Well, here it is: my first official “Paleo” recipe. I’m taking advantage of the short but sweet early-summer apricot season to make these naturally fruit-sweetened and full of fiber (although I’m actually using dried apricots in this recipe so you can enjoy these scrumptious balls any time of year). And since it seems like the healthiest thing you can do these days is attempt to eat, sleep and breathe coconut, I’ve got not just toasted coconut but also coconut flour in this recipe. Stick it all together with some delectable creamy almond butter and you’ve got a winning combination. I’m sure Paleolithic Man would scarf a few (or more) of these before mastadon hunting. Hopefully your pursuits aren’t as perilous, but this is a healthy fuel source all the same!
One of the things I’ve really enjoyed and benefited from in posting my recipes is researching just what it is that makes these good foods, good-for-you. In an effort to be an inspiring and informative healthy food blogger (or at least to seem and actually be somewhat knowledgeable), I’ve been researching some of the health benefits of various ingredients featured in my recipes. As an adult with a university-level education (it might also come as a surprise to you that I hold a professional accounting designation as well, which I guess is actually technically considered a form of post-graduate education), I think it’s fair to say that I have a general sense of “healthy” versus “unhealthy” food choices (although I really bristle at the broad-brush application of either of those adjectives because they are used so generically and almost any food has an element that is beneficial for health when consumed in the proper quantity at the proper frequency). Fruit & vegetables = healthy. I think there’s a consensus on that, in general terms anyway. But why? It’s fun for me to learn just what macro- and micro-nutrients and other food properties different foods bring to the table (pardon the pun!).
So, for this recipe, apricots are an excellent source of soluble fiber (which can really help get things moving along with your digestion and help clear waste products from your system), potassium and iron. This is still true in their dried form; in fact, the dehydration process actually concentrates these nutrients relative to the fresh fruit. Another fun fact? Apricots are actually botanically related to another star in this recipe: almonds! You can learn all of this and more from: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-dried-apricots-prunes-2372.html. Don’t even get me started on coconuts; with the proliferation of positive press on them in all forms of media lately, I don’t think I need to re-hash their quasi-miraculous health claims here!
On a related note, I’ve also had to get up-to-speed on some of the current dietary trends and requirements. This means getting down and dirty on the ins and outs of the Paleo movement (there seems to be a lot of “grey area” depending on how strictly you want to adhere to the dietary stipulations), various forms (degrees?) of vegetarianism and plant-based eating vs. vegan lifestyles (for example, many in the former will consume honey whereas strict vegans will not) and food allergies vs. intolerances vs. sensitivities vs. preferences (Celiac disease vs. gluten intolerance vs. low-carb dieters). I’m by no means an expert in any one of these areas and I don’t currently follow any particular “eating regime.” So, if I make a mistake in YOUR area of expertise, please let me know in the comments or via e-mail or any other social media contact available. Hopefully we’re here to learn from each other, dear readers!
All that being said, here’s my (hopefully) Paleo balls (snicker, snicker).
(Paleo) Toasted Coconut-Almond-Apricot Balls (Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Refined sugar-free)
Not just for Paleo purists, these Toasted Coconut-Almond-Apricot-Balls are the perfect pick-me-up for snackers of all persuasions!
Author: The Golden Graham Girl
1/2 cup (128g) almond butter – I used Artisana 100% Organic Raw Almond Butter*
3-4+ tbsp (21-28g) coconut flour (the required amount will depend on how runny your almond butter is; the coconut flour absorbs the liquid to get these balls to a point where you can easily roll them in your hands without a sticky mess) – I used Edward & Sons Organic Coconut Flour*
6-7 dried apricots (50g), finely chopped
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 + 2 tbsp (1/4 cup = 15g) unsweetened coconut flakes – I’m a really big fan of this Edward & Sons Organic Reduced Fat Unsweetened Shredded Coconut*
1. Preheat the oven to 350F (185C) and spread the coconut flakes in a single, shallow layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 5-7 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure even toasting and to avoid over-browning (special thanks to Pillsbury Baking for How to Toast Coconut).
2. While the coconut flakes are toasting, put the almond butter in a medium mixing bowl and stir in the coconut flour 1 tbsp at a time until the mixture comes together as a ball and is just dry enough to handle with your hands.
3. Mix in the chopped apricots and the sea salt.
4. Stir in a few spoonfuls of toasted coconut flakes.
5. Roll into 9 ping-pong size balls.
6. Roll the balls in the coconut flakes to coat. Place on parchment paper on a plate or pan and refrigerate until firm (at least 30 minutes).
NUTRITION INFORMATION (1 ball)
Calories: 113 Fat: 8.2g Carbohydrates: 8.5g Sugar: 3.5g Fiber: 3.4g Protein: 3.9g
Can be kept in the frige in a covered container for 4-5 days (if they last that long!).
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Some process shots:
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