Carrot cake energy balls, Tom Kerridge’s no-bake, no sugar, no nonsense bites made from goodness itself.
Who doesn’t like cakes made of cake? I’m talking about rocky road and its siblings, chocolate biscuit cake, Oreo truffles or peanut butter balls.
The idea behind those sweets is appealing to anyone who, as a child, squished and scrunched their treat, plastering it all over their paws before putting it into their mouth and over surrounding areas. That’s just about everyone, apart from a few dour kids grown into dourer adults.
The method of making those sweets appeals to anyone who ever stood in front of a store cupboard craving ‘something’ and undecided what to have. That’s probably everyone again apart from miserable self-discipline junkies.
Making one of those concoctions is like sweeping out the content of the cupboard and mashing it together, with the help of copious amounts of melted chocolate/marshmallow/both. It’s like dipping your finger in the jar of Nutella or peanut butter.
It’s like eating ice cream straight from the mega size tub. It’s like licking spoons and scraping out raw batter from mixing bowls. It’s disgustingly delicious.
Raw, healthy and revolting
Now the completely opposite idea of ‘disgustingly delicious’ is anything, usually bars, labelled raw, vegan, protein, or energy. Those shop-bought things usually have ‘nutra’ or ‘charge’ in the name and in the list of ingredients there will invariably be chia, raw cocoa and palm oil.
Apart from those, of course, there will be a multitude of stuff that belongs in the chemistry lab, like Polydextrose, Glycerol, and Xylitol. The bars have unpleasantly gunky texture, they smell and they taste quite revolting.
Admittedly low carb, made from stuff that is supposed to give you an energy boost but all the same, virtuously disgusting.
Tom Kerridge got it right
And the best of both above worlds are Tom Kerridge’s carrot cake balls, with ‘energy’ in the name but only natural ingredients; no added sugar but full of deliciously sweet things like dates and coconut.
They have slightly chewy texture but there’s the nut crunch; and they don’t taste overbearingly raw even though the carrots and the oats they are made of are uncooked. They are a joy.
How to make carrot energy balls?
A food processor is admittedly useful to transform the carrots, oats and dates into paste, but you can just chop everything very finely by hand. In the worst case the balls will be a little crumblier than if food-processed.
Shaping and coating them is fun, like any activity resembling that of dung beetles always is. I chose to use desiccated coconut and cocoa powder to roll the balls in, but if they are going to be less healthy and more a snack, use icing sugar or even sugar sprinkles.
What goes in? Whatever you like
There is also the element of ‘sweeping out the cupboard’ as the nut content can be varied; you can add raisins or other dried fruit, and you can ad lib the spices. And if you fancy crushing a few digestive biscuits into the mix, to reinforce the ‘cake’ factor from the recipe name, who can blame you?
More carrot cake recipes
Well, sometimes you need the real McCoy, don’t you? This is a gorgeous and simple carrot cake, with white chocolate ganache frosting.
Fancy-pants of a carrot cake: carrot, orange and pistachio cake with traditional cream cheese frosting.
Nigella’s Venetian carrot cake is completely different: it’s gluten free and with pine nuts. Gorgeous still.
More energy snack recipes
Crunchy seed crackers made with a mix of 7 seeds; gluten free and keto-friendly if you skip millet grain. Great as a snack, broken over a salad for a topping or served on a cheese board.
Granola bars, cereal bars, whatever you call these oats and dried fruit bars they are an excellent healthy and easy to make mid-morning snack.
For a protein snack, nothing better than cured ham (prosciutto) crisps. Equally good made with salami or chorizo.