Little treats made with wholesome ingredients, these energy bites with dates are easy to make with only seven ingredients! Make them naughty, with a hint of bourbon, or nice, without! This Pecan Pie Bliss Ball Recipe is vegan, vegetarian and easily gluten free.
Easy to make and so satisfying, these energy bites with dates are a delicious way to enjoy an alternative when your sweet tooth is calling. What I love about these Pecan Pie Bliss Balls is that they’re filled with clean ingredients. Well, unless you add a glug of bourbon!
Inspired by my Bourbon and Vegan Pecan Pies, I whip these little bliss bites up to extend the holiday season when I want more pecan pie, but my hips say no! I also make em’ up for the loves in my life who appreciate a naturally sweetened treat (and a glug of bourbon). Too, they make fabulous treats anytime when the schnecken‘ beckons!
Ingredients for Energy Bites with Dates
Easy peasy and so delicious, these bliss bites rely on dates for a naturally sweetened treat. Here’s what you’ll need to make em’:
- Whole Rolled Oats – not quick
- Medjool Dates
- Vanilla Extract
- Sea Salt
- Mini Chocolate Chips – I like Enjoy Life Foods.
- Bourbon – optional
- Raw Cacao for Rolling – optional
How to Make Pecan Pie Date Bites
After toasting the oats and nuts, the food processor does all the mixing. Here’s how to pull these energy bites with dates together:
- First, toast the oats and pecans. Scoop out a portion of pecans and set aside. Then process the remaining pecans and oats in a food processor until a ground. Remove from work bowl and set aside in a small bowl. Grind the remaining pecans fine, then transfer to separate small bowl. This portion will be used to roll the bliss balls in later!
- Second, meanwhile, if your dates are dry and tough, soak them in hot water for about 15 minutes to soften. Pit the dates. Then, squeeze the excess water out, as much as possible. In the work bowl of the food processor, add the dates, salt, molasses, vanilla and bourbon if using. Process the dates mixture until a paste forms.
- Third, transfer the processed oats and pecans over the date paste, and add the chocolate chips. Process until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
- Next, portion the dough into bite size pieces and roll into balls.
- Last, roll the bliss balls in pecan pieces set aside earlier and/or raw cacao powder.
These date chocolate balls last several weeks in the fridge, so they’re make ahead easy!
A Few Recipe Notes
- To portion these little date chocolate balls, I like to use a #50 ice cream scoop. It makes portioning a snap! It’s perfect for small cookies too.
- Gluten Free? Yes please! Simply use gluten free oats and omit the bourbon (when in doubt, leave it out!). Conflicting information remains regarding distilled spirits being okay to consume for some gluten free individuals, but may not be okay for all.
- Sugar Free? Yes please! Instead of using cane sugar sweetened mini chocolate chips, leave them out and sub in a few tablespoons of raw cacao powder.
Chocolate Pecan Pie Bliss Balls
- 1 1/4 C (120g) Rolled Oats not quick, gluten free if needed
- 1 1/2 C (150g) Pecans divided, halves or pieces
- 20 (335g) Medjool Dates
- 3 Tbs Molasses
- 3 tsp Bourbon optional
- 3 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt
- 1/2 C (95g) Mini Chocolate Chips See note for a sugar free chocolatey option!
- Raw Cacao Powder or Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, optional, for rolling the bites in
Prepare the Oats and Pecans:
- Preheat the oven to 325F (163C). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Toast the oats and pecans for about 15-20 minutes OR until toasty-golden and fragrant. Scoop out 1/2 C (50g) of pecans and set aside (this will be processed separately and used later as a coating to roll the balls in). Add the toasted oats and remaining pecans to a work bowl of a food processor fitted with the S blade. Pulse the oats and pecans until a fineish meal is formed, about 11-15 times. Chunks are okay. Transfer to a small bowl. Set aside. Pulse the remaining 1/2 C (50g) of pecans set aside earlier until fine. Transfer to a separate small bowl. Set aside. (these pecans will be used later as a coating to roll the balls in). You'll use the work bowl again. There's no need to clean it out.
Prepare the Dates:
- Meanwhile while the oven is heating and oats/pecans are toasting, prepare the dates. If your dates are dry and tough, soak them in hot water for about 15 minutes to soften. Drain, then remove the pits. Squeeze the excess water out, as much as possible and blot with a tea towel.Transfer the dates to the work bowl of a food processor, add salt, molasses, vanilla and bourbon if using. Process the dates mixture until a paste forms, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl if needed.
Add the Oats and Pecans:
- Pour the processed oats and pecans over the date paste, and add the chocolate chips. Process about 15 seconds until the ingredients are evenly distributed stopping to scrape down the bowl if needed.
Scoop and Roll:
- Using a #50 scoop, small ice cream scoop or about 1 1/2 Tbs each, portion the dough and set on a parchment lined sheet pan. Once all the balls are scooped, roll into balls. Then, roll the balls into the pecan bits set aside earlier. If using, you can roll the balls in unsweetened cocoa powder instead of pecans or some of each if desired.
- Store the balls in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. They're best shared at room temperature, so if you have time, pull them from the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to sharing.