The idea for these Mocha Almond Energy Bites started when my good friend, Brian, the author of Climbing Nutrition, reached out. Brian is the kind of guy that just knows things: friendly botanist, guy with the killer butternut squash pie recipe, latte art consultant, board game extraordinaire, and handstand master. The list goes on. But what people know him best for is his expertise in nutrition: he's a a Certified Sports Nutritionist from the International Society of Sports Nutrition. So, when I want to know what kind of nutrients I’ll need in order to stay fueled on a climbing trip, Brian is the guy I ask.
He's known for bringing along some odd (but delicious) snacks when we go climbing—including a 1-gallon bag of cooked sweet potatoes- but don’t hold that against him. It’s usually because those snacks are really good for you. Which brings me to the point (finally!): Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be working on a series called Trail Snacks, recipes for food you can take with you on your adventures, inspired by some of Brian’s insights (bag of sweet potatoes not included). The goal is to bring "yum" and science together to give you on-the-go bites that work!
These Mocha Almond Energy Bites are first. They are easy to make, and easy to transport (and a whole lot lighter in your backpack than a gallon of sweet potatoes). But they’re also functional: made with dates, they’ll provide your body with easily, snackable, and accessible energy while you are on the go (read Brian's research on carbohydrate timing if you're an athlete!). These little bites have just a touch of coffee, which has my inner coffee-addict cheering. You’re not going to feel wired or get the shakes just from eating a few. But a bit of caffeine in your system might just do you good! I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been out climbing and I’ve said, “I could really go for an espresso right around now.”
No cook, real food, easy to pack, tastes like chocolate and good for you. What more could you ask for?
Yields: 20 | Total Time: 20 minutes
- 1 cup pitted medjool dates
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup shredded desiccated coconut
- 2 tablespoons cocoa
- 3/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder (I used Starbucks Via)
- 1/16 teaspoon salt
- For dusting: 1/2 cup cocoa powder or finely shredded desiccated coconut
- Place first seven ingredients in a food processor (I an old version of this one (affiliate link!), and love it!) Lock lid on food processor.
- Run food processor. Every minute or so, pause to unlock the lid and scrape down the sides with a spatula.
- Repeat step 2 until the mixture begins to clump together — this is how you know it’s almost done! Repeat step 2 one or two more times to ensure everything is evenly chopped and the mixture is quite sticky.
- Now, use your hands to roll the mixture by the tablespoonful into spheres. Set spheres on a plate or cookie sheet.
- Put the 1/2 cup cocoa or finely shredded coconut in a bowl. Two at a time, toss energy bites in the cocoa/coconut to coat. Set aside, and repeat until all are coated.
- Store in an airtight container.