Almond Bliss Bites — Vegan, Gluten-Free, Easily Made Raw

Date nut balls are no new thing, but these Almond Bliss Bites are a tasty twist. Inspired by Almond Joy bars, but so much better for you! Read on, or jump straight to the recipe, HERE.

Almond Bliss Bites (vegan, gluten-free, easily made raw -- inspired by Almond Joy bars, but healthier!) | Will Cook For Friends

Sweet and healthy are totally a thing.

If anyone tries to tell you eating healthy means cutting out all sweets, they need to just keep their opinions to themselves. We all know that sugar can be uber harmful, in a variety of ways (we’re only recently coming around to just how much damage a sugar-laden diet can do)… but that doesn’t mean a little natural sweetness every now and again can’t be healthy.

Enter: Almond Bliss Bites. These babies are rich, nutrient dense nuggets of deliciousness that, if you’re trying to eat healthy but still have a sweet tooth, need to be in your life.

Almond Bliss Bites (vegan, gluten-free, easily made raw -- inspired by Almond Joy bars, but healthier!) | Will Cook For Friends
Almond Bliss Bites (vegan, gluten-free, easily made raw -- inspired by Almond Joy bars, but healthier!) | Will Cook For Friends

These almond bliss bites are sweetened naturally with dates, and just a teensy bit of maple syrup. And besides the sweetness they’ve got loads of healthy fats from almonds and coconut oil, plus fiber and protein from the nuts.

Interestingly, when you find sweetness in nature, it’s almost always accompanied by fiber and other micronutrients (think fruits and vegetables). Refined sugar has none of those things, and because we add it to everything, it’s easy to overdo it and flood our system.

These are much closer to how nature intended sweetness to be. Rich, nutrient dense, and not cloying. You probably shouldn’t eat a million of them in a day, but because they’re so filling, you won’t be tempted to. Just a couple are enough to satisfy me at the end of the day, or help fuel me up before a workout.

Almond Bliss Bites (vegan, gluten-free, easily made raw -- inspired by Almond Joy bars, but healthier!) | Will Cook For Friends

These bites are quick and simple to make, and hold up well enough that you can throw some in a baggie and take them with you on the go. Even my husband has started taking a few to work with him to nosh on during the commute, which is saying something from a guy with a serious sweet tooth!

Do you have a favorite healthy sweet treat? Share in the comments below!

5.0 from 3 reviews
Almond Bliss Bites -- vegan, gluten-free, easily made raw (inspired by Almond Joy)
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: vegan, gluten-free, easily made raw
Serves: makes about 24-30 bites
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (6oz) whole raw almonds
  • 1 cup, rounded (5oz) pitted medjule dates
  • ½ cup (4.5oz) creamy almond butter (preferably unsweetened)
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2-3 drops almond extract
  • 2-3 drops coconut extract
  • Toasted coconut flakes, for garnish (preferably unsweetened)
  • pinch of salt (optional, omit if your almond butter is salty enough)
For the chocolate drizzle:
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil, melted
  • 2 TBSP pure maple syrup
  • 2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder, or raw cacao powder
Instructions
  1. Begin by soaking the dates in just enough water to cover them. Soak for at least 1 hour, or up to 2, then drain thoroughly.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the almonds until finely chopped. Add the dates, and blend until well chopped. Add the almond butter, extracts, and a small pinch of salt, and blend until everything comes together.
  3. If the mixture seems dry or crumbly, you can add a few drops of water to help bind it together. If it's super soft and sticky (too much so to roll easily) you can refrigerate the dough and dampen your hands for easier rolling. (The consistency will vary due to how moist the dates are -- future batches can be adjusted by soaking the dates more or less before blending. I like to keep these on the firmer side so they are easy to take with me in a baggie in my purse, but softer ones are still delicious, and can be kept in the freezer for a firmer consistency if you wish.)
  4. Roll the mixture into balls (I made about two dozen balls, about the size of walnuts -- you can make yours larger or smaller) and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
For the chocolate:
  1. In a small bowl, melt together the coconut oil and maple syrup. Make sure this mixture is nice and warm, then add the cocoa powder and stir until smooth. Be sure to mix the chocolate up right when you're ready to use it, as it's difficult to re-warm without breaking.
  2. Drizzle the chocolate over the almond balls. You can do this with a spoon, but I found it easier to pour the chocolate into the corner of a small baggie, and snip off the corner to "pipe" the chocolate.
  3. While the chocolate is wet, sprinkle toasted coconut flakes on top. Allow to cool until the chocolate has set up, or place in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes.
  4. Balls will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a couple of weeks, or can be stored in the fridge or freezer.
Notes
There are two kinds of coconut oil out there. Refined, and virgin. Refined coconut oil has no coconut flavor, while virgin coconut oil does. For this recipe I used virgin coconut oil, to help add just a hint more coconut flavor to the chocolate drizzle.

To make these bites raw, be sure to use a raw almond butter, or make your own by processing extra almonds until completely smooth. Oh, and leave the coconut un-toasted.

To toast your own coconut flakes: spread unsweetened shredded coconut on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake at 350 for 2 - 5 minutes. Stir once or twice if they are browning unevenly, then remove from the oven and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container or baggie at room temperature.

 

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12 Responses to Almond Bliss Bites — Vegan, Gluten-Free, Easily Made Raw

  1. Kim @ Three Olives Branch January 21, 2017 at 10:52 am #

    These look delicious! They completely remind me of Samoas, which I am obsessed with. Yum!!

    • Willow Arlen January 21, 2017 at 11:09 am #

      Ooh, now that you mention it they are a little samoa like! I guess I was too distracted by the similarities with almond joy bars to notice that. Whatever they’re like, though, they’re super yummy!

  2. Michele @ Flavor Mosaic January 21, 2017 at 11:25 am #

    These look delicious yet are so much healthier. I need to give these a try.

  3. Raia January 21, 2017 at 12:11 pm #

    Wow. Seriously amazing. I want the whole batch, right now! Definitely pinning for the next time I have almonds on hand…

  4. Debra C. January 21, 2017 at 1:11 pm #

    I love your comment about sweetness in nature – that’s so true! Your bites are perfect – I love the serving size too just right for a sweet treat!

    • Willow Arlen January 22, 2017 at 9:38 am #

      Thanks Debra! It really is so nice to have them in little bite-sized pieces. They’re easy to grab, and because they’re so filling I’m not tempted to eat a ton.

  5. Veena Azmanov January 21, 2017 at 2:22 pm #

    Oh these looks so pretty – they would look absolutely love on my get together with the ladies next weekend. Thanks

    • Willow Arlen January 22, 2017 at 9:37 am #

      You’re welcome, Veena! I hope the ladies enjoy them. :)

  6. Ruby & Cake January 21, 2017 at 7:32 pm #

    Noooo I have developed a painful intolerance to almonds and these are just too tempting. Do you think they would work with pecans? and homemade peanut butter instead of almond butter? They look delicious :)

    • Willow Arlen January 22, 2017 at 9:30 am #

      Oh noes! I haven’t tried it myself, but I’m betting these would work with a variety of nuts. Peanut butter and pecans sounds perfect!

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