Cherry Coconut Chocolate Balls

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Just shy of Eight months old, Everly has already learned to crawl and pull up! It’s so amazing to watch him grown like a little sunflower and learn so many things. It also feels like I’m caught in a whirlwind! Is soon as I get used to one thing ( or even before I get used to it!) we are on to the next. People always seem to think that the pregnant mom should be eating for two but I tell you what- I am MUCH more hungry as a breastfeeding mama, chasing around a little one, than I ever was with my squished stomach during pregnancy. Of course now getting good nourishing food into by belly can be a challenge. I know all new parents can relate.
But what’s a health conscious hungry lady to do when that post dinner sweet tooth kicks in with a vengeance? I have a secret weapon in my arsenal for just that scenario. Decadent but nutritious chocolate Balls! The great things about these besides the fact that you can whip them together in 5 minutes and they are delicious is that they are SUPER VERSATILE. You can change out virtually any of the ingredients for what you have on hand and make them as decadent or nutrient dense as you wish. THINK: Toggling the tipping point between a truffle and a granola bar. This recipe falls somewhere in the middle. It really satisfies the sweet craving but also could easily work as a mid afternoon pick me or post work out out snack!

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CHERRY COCONUT CHOCOLATE BALLS
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup dried tart cherries
1/2 cup almonds
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 Tbs natural cocoa powder
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 Tbs dark chocolate chips or bar

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Start by grinding up the bigger things first. I ground up the almonds and cherries first then added in the chocolate chunks, cocoa powder, chia seed and shredded coconut. After that is all ground up I added in the coconut oil and maple syrup and ground until it started to clump together in the food processor. The clumping together is good clue that your ratios are going to work and it will easily roll into balls.
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For an extra element of fun I like to roll the balls in cocoa or another ground dry ingredient. For this batch I tried cocoa, crushed almonds and shredded coconut and they all looked pretty. You don’t have to do this! On a very warm day you may choose to store the balls in the fridge. This also helps to set them up but they should hold together at room temperature.

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Make them Your Own
The basic idea is that you grind up all the dry ingredients and add in the sticky wet ones to bind it all together and then form it into little bite sized balls of YUM. If you make substitutions you might need to adjust the ratios just a touch to get all to stick together and form a ball. Its really as easy as that! This is really where you can choose how decadent or health minded you want to steer your treat. They are also wonderfully easy to spice up!

Instead of Shredded coconut and/or almonds Try:
Oats
Any kind of nut
Protein Powder

Instead of Chia Seeds Try:
Flax
Hemp
Sesame
Poppy
(You could also omit these)

Instead of dried cherries Try:
Dates
Dried Fruit of any kind

Instead of Maple Syrup Try:
Honey
Agave Syrup
Molasses

Instead of Coconut Oil Try:
Peanut butter
Almond Butter
Butter- Straight up decadent

You could also choose to omit the chocolate chunks, add more, or use milk or white chocolate.

Other add ins:
Crumbled cookies
Cinnamon
Cardamom
Nutmeg
Cayenne
Vanilla Extract
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