Your favorite fall flavors with little bursts of chocolate, all in a super quick, easy and portable snack that packs in so much healthy goodness, and is also gluten-free, nut-free, and can be made vegan. They won’t be around for long, so make sure you get your hand on some of these Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Energy Balls.
Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Energy Balls
Fall is my favorite season. Watching the leaves slowly change color and begin to drop off the trees as I take leisurely walks through the neighborhood. The little guy going back to school so that I have a couple hours a day to run some errands, do some chores, sit around and procrastinate on Facebook. Weekends spent roaming through apple orchards, tromping through pumpkin patches, or curled up on the couch with a bowl of chili, a bottle of hard cider, and a lineup of college football games on TV all day. Brainstorming ideas and gathering supplies for Halloween costumes. Pumpkin recipes coming out of my kitchen left and right.
Yeah, not this year. Why, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you…
- First of all, it’s been so dry that it is barely mid-September and the leaves have gone from green to brown to on the ground in the span of a week. And leisurely walks? HAH! If I do make it out onto the sidewalk, it is usually with The Bug on his bike, and that goes something like this – pedal, pedal, swerve, slow down, get stick on huge bump on side walk, ooooh leaves, pedal, stop , pedal, STICKS!!!!, pedal, pedal, turn around, get stuck on grass, pedal, TREESSSSS!!, stop, stuck again, MORE LEAVES MOMMY CAN I PLEASE TAKE THIS LEAF HOME, pedal, stop, pedal pedal, stop.
And we’ve made it about half a block. I don’t envision the Tour de France i this kid’s future.
- Both boys are in school or daycare at least a few days a week, so I basically drive around in circles doing drop-offs and pick-ups, and during the time I am home, I am frantically packing and cleaning and staging since we are T-minus one week from our house going on the market, and less than that before we have to have photos taken that don’t reflect the fact that two little boys and food blogger trash the place on a daily basis.
And then I have to keep it looking that way.
- I’ll be spending my weekends roaming through new neighborhoods in a new state, tromping through house after house after house because this one has a yard the size of a postage stamp or that one isn’t in a good school district, or this one doesn’t have a gas stove or that one doesn’t have good natural light in a room adjacent to or fairly near the kitchen.
- The kid wants to be Spy Mouse. Spy what?! Spy Mouse. A game on his Kindle that he plays all of 20 minutes a day, and yet it has overtaken his life. He talks about it all the time, creates tag-type games based on it, wants to make Spy Mouse a cheesecake for his birthday. A KINDLE GAME! Not a movie, not a show, not a book, not a character that exists anywhere other than a KINDLE GAME! Gray sweatsuit + mouse ears = Halloween costume. King Stuff is going to get dressed up as cheese. Kind of ironic since the kid hates cheese. Whatever.
- In the midst of all of this I’m lucky I have had time to open a can of pumpkin. Forget baking. Guess what?! You get BALLS…
So my little guys have been obsessed with energy bars and energy balls, and these Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Energy Balls are no exception. With the natural sweetness from dates, a bit of warmth from pumpkin pie spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, and of course the pumpkininny goodness and just teensy little bursts of chocolate, which remarkably pairs so well with pumpkin, these are a big hit.
Because of all the craziness going on, I’ve made a bunch of snacks I can easily grab and hand to them if they need a little more of something in their bellies after their morning yogurt with fruit, or if we are on our way out the door right when they are starting to get hungry for an afternoon snack. I’ve also been making more nut-free munchies to send to school with The Bug. You’ll be seeing all of the recipes coming up soon, since they have been staples in our house the past couple weesk. Even King Stuff has added “bar” and “ball” and “snack” to his ever-growing vocabulary, and will stand outside the fridge and use his new favorite words.
Speaking of the fridge, you’re probably going to want to keep them in the refrigerator. Since these have pumpkin puree, whereas my other versions were made exclusively with dried fruit, these are a bit softer. But I didn’t want to add more of the dry stuff because I wanted to keep that pumpkin flavor in the forefront, and not muddled by other ingredients. Not that they aren’t chock full of all kinds of healthy goodness – pumpkin seeds for protein but still keeping them nut-free, oats for whole grains, flax seeds for omega 3’s, and chocolate, because well, chocolate. Use gluten free oats if needed, vegan chips (or omit entirely or use cacao nibs) for vegan, and you have a snack anybody and everybody will happily devour!
What is your favorite thing about fall?
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- 1 cup pitted dates
- ½ cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- ½ cup uncooked oats (gluten free, if needed)
- ¼ cup ground flax seed or flax meal
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds/pepita
- 2 Tablespoons mini chocolate chips (vegan, if needed)
- Combine all of the ingredients except the chocolate chips in a food processor and process until it forms a paste.
- Stir in the chips.
- Using about a tablespoon of the mixture at a time, roll into balls.
- Store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
Want some more pumpkininniness? (Is that a word?)
- Individual Crustless Pumpkin Pies
- Pumpkin Maple Spice Granola Bars
- Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Cheesecake Tart
And here are some from my friends…
- Paleo Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes from My Whole Food Life
- Chocolate Dipped Homemade Pumpkin Pop Tarts from Happy Food Healthy Life
- Pumpkin Fudge Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars from Jen’s Favorite Cookies