…As in, there are five ingredients, and it only takes five minutes to make! Yesssss….[insert gratuitous fist-pumping here]
A few posts ago, I gave you a recipe for some sweet little snack cakes, and the one drawback I saw with those was their lack of structural integrity when left out of the freezer for more than about seven minutes. Well, my friends, I have some good news. Recently, I came across this recipe for the Magic Five, and I am quite excited about it…no refrigeration required. They are super simple to make and, as a bonus, they contain cocoa, which always puts any food up a few notches in my book.
So, a few notes. The recipe calls for dates which, at first glance, might turn a few of you off, but you should hear me out. Dates are an underrated little snack that can help bind things together, sweeten a recipe without adding a bunch of crap, and also help with a host of health issues that you may or may not be aware of. The lowly date has all kinds of fiber, calcium and other trace minerals like potassium, magnesium and copper. Dates can also help relieve constipation and intestinal disorders, as well as aid in weight loss and relieve diarrhea. It is also said that eating one date a day can help maintain your eye health. (I’m not sure how one date a day stacks up against staring at the internet for a few hours, but what can you do. It can’t hurt.)
You will also find unsweetened cocoa powder in these little jewels, which, aside from being awesome in its own right, has a very interesting history of health benefits. The Latin name for the plant from which it is derived is thermobroma cacoa…literally “food of the gods”. Indeed. And historically, cocoa was thought to aid in everything from fatigue and indigestion to heart issues, respiratory illnesses, and cancer. It was even thought to cure depression (but we knew that). In addition, the Mayans and the Aztecs believed it could confer immortality on those who consumed it.
I’m not sure about you, but I’m not looking for immortality…just a tasty treat that might have a few health benefits on the side.
Of which cocoa has many. We know it contains antioxidants…that’s no secret. But it also contains things like polyphenols, which have been shown to stop the proliferation of breast, prostate, and colon cancer cells. It contains copper, which helps with the oxygenation of red blood cells, and magnesium, which helps support cardiovascular health, blood pressure stability and protein synthesis. There are also a ton of “feel good” chemicals like serotonin that help increase endorphins and dopamine, which means a slightly euphoric feeling. Cocoa also helps with immune function, cognition, and detoxification.
It’s a regular multivitamin! Who knew…?
Of course, we’re not talking about Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or a KitKat. The nutritional benefits of cocoa decrease as the amount of milk and additives increases. That is to say, organic cocoa is better than dark chocolate is better than milk chocolate.
All this aside, what is the recipe, you ask? Read on.
Magic 5 Snack Bites
1 c. raw almonds
1 c. fresh dates, pitted (about 8 dates)
2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 T. unsweetened, shredded coconut
dash of sea salt
–Throw all ingredients in a Vitamix or food processor. Blend until the mixture is small crumbles.
–Using a tablespoon, scoop out the mix and form it into small balls. Continue until you have used it all. Store in an airtight container.
You could probably also add some mild protein powder to up the protein content, or even some kind of nut butter. I haven’t tried this yet, but might see how it works. Good luck!