Hey, ballers! Check out my October Ball of the Month!
Ok, so I love balls. Snack balls, that is. They are perfectly portioned, you can keep them in the freezer, and they are a whole-food alternative to processed foods for you and your kids. And, they kind of all taste like cookie dough. Who doesn't love a ball of cookie dough? This time of year pumpkin comes out of hibernation, and it is everywhere from your coffee, to your pancakes, to your soup. It tastes like fall, offers a good dose of vitamin A and beta-carotene, it's full of fliber, low in calories, and it's just a seasonal flavor that I look forward to. Keep these nutritious nuggets around throughout the month of October, becaues they are like little bites of pumpkin pie--without all the dairy, gluten and refined sugar. Want to make them Paleo? Sub Almond flour for the oat flour, and you have a grain-free pumpkin spice ball.
Pumpkin Spice Balls
(adapted from The Big Man's World Pumpkin Spice Latte Bites)
1 3/4 cup gluten free oat flour (simply pulse GF rolled oats in a food processor until they turn into flour)
1/4 cup almond flour
2 T. coconut sugar
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 t. sea salt
3/4 cup pumpkin puree*
1 t. vanilla
1/4 cup nut butter of your choice**
1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup, brown rice syrup, coconut nectar, etc.)
1 T. dairy-free milk of choice (only if necessary)
1. Mix together the oat flour, almond flour, coconut sugar, pie spice and salt.
Want to make these grain-free? Replace the oat flour with almond flour or other nut flour!
2. In a small saucepan, warm the nut butter with the honey until runny and thoroughly combined. Remove from heat, add vanilla and stir. Add the pumpkin puree to the mixture.
3. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry, and make adjustments: if mixture seems to wet, add some flour. If mixture seems to dry, add the tablespoon of milk. Check for sweetness/saltiness and adjust accordingly. Once you get the right consistency (it should roll into balls easily without falling apart) roll into balls. At this point, you can roll the balls into a cinnamon-sugar mixture for some added spice and sweetness, or you can leave them as is. Place them on a parchment lined tray or a plate, and place in the fridge or freezer until firm.
I keep mine in a ziploc freezer bag once they are firm and store them in the freezer. They take only a few minutes to soften up once they are out. They thaw to a nice consistency in a lunchbox with a cold pack, as well.
*You want to be super clean? Buy organic pumpkin puree. I love Libby's and every time I try to make a better choice, it just isn't the same. So, I'm sticking with it!
**I like to make my own nut butter, and typically I use a variety of nuts and seeds to get a wide variety of nutrition in every batch. When I don't have the time or the ingredients on hand, I reach for the NuttZo Power Fuel. You can get it at the various health food stores, but they also carry it at Costco. This stuff is made of cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and sea salt! And, it's certified organic, Non-GMO, vegan, sugar-free, soy-free, dairy-free, no added oils, and kosher. If you use this instead of a sweetened nut butter, you may want to add either a tad more honey or a tad more coconut sugar to the mixture!