Recipe: Cocoatmeal nuggets

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Whenever I walk through the bulk section at Kroger, I must fight to resist  the pull of the Naughty But Nice “energy bites.” I’m not sure about their stimulatory powers, but they are an amalgamation of chocolate, peanut butter, and oats that please my carb-loving body and heart.

Unfortunately, they cost $10.99/lb., a price I cannot pay when my chocolate needs (needsare so great.

So, like last time with my lil cocoballs, I decided to make my own version. Basically, my qualifications were: chocolate. oatmeal. peanut butter. sweetness.

Definitely doable.

I know I promised a “recipe” in my last post, but the truth is that for me, food is less science than art and less art than magic. You mix some stuff together, you heat it up or freeze it or maybe just shake it around, and it turns into something you can eatSo although I can’t tell you exactly what quantities of each ingredient I used, I encourage you to guesstimate too, letting the kitchen gods guide your hand. And remember: too dry is more remediable than too wet.

First, I threw some oats, cocoa powder, coconut flakes, and chia seeds into my roommate’s blender in lieu of a food processor. (I don’t have a photo for this step. Sorry.)

Then I heated up some peanut butter on the stove.

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Unnecessary splash of cocoa powder

I threw the previously blended dry ingredients into the pan, stirred it all around with some agave nectar…

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and stuck that into a little cake pan. I’d baked the mixture at 250 degrees for about seven minutes (I was aiming for 10), when I realized I’d FORGOTTEN THE DATES.

So I scraped it out, threw it into the blender with some dates and almond milk, blended it around, spread it back into the pan, and baked it for another 10 minutes.

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I let the lil loaf cool for a bit, but as I began to cut out the “bites,” I realized this creation would do much better in nugget form. So I made little balls!

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And then I took them to the crag.
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In case that was a little overwhelming, here is a list of all the ingredients I used:
– oats (we’ll say a little under 2 cups)
– cocoa powder (maybe half a cup? a little more?)
– coconut flakes (umm, half a handful?)
– chia seeds (like a tablespoon)
– Medjool dates (four or five)
– agave nectar (just keep squeezin’)
– peanut butter (maybe a little less than half a cup)
– almond milk (less than half a cup, but you shouldn’t need this if you don’t make my premature baking mistake.)

Oh! How did they turn out? I actually like these more than the energy bites. The texture is softer and chewier, and the dates add a nice natural sweetness. I think next time I’ll forego the agave altogether and double the dates.

What about you? Do you treat cooking like a science or the mysterious workings of  kitchen gods? What do you eat when you’re in the woods?

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