These snacks are vegan, require no baking, and come together quickly in the food processor. Best of all, they taste like carrot cake.
They’re made from whole ingredients (with just a teeny drizzle of sugary icing), so even though they taste like a dessert, they have enough fiber, protein and fat to keep you ticking right thorough the afternoon doldrums.
The no-bake dough is moist and soft, with plenty of natural sweetness from cooked, mashed carrots and chopped dates. The cinnamon-spiced dough balls are topped with a drizzle of vanilla bean icing, creating a taste like carrot cake with vanilla frosting.
Because the dough is soft and sticky, it doesn’t quite work to roll it into balls with your hands. Instead, scoop up a bit of dough on one spoon and then use another spoon to nudge it into a rough ball shape. Don’t worry about getting it perfectly round – just drop it in some almond meal, sprinkle more almond meal on top, and use your hands to roll it into a ball. This makes it easier to shape the sticky dough.
These power bites will keep for a few days in the refrigerator, but you also can freeze them for about a month. Freeze them on a baking sheet in a single layer, then transfer them to a freezer bag or plastic container.
They are best eaten straight from the refrigerator or freezer, since chilling firms them up. They become soft at room temperature, although they’re just as tasty. If you’re taking them in your lunch bag for a later snack, pack them in a hard-sided container; they’ll squish and flatten in a plastic bag.
Carrot Cake Power Bites
4 medium carrots (1/2 pound), peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup (3 ounces) coarsely chopped Medjool dates, firmly packed
1/2 cup (128 grams) unsalted creamy almond butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (180 grams) almond meal, firmly packed, divided
1/4 cup (30 grams) powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground vanilla beans or vanilla bean paste, or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoons water (plus more if needed)
PLACE the sliced carrots in a medium (2-quart) saucepan, then cover them with water by an inch. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer until the carrots are fork-tender but not falling apart, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool to room temperature.
COMBINE the cooled carrots with the dates, almond butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process in 1-second pulses until chopped dates are fully processed and incorporated into the dough, scraping down the bowl as needed.
TRANSFER the mixture from the food processor into a medium mixing bowl. Add 3/4 cup of the almond meal to the bowl and mix with a sturdy spoon or spatula, until just combined. Chill at least two hours or overnight.
COMBINE the powdered sugar with the ground vanilla beans and water in a small mixing bowl. Stir until all of the powdered sugar is absorbed, forming a thick, pasty icing. Transfer the icing to a sandwich bag. Push the icing to one corner, squeeze out as much air as possible, and seal the bag.
LINE a baking sheet or large tray with wax paper. Place the remaining 3/4 cup of almond flour into a small bowl.
USE a sturdy metal spoon (the flatware kind, not a measuring spoon) to scoop up a heaping tablespoon of chilled dough. With another spoon, scrape the dough sideways off the first spoon; the dough will stick to the second spoon. Continue passing the dough back and forth between the spoons until it is roughly ball-shaped.
SCRAPE the shaped dough off of the spoon and drop it into the almond flour. Sprinkle more almond flour on the sides and top of the dough, then gently roll it into a ball. Do this quickly, without too much pressure.
DRIZZLE the tops with icing. Snip off a tiny corner of the baggie and squeeze a thin squiggle of icing onto each ball.
REFRIGERATE the ball in single layers on wax paper. Or freeze on the baking sheet and then transfer to a freezer container. Refrigerate for 3 to 5 days or freeze for 1 month.
Yield: 24 bites.
Coco Morante is a writer for TheKitchn.com. Email comments or questions to email@example.com.