For Christmas The Hubs and I were gifted a 2-month subscription to NatureBox (shout out to the Kornbaus!). Our first box had a few delicious things, most notably the Dark Chocolate Berry Trail Mix and Honeycomb Sunflower Kernels, as did our second box with Dark Cocoa Nom Noms (hard to eat just one of these) and my favorite: the Coconut Date Energy Bites. As always, I checked the nutritional information and took a bite. These pillowy, sweet nuggets of heaven were only 90 calories for 3 bites. The coconut flavor was subtle, the texture of the dates almost fluffy, and the flavor rich and…date-y? Either way, they are seriously good. I definitely felt hyper after eating them, but unsure if it’s a placebo effect, the rush of the natural sugar, or the euphoric high of their maximum deliciosity.
I immediately said to myself, “Self,” said I, “Thou canst make these thine own self!” To which my self replied, “Totes!” (I may have lost my mind briefly.)
So on my next grocery shopping trip, I snagged a tub of pitted dates. I already had unsweetened coconut burning a hole in my cabinet from when I went a little psycho for Bob’s Red Mill 10-Grain Hot Cereal with coconut and Craisins in it. Before work yesterday I decided to try out this potentially simple snack recipe. Here are the results!
If you have large flaked coconut like I do, throw it into the food processor and pulse until you have finer flakes. Pour the coconut out onto a plate.
Don’t bother cleaning out the food processor bowl, just toss the dates in. Process until smooth. At this point I looked into the food processor and thought it looked super thick, so I added a tablespoon of water and processed some more. Maybe a total running time of a minute in the food processor.
I laid down some wax paper and scraped the date paste onto it. Then I grabbed a teaspoon measuring spoon.
NOTE: WET THE MEASURING SPOON. EVERY TIME. AND WET YOUR FINGERS.
Just trust me on this.
Scoop out a flattened teaspoon of date paste. Use your thumb or finger to scoop the paste out of the spoon and then use your fingers to roll into a little ball. Plop these babies down on the bed of coconut. When you can’t fit anymore on the plate, roll the balls around in the coconut to coat, and place them in the container the dates came in. Don’t worry, they’ll all fit. (If your dates came in a bag or some other unacceptable container, use a four cup plastic container.) Repeat until date paste is gone.
I managed to get 42 of these babies, which is 14 servings of 3 bites.
Nutritionally, I think they’re pretty close. If you do the math on my version, you’ll come out with 22 grams for 3 pieces, which is a little lighter than NatureBox, so the serving is slightly smaller. I made a chart so you can see the comparisons. There is a slight discrepancy, but I think it’s due mostly to the ratio of dates to coconut. I used more coconut than was in the original recipe, which is obvious when you look at the comparison photo of the two (you can also see the size difference here).
Mine are even pillowier than the Naturebox version! My guess is due to the water and the processing method. The coconut flavor is stronger in mine as well. In the end, I like the texture of mine better, but the flavor is slightly better in the NatureBox version. I gave one of each for The Hubs to try and he said “Those are pretty damn close!” And we all know, close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and copycat recipes! (I may have taken some liberty with this quote.)
Now, the cost wasn’t super important to me, but I figure a price comparison would be useful here. In a NatureBox subscription, you get 5 bags of snacks for $19.95 with free shipping. So each snack bag is $3.99. A bag of NatureBox Date Coconut Energy Bites is 5 oz. or approximately 142 grams and contains about 4.5 servings according to the package. That’s a cost of about $0.89 per serving. My recipe made 14 servings. I paid $3.79 for the dates and 2 servings of coconut flakes is approximately $0.41. So the total cost of my ingredients is $4.20, which makes mine about $0.30 a serving for 22 g, or if you use a 30 g portion for a direct comparison $0.41 a serving. Less than half the price! The entire process might have taken me 20 minutes, max. And considering you have to spend $19.95 for a NatureBox subscription, you pay even more.
In conclusion, this recipe is well worth making at home if you have the time!
Now excuse me while I go shove a bunch of these in my face.