Date nut balls

I was riding my bike the other day and stopped at an organic grocery store for a treat: a few dates. Well, they are very sweet and they gave me quite the energy boost--I wasn't tired but I did enjoy the sugar rush (even if that is probably not good for your health) and it made me ride faster as a result. It got me thinking this would be a good high-calorie, low volume food to have on a long bike ride. Add some nuts and seeds and you get even more calories--plus it might not be as gooey as dates alone warmed in your shirt pocket. So today I made some date nut balls. These are similar to Dr. Fuhrman's date nut pop'ems but these have a higher date to nut ratio (I was thinking they might be easier to digest with fewer nuts, plus I like the sugar buzz--I know, any buzz is probably bad for you).

The basic recipe is twice as many dates as nuts and seeds, by weight. Grind the seeds beforehand, then process everything in a food processor. Roll into balls. Okay, here's a more detailed description of what I did, but don't feel you have to follow this exactly. Vary it based on how many dates you have, how sweet you want them (date to nut ratio), what nuts and seeds you want, whether you want to add cocoa powder or carab powder, etc etc.

Ingredients for today's batch:
9 oz dates (happens to be the size of the bag I bought)
2.5 oz raw almonds
2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp hemp seeds
1 Tbsp flax seed
1/4-1/2 tsp vanilla (I didn't measure, just squirted from my bottle)
optional: 1-2 Tbsp cocoa or carob powder

Pit the dates and set them aside. I blanched the almonds (boiled them for a few minutes), drained them, let them cool a bit, and popped off their skins. Here are the dates and almonds:



















I ground the seeds in the "dry container" of my vita-mix blender. You can use a coffee grinder too. Here they are:




















Then I stuck everything in the food processor and ran it for a few minutes. I was in the mood for chunky nuts so stopped. Run it longer for smaller pieces:



















Then roll them into little balls. This made 20 balls. A small spoon is shown for scale:




















I stuck these in my freezer to take out for a bike ride. These are definitely high-calorie treats so 1-2 is about all you want. I ate one and it was yummy!

I put this recipe into cron-o-meter and came up with the following:
For one of the 20 balls, total calories is 72, protein 1 g (8%), carbs 11 g (56%), fat 2g (34%).