I love pecan pie. I mean, I really love pecan pie. It’s pretty much my favorite thing about the holiday season.
And my grandmother made a damn good chocolate pecan pie. She always complained that the nuts were too toasted, but that’s the way I like it…deeply browned, with a caramel, gooey filling.
What I don’t love? The fact that it’s made with corn syrup. Ick. Is that even a real food? Think about it…how hard do you have to press a pice of corn to squeeze syrup from it? Ick, ick, ick. I’m not opposed to a little natural sugar in a dessert, but the corn syrup had to go.
Plus, this year I’m following a gluten-free diet. That does not bode well for holiday dessert season.
Thus, I was determined to replicate that pecan pie flavor in a healthier way that I could enjoy.
I started with pecans, obviously, and added dates to hold it together and as a sweetener. Melted coconut butter—which is creamier than coconut oil—gave it that rich, buttery flavor, and vanilla extract, cinnamon, raw cacao, and a dash of sea salt gave it that traditional taste. I left out the nutmeg in traditional recipes, because I’m not a fan, but you can feel free to add some if you feel it’s necessary!
I wanted to add a little protein boost to these guys, so I also added hemp protein.
So, that was the plan. I tossed it all into the food processor … and you know what? It didn’t stick together! My dough was too crumbly. So I added in 1/4 cup of Sunbutter, and perfecto! It doughed right up!
I rolled them into 1-inch balls, and the recipe made about 25 balls.
These were delicious! Totally satisfied that holiday season pecan pie craving! They’re even better after a long chill in the fridge (at least 12 hours), so make them in advance if you plan to bring them to a party.
With 3 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber per ball, these are a much healthier option to bring to your holiday cookie swap!
Pecan Pie Protein Balls
- 1.5 cups pecans
- 1.5 cups dates
- 1 scoop hemp protein
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp coconut butter, softened
- 2 tbsp raw cacao
- 1/4 cup Sunbutter
- Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine.
- Roll into approximately 1-inch balls.
- Chill for several hours before serving.
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