If you love granola bars and baked oatmeal, then I am confident you will gobble up these amaranth, almond and pear energy balls, which are yet another way to eat your cereal on the go, sans spoon! They require no baking, a short list of ingredients, and, in addition to breakfast, are an ideal snack (think energy boost + hunger zap) any time of the day.
We all need these.
In my last post, I mentioned that amaranth porridge can be a convenient, quick breakfast because it can be made ahead of time and then reheated in 1-2 minutes. The balls are another option for that same cooked, cooled amaranth. The cooled porridge is already naturally thick and sticky, so I was happy to discover that it took very little added sweetener–only 2 tablespoons–and 1/2 of a cup of almond butter to achieve the right level of both sweetness and cohesion.
Here are the ingredients, mostly pantry items. I love the combination of almonds and dried pears, but any nut or seed butter (peanut butter and sunflower seed butter are great!), nuts/seeds, and dried fruit can be used in their place. And if you want these to taste like cookie dough, simply add a bit of vanilla extract and swap the fruit and nuts for some miniature dark chocolate chips.
I reached for coconut flour to stiffen the dough, as well as provide another layer of gentle sweetness. It is such a great ingredient for no-bake bars of all kinds for these very reasons. It also adds to the energy-boosting power of these mini treats: it is very high in dietary fiber (i.e., beneficial to digestion, keeps you feeling pleasantly full), contains significant amounts of protein (more than all-purpose wheat flour) , and despite lending subtle sweetness to foods, it will not spike blood sugar. In other words, if you are wondering what to eat post-workout, or simply to sustain energy throughout the day, consider making something with coconut flour!
To make amaranth porridge: In medium saucepan, over medium heat, toast 1/2 cup amaranth, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until fragrant. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 2-1/2 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 25 to 35 minutes or until very smooth and creamy and a lot (but not all) of the liquid is absorbed. Cool. This will yield about 2 cups; use half for the energy balls recipe.
Flavor boost options: Add 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom and/or 1/8 teaspoon almond extract along with the syrup in step 1.
Storage: Store the balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 weeks or the freezer for up to 6 months. The balls can be transported at room temperature for approximately 8 hours (as long as it is not too hot out).
Higher Protein Option: Replace the coconut flour with an equal amount of your favorite plain or vanilla plant-based protein powder.