Pre-Workout Treat: Chocolate and Peanut Protein Energy Balls

Although the diet for me has ended as I've reached my goal weight (woohoo!), I'm still being quite conscious of what I eat and want to make up the calories that I'm not used to having in a 'good' way. Of course, I can't resist a chocolate-related treat from time to time! I recently tried baking with protein powder again, after giving it a break having not found a recipe that was a real stand-out favourite in my household. It's so difficult! Perhaps it's the whey protein that we have, but there's something about it that completely changes the consistency and texture of the bake, and not in a good way. Anyway, these chocolate and peanut protein balls turned out AMAZING, and I think that's predominantly because they're no-bake! I think we've finally found a protein recipe that's going to be a staple!

I made two different styles of protein balls; one half of the batch were left as they were, whilst the others were rolled with some desiccated coconut. Once you have the basic recipe, you can add your own toppings and experiment (or leave them plain, an equally tasty choice). One thing that doesn't work as a topping is cocoa powder as it just dissolves into the balls! One topping idea is nuts; although this recipe already contains (a relatively small amount of) them, you can always coat the balls in some finely chopped nuts to decorate. I also used chocolate chips within this recipe just to make them extra chocolatey, but you can always switch these out for some raisins if you like the choco-raisin combo.

These are also quite calorific for the size; each ball is 119 calories (based on the specific ingredients I used) but then they are quite a filling snack, don't contain too much rubbish, give a great energy boost (with the added protein is fab pre-workout) and would be an easy way to consume 'good' calories if you're on a 'bulk'. You can easily cut some calories from this recipe by reducing the amount of peanut butter (the main source of calories) and subbing out the chocolate chips.

Ingredients (Makes 10)
Time: 5-10 minutes prep, 30 minutes chilling time

70g rolled oats
20g whey protein (I used MyProtein chocolate flavour)
3g /1 tsp finely chopped almonds
3g / 1 tsp finely chopped hazlenuts (you don't have to use these nuts- add in whichever you like or have in your cupboard! Chia seeds could be a good addition.)
2-3g cacao powder (you can usually get these from health food stores but Aldi also sell it!)
75g peanut butter
40g maple syrup
30-35g chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-3 tbsp liquid, such a water (for lower calorie balls) or milk (whole milk for higher calorie)

Combine the peanut butter, vanilla and maple syrup in a bowl and then add the dry ingredients. Mix it all well until it's all stuck together and combined nicely. If you find the mixture is a tad dry (you want it to all come together and hold when you go to make the individual balls), start adding the liquid bit by bit until you get the perfect consistency. 1-3 tbsp is a rough estimate, you may need less or more. You don't want the mixture to be too sticky, but then you also don't want it so dry that it will crumble and not hold its form properly. Once you've found this perfect balance, start making the balls by getting a bit of the mixture and just rolling it in your hand (as you would with playdough!). If you want to coat the balls with a topping, do so now! Place the balls on a baking tray and leave them to set in the fridge for half an hour.

I prefer to eat them from chilled, so I kept mine in a sealed container in the fridge. I don't know how long these last as they were all eaten within a few days- I would say perhaps 3-5 days, but this hasn't been tested as they haven't stayed around long enough. You could also use a food processor to make these- just chuck in all the ingredients and blitz them together, then adding the liquid bit by bit until you get the right consistency. I didn't use my food processor just because I wanted to be able to mix the mixture and gauge whether it needed more liquid that way. It's such an easy recipe that really doesn't take long to make. Whether you're a baking pro or world's worst chef, this is such a fool-proof recipe but one that tastes so good! It's the perfect little chocolate fix for when you're dieting or trying to watch what kind of foods you are eating, not to mention such a good pre-workout treat for all you gym-lovers. Let me know if you try them!

Pretty and Polished


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