan. Lightly press evenly into pan; smooth top. I coated my palms with coconut oil before pressing the mixture into the pan- prevents sticking. 

    pressed into pan

    Bake for 10 minutes. Turn pan; continue baking until golden brown with slightly darker edges, about 15 minutes longer.Transfer pan to a wire rack and let granola cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift granola from pan. Cut into 24 bars. DO AHEAD Bars can be made 4 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

    lifted out of pan with parchment paper homemade granola bars, pre cut cut in squares

    Per my usual request, if you make these: let me know what you think, whether or not you added your own tweaks, what they were if you did, and your outcome…….Enjoy!