A completely delicious snack, filling and full of goodness!
My children are the polar opposites when it comes to food. Mimi, who is 8, adores fruit and will eat it like sweets- a big treat for her is to have a fruit salad- the more variety the better. Marls (5) cannot bear fruit, she can’t even sit next to someone who is eating an apple or a banana, and if I’ve cut fruit up for Mimi, she will ask me to wash her hands before I cuddle her! As much as this is frustrating, I can understand it- I felt the same about fruit as a child. With the exception of strawberries and raspberries (at a push) I refused to eat any fruit whatsoever!
I try to compensate with Marls by including as much veg as possible in her diet (she is slightly less fussy about that!), and buying or making her the things that she will eat- namely apple crumble, blackberries and blackcurrants. I have really struggled since she started school to find things to send in with her for snack time. It has to be fruit or vegetables. For a while I sent in raisins, which she did like, but then I found a big stash at the bottom of her bag and she announced she didn’t like them any more. Then it was carrot sticks, which she will eat under duress, but without me there to prompt her I kept finding them shrivelled in her coat pockets!
I wanted to make something for her which she would enjoy, but that would also give her some of the fibre and vitamins that she is missing from fruit. I’ve seen the idea of energy bombs pop up a few times on Pinterest, and I was interested to see if I could create one that she would like, but that was also a good and healthy snack for her to have at school.
She loves chocolate orange, so these are the overriding flavours that I went for, but I popped in lots of different bits, and used dates as the main base- which I hoped, if she couldn’t SEE the fruit, would not be so off-putting.
They worked, and she loves them! Although they are still sugary due to the dates and raisins, they are so much more nutritious than a processed snack, and I know exactly what is in them. Orange zest is such a useful ingredient for lovely flavour in things like this, it’s strong enough to mask other flavours and smells and tastes delicious. Lots of graters have a zesting section on them, but I have this one from Amazon (click here) which is really efficient and easy to use.
I managed 17 years without a food mixer, but we received one as a wedding present a few years ago and it’s really changed my life in the kitchen- I would say I used it nearly every day! I have this Cuisinart one which also does grating, and has a dough hook, but if you just want a basic food processor I have also used just supermarket own brand ones which have been absolutely fine!
I toast the sunflower seeds for this, not only does it give them a really lovely flavour, the warmth helps to bind everything together when you are ready to roll them into balls!
Although these were primarily for Marls, actually I love them too, and when I have snacked on a couple I have found them to be really filling! I’m definitely going to be experimenting with some more flavours and ideas for them this year.