Midnight Matcha Bites

Midnight and matcha in the same thought? Doesn’t seem quite right does it? Matcha is hands down the best drink to have in the morning, but as much as I love it I’d definitely tell you to think twice before partaking late in the PM.

Luckily, we aren’t talking about the time of day here, we are talking about an ingredient–one of my favorites–black cocoa. This ultra dark cocoa powder, also known as midnight black cocoa, is known for its incredibly intense color and flavor. It can sometimes be hard to find, but if you know where to look it’s definitely worth the extra effort.

Aside from being rich and sinfully chocolatey in flavor, it’s also earthier than regular cocoa powder is. The unusual charcoal-like color comes from the dutching process, which greatly reduces the cocoa powder’s acidity. Every time I taste black cocoa I’m reminded of Oreos, Devil’s food cake, and whoopie pies…and in my book, this can only be a good thing.

There are few teas that can stand up to a strong, dark flavor like black cocoa and matcha is one of them. The two ingredients actually have similar taste profiles. If you love the bittersweet taste of matcha, then you’ll love the taste of black cocoa powder too. When they are of good quality, both are pleasantly mellow yet intense.

Instead of dusting the bites in pure matcha, I coat them in matcha-laced unsweetened coconut, which helps to balance just the right amount of tea in each bite. The sweet factor comes from super ripe bananas and a touch of honey, which give mild sweetness and bind the dry ingredients into a brownie-like texture.

Enjoy these as an on-the-go breakfast, a mid-day pick me up, or whenever you need a sustained energy boost. If there were ever such a thing, I like to think of these as healthy chocolate truffles. Midnight Matcha Bites are a hearty way to indulge your darkest and most serious chocolate cravings!

Midnight Matcha Bites

Makes 35 balls.

Ingredients:

{Chocolate Energy Balls}

2 bananas, very ripe & mashed

1 cup almond meal

1 cup ground whole oats, ground to a powder in a food processor

3/4 cup whole oats, left whole

1/4 cup chia seeds

1/4 cup ground flax seeds

1/3 cup dried coconut, unsweetened

1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used midnight black cocoa)

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup almond butter

1/4 cup honey

2 tsp vanilla

{Coconut Matcha Coating}

1/2 cup dried coconut, unsweetened

1 Tbsp matcha powder

Equipment:

food processor

large mixing bowl

large mixing spoon

cookie scoop with 1 3/4″ diameter (2 Tbsp)

Directions:

1.)  Place the dry Chocolate Energy Ball ingredients in the mixing bowl, then lightly toss together. Add the wet ingredients, then mix everything together thoroughly with the spoon.

2.)  In a small bowl, mix the Coconut Matcha Coating ingredients together. Use your fingers to evenly distribute the matcha with the dried coconut. Set aside.

3.)  Use the cookie scoop to scoop out a 2 Tbsp portion of the Chocolate Energy Ball mixture, then roll it into a smooth ball. Repeat this process to form 30 energy balls/bites. Roll and evenly coat the chocolate balls in the matcha coconut. Store the bites in a sealed box or bag in the fridge.

Pumpkin Chai Energy Balls

I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am that it’s pumpkin season again! Even though you can technically eat pumpkin anytime of the year, there’s something about eating it in the fall that makes it taste that much more satisfying and delicious.

The only thing better than eating pumpkin is eating pumpkin with a spicy chai tea. My recipe for Pumpkin Chai Energy Balls combine these autumn inspired ingredients together with a host of other nutritious add-ins including old-fashioned oatmeal, almonds, flax seeds, chia seeds, and of course…pumpkin purée!

These energy balls are completely flour-free, and don’t require any cooking. To give them bulk without making them too gritty, I use both pulverized oatmeal and almond meal. I reserve some of the oats to be left whole so that you still get a bit of chew and texture in each nibble.

When it comes to the chocolate chip addition, I like to add the darkest chocolate chips I can find. Good quality, slightly bitter-tasting chocolate chips make the bold chai flavors stand out and also help to balance out the mild sweetness of the maple syrup. These moist, flavorful bites are perfect as a mid-day pick me up or as a reasonable swap out when you are looking to get a cookie fix. Pumpkin Chai Energy Balls also make an ideal snack before hitting the gym and are convenient to-go treats as they are easy to pack and hold their shape well. If you please, even try enjoying a few for breakfast. You just might have to come back to this ingredient list to remind yourself that you aren’t actually eating dessert!

Pumpkin Chai Energy Balls

Makes 30 balls.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup almond meal

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats, ground to a meal in food processor

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats, left whole

2 Tbsp ground flax seeds

2 Tbsp chia seeds

6 Tbsp chai tea mix (I used Trader Joe’s Spicy Chai Tea Latte)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1/2 cup pumpkin purée (just from a can)

1/2 cup almond butter

1/4 cup maple syrup

Equipment:

large mixing bowl

mixing spoon

cookie scoop with 1 3/4″ diameter (2 Tbsp)

Directions:

1.)  Place all dry ingredients in the mixing bowl, then lightly toss together. Add the wet ingredients, then mix everything together with the spoon.

2.)  Use the ice cream scoop to scoop out a 2 Tbsp portion of the mixture, then roll it into a smooth ball. Repeat this process to form 30 energy balls. Store the energy balls in a sealed box or bag in the fridge.