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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Healthy Nutella Protein Balls

Just when you thought you couldn't eat Nutella anymore because of all the sugar loaded in it, I'm about to make your day.  I've come up with healthy protein balls that taste like Nutella, but without all the added sugar and they help curb the Hunger monster too.

Y’all know what I’m talking about when I say the Hunger monster. It’s the moment when hunger strikes you, usually when you don’t have anything healthy on hand and you end up devouring anything and everything in sight.

It strikes when boredom sits in, during the afternoon slump between 2:00 and 5:00 p.m., whenever you get a mad craving, or sometimes it attacks you when you least expect it! The Hunger monster is a dieter’s worst enemy, wreaking havoc on good, healthy food plans everywhere.

Now I have to say while I was making these, I had to sample the original Nutella to make sure I had the right taste. I had just a little taste and boy, I was surprised at how sweet it was!

I love Nutella, but I didn't realize how sweet it really was until I tried it. I don't know if it was because I had just finished up the Sugar Crush Challenge or if it was because I hadn't had it in such a long time, but it really knocked my socks off! These protein balls don't taste quite that sweet, mainly because I didn't load them up with sugar. Instead I used dates and just a tad of honey to help hold them together.

And since I don't have hazelnuts available to me at the time I made these delicious little treats, I kinda cheated and added hazelnut flavoring.  So they still have the chocolatey hazelnut flavor that is so reminiscent of Nutella.

So when you feel that Hunger monster coming on before or after a workout, during the afternoon slump, or whenever you feel a Nutella or chocolate craving coming on, grab one of these little Nutella protein balls and crush the Hunger monster.

Healthy Nutella Protein Balls
Recipe by Julie Murphy
A healthier version of Nutella Protein Balls without all the sugar
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
Yield: about 2 dozen
  • 1 and 3/4 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 6 Medjool dates, pitted and pureed
  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup cocoa nibs
  • 2 teaspoons Hazelnut extract
  • 1 Tablespoon dark cocoa powder
  • 1-2 Tablespoons dark cocoa powder for rolling
  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In the microwave, warm peanut butter and honey in a small cup, if needed to help make stirring easier. No more than 25 seconds should help warm them. Set aside.
  3. Measure coconut and grind in a blender or food processor until coconut flakes become finely ground.
  4. In a medium to small bowl, add the finely ground coconut flakes with warmed peanut butter and honey. Mix together well with a wooden spoon. Mixture will be sticky.
  5. Blend in melted coconut oil, dark cocoa powder, pureed dates, and hazelnut extract, mixing well.
  6. Make sure mixture is not too warm before adding in cocoa nibs because you don't want them to melt. If too warm, place mixture in refrigerator for 5-10 minutes, then fold in cocoa nibs.
  7. Gently roll about 1 Tablespoon or smaller of mixture between your palms until a ball is formed. If mixture is too sticky or falls apart, place in refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes before making ball shapes.
  8. Roll in dark cocoa powder before placing on prepared cookie sheet.
  9. Place cookie sheet in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to let balls set up.
  10. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator before serving.

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