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Breakfast, Lunchbox, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw, x For Freezer x

Xmas-Laced Energy Balls

No need to straddle a packet of biscuits to nurse that stinking hangover.

When these energy balls are programmed into your festive calendar, you’ll jumpstart your battery faster than immediately.

I made them on TV3’s Seven O’Clock Show tonight, so you can watch the demo here with the inimitable Lucy Kennedy (love her wicked humour).


1 1/2 cups (225g) sticky Medjool dates, stones removed

1 cup (140g) walnuts (Lidl have great ones)

1/4 cup (20–25g) raw cacao or cocoa powder

3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil

1 teaspoon spirulina powder (optional)

Pinch sea salt flakes

4 drops of culinary-grade orange oil (or zest from 1 unwaxed orange)

3 tablespoons goji berries, very finely chopped (optional jolliness)


Pulse all the ingredients except the gojies in a food processor, and not a blender. Whizz until the nuts clump together in a large dough ball. One minute should be about right. Taste and decide if it needs more orange oil to mask the taste of spirulina.

Make 20 golf ball-sized truffles or 30–40 smaller ones by rolling some dough between your palms. Place on a non-stick tray and chill until relatively firm. Once set (about 30 minutes), you can trying rolling them in the bright red goji berry dust. Raw cacao powder or desiccated coconut work well too, but the racy colour of gojies is freakishly festive. So I like these.

I pop some lolli sticks into the energy balls at this stage, so my nippers can enjoy them too.

Store in the fridge and grab on the run. And highfive my 13 year old neighbour Chitra, for sparking the inspiration for this recipe!


xmas laced energy balls


Photography by Joanne Murphy

An adaptation from The Virtuous Tart, Irish Cookbook of the Year 2015

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  • Reply Hilda Smith December 14, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    Love your recipes and your sense of fun. Recently made your beetroot and chocolate torte for my supper club. Absolutely delish. Up on my blog Would love you to take a look . Looking forward to cooking more of yours. Hilda

    • Reply Susan Jane December 16, 2015 at 5:02 pm

      Brilliant name! I love it!

  • Reply Regina nolan December 31, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    Hi love your chocolate soldiers. Hwever not sure where I\’m going wrong, they are very loose and crumbly. Following the recipe to the letter, maybe the dates are too dry. Still taste great. Thanks.

    • Reply Susan Jane January 7, 2016 at 10:37 am

      Oh drat! Here are some likely explanations (all of which can be easily rectified with more nut butter): (1) coconut flour too dry and absorbent, soaking up the “glue” and leaving the mixture crumbly. Just half the flour if so. (2) Pre-soak your dates. They may be overly dried or old? No problem. Easily solved. (3) Depending on your brand of cashew butter, it could be claggy rather than silky. Don’t fret. Add a tablespoon of melted coconut oil and beat it into the nut butter alongside the maple syrup, before adding the remaining ingredients.

      I hope this helps! xxx

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