The other day, I had a major craving for a cookie. In particular, a snickerdoodle. It was about to be one of those I’m going to lose my mind if I don’t get that cookie moments. I’ve seen lots of recipes for nutritious sweet snack bites on Pinterest, and wondered if I could get my sweet fix with something a little better—okay, substantially better for me—than a cookie.
So, I used my very limited amount of left brained-ness, and analyzed the snickerdoodle. What was I after? It wasn’t my goal to recreate the snickerdoodle. I think sometimes when we make too many substitutions trying to make something healthier taste exactly like the original, we end up not getting what we want. My very scientific analysis told me that I was craving something toasty, sweet, and cinnamony, with notes of vanilla.
The combination of toasted almonds, toasted coconut, vanilla, and cinnamon blended in the food processor released a lovely fragrance. I used dates to bind everything together, and a pinch of sea salt, because I can’t get enough of the salty sweet taste.
The Mister and I reached the conclusion that they tasted like a cross between a cinnamon donut hole and the yummy gooey cinnamon swirls between the layers of a cinnamon bun. Since these sweet little dessert-snack bites are full of almonds, and not just empty white flour, I only had to eat two before my sweet tooth was completely satisfied.
Are they a dessert? A pre work-out snack? An energy bite? Yes, yes, and yes. But what’s the best part of all? They were exactly what I was craving and also full of foods that have more substance and nutritive value than the empty cookie I was dreaming about.
Snickerdoodle? What snickerdoodle?
- 1½ cups toasted coconut flakes, or 1¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted (see below)*
- 1½ cups toasted almonds
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cups (packed) pitted dates
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Toast the almonds in a frying pan over medium high heat, stirring often until fragrant and darkened slightly, about 7-8 minutes. Allow to cool.
- If using shredded coconut, spread on a baking sheet and toast in a 325˚oven, for 8-10 minutes, stirring halfway through, until lightly golden. If using toasted coconut flakes, skip to step 2.
- Blend the toasted coconut in a food processor until it looks like coarse sand. Reserve ⅓ cup in a small bowl.
- Add the almonds, cinnamon and sea salt to the food processor with the coconut and blend until the texture of coarse sand.
- Add the dates and vanilla, and blend until combined and sticking together (test a ball of the mixture by squeezing it into a ball)
- By the rounded tablespoon, form the mixture into a ball by squeezing and pressing it together. Repeat for the remaining. Roll the cinnamon bites in the reserved coconut crumbs, using your fingers to press the coconut onto the outside of each ball. Store in an airtight container.