For my first recipe of 2014 I couldn’t help but try and give you something “healthy”. But this recipe is still sweet tasting and rolled into little balls making them super cute, so they definitely still made the cut for Erica Sweet Tooth. As of last week I’m joining the masses by making resolutions to un-do what Thanksgiving and Christmas food did to my body. How could I help myself with things like crepe cakes and chocolate caramel tarts lying around?? So I’ve been fighting the crowds at the gym, getting reacquainted with MyFitnessPal, and getting a little creative with my snacks. To start I’m sharing these oat balls that are packed with healthy stuff to fill you up but plenty of yummy things too to help fend off cravings. I somehow suppressed the urge to dunk these cuties in chocolate and sprinkle them to death, and instead kept them plain to reduce the sugar. But I promise they’re still delicious – I wouldn’t dare share healthy-tasting treats here on the blog!

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The flavor combination was inspired by a recent obsession of mine – vanilla espresso almond butter. I don’t usually love almond butter, but when I saw a jar on sale with those delicious flavors, I gave it a try and rediscovered how yummy almond butter can be. So when I decided to make these oat balls, I used some of my vanilla espresso almond butter but also threw in extra vanilla extract and espresso powder which gave them great flavor and a little kick. They’re the perfect snack to grab around 3PM when the day is crawling by or right before the gym – some fiber, protein, and a little caffeine all in one bite and you’re good to go :) It’s so hard to find snacks that are truly healthy, and it’s great knowing you can easily make these at home in as little as 20 minutes. I’ve been enjoying these so much the past week and can’t wait to try more flavor combinations!

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With oats, flaxseeds, dates, and almond butter there is plenty of good stuff crammed into each little ball, but also a dose of honey and coconut to keep things just sweet enough. Feel free to change the ingredients according to what you like, add other seeds or grains if you have them around, or try different mix-ins depending on your favorite flavor combinations! I loved that these were chewy with a little bit of crunch and enjoyed them straight from the fridge – but you can shift the proportion of grains to nut butter and honey if you want something with more or less crunch. Since they’re no-bake, you don’t have to worry too much about sticking to the recipe for scientific reasons, just play around and enjoy :)

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Vanilla Espresso Energy Oat Balls

Yield: 20 balls


1/2 cup almond butter (vanilla espresso flavor if you have it)
1/3 cup honey
2 tsp espresso powder
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cups quick oats
1/4 cup finely chopped dates
3/4 cup sweetened flake coconut, chopped
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/8 tsp salt


Combine the almond butter and honey in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Add the espresso powder and vanilla extract and stir together until smooth.

Add the oats, dates, coconut, flax seed, and salt and mix until everything is evenly distributed. Roll mixture into 1" balls and place on a silpat, wax, or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Make sure to use your hands to compress them tightly so they maintain their shape. I used a small cookie scoop to measure and compress the balls.

Chill the balls for an hour in the fridge and put them in an airtight container either on the counter or in the fridge.

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13 Responses to “Vanilla Espresso Energy Oat Balls”

  1. #
    Shelly @ Pastry Shells — January 7, 2014 @ 1:26 pm

    This recipe looks like a great way to refuel after or before a workout (which hopefully will give me more motivation to actually work out)! I’m not a huge coffee fan, do you think I could use plain almond butter and use protein powder instead of espresso powder?

    • Erica — January 7th, 2014 @ 8:03 pm

      Yup, you could definitely just leave it out altogether! I threw it in there for flavor rather than stability, so it’s not really necessary for the recipe. Good luck and enjoy!

  2. #
    Alison Holden — January 7, 2014 @ 2:44 pm

    These sound great! I was jut wondering if I could use sunbutter instead because I am allergic to nuts. And if I could take out the dates..? I love you blog and am excited to try some recipes!!

    • Erica — January 7th, 2014 @ 8:02 pm

      Definitely – I think subbing out the kind of nutbutter will be fine, you might want to add a little extra if you omit the dates. Possibly a little more coconut too? Just play around with the proportions until you get a good consistency for rolling balls :)

  3. #
    Hana S — January 7, 2014 @ 3:44 pm

    Happy belated New Year! Looking forward to another year of awesome recipes from you!

  4. #
    Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe — January 7, 2014 @ 4:38 pm

    These look really delicious – perfect for weaning oneself off of all of the holiday sweets! I love the kick of espresso too. Happy New Year!

  5. #
    Kathy — January 13, 2014 @ 2:01 am

    Just made a batch and totally licked the spoon! Yummo! Can’t wait for 3 P.m. to come around tomorrow

  6. #
    Kelly — January 13, 2014 @ 1:38 pm

    These look great – the perfect exercise snack! I made something similar here: Thanks for sharing!

  7. #
    Carole — February 23, 2014 @ 10:44 pm

    Wish I would have found that almond butter. But I am thinking it is something available in the States and not in Canada. Nevertheless, I gave it a try with almond and hazelnut butter and used chia seeds instead of flax seeds. I just had one and I am already addicted too them! Delicious!

  8. #
    cherie — February 26, 2014 @ 10:15 pm

    Hi Erica… I just ran across your blog and I love love love it… I was wondering if it is OK to for me to post some of your recipes on my closed group on facebook… we are always looking for something new to try… I will ALWAYS link back o your blog driving more traffic to you…
    Waiting on your reply
    have a blessed evening

    • Erica — February 27th, 2014 @ 3:05 pm

      Yes of course! Thanks again for the kind words :)

  9. #
    cookie cohen — March 25, 2014 @ 1:14 pm

    Hi Erica…Alexis has been telling me about your blog for quite a while now and I finally took a look this morning…Beautiful work photos, text…and wonderful recipes…I’m looking forward to sharing it….
    Would love to make the energy oat balls….Where can I find that the almond butter?
    Cookie Cohen (Alexis’ mom)

    • Erica — March 25th, 2014 @ 5:31 pm

      Hi Cookie! So glad you like the blog, Alexis always talks about you and your shared food loves so I knew you’d like these :) I bought this almond butter at a healthfood supermarket near my apartment, but maybe they also have it at a place like Whole Foods. But really any flavor of almond butter or peanut butter would work! Thanks so much for the nice comment!!

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