Smooth and crave-worthy, you won't believe these chocolate coconut date balls are refined sugar-free and vegan. Keep a container of these energy-packed fudge bites in the freezer for anytime you want an indulgent but healthy sweet treat.
What should we call these? Truffles, date balls, energy bites, energy balls, fudge? They'll answer to any name. You just need to try them! They're sweet, indulgent and chocolatey.
These are an easy make-ahead sweet treat for a party, to take to someone's house, for post-partum snacks or on the go energy.
🧄 Ingredient notes
- Medjool dates - Look for dried Medjool dates, which are often softer and more tender than other varieties. Be sure to remove the pit from the dates before adding them to the food processor. Date pits are very hard and non edible. They must be removed before working with them.
- Shredded coconut - Use the smallest shredded coconut you can find, preferably fine desiccated coconut used for making macaroons. This will make the energy bites smoother in texture. I do not recommend using coconut "chips" for this recipe.
- Dark chocolate - Look for a dark chocolate that has no milk products in it, so that it is vegan. This recipe is great for using up the last square or two of a chocolate bar you have in the freezer.
- Almond extract - The almond extract makes these energy bites taste like chocolate coconut fudge bites to me. They are not as intensely sweet as the traditional fudge I made with my family growing up, but they tick all the boxes and I prefer them, since they are naturally sweetened.
📋 Substitutions and variations
Here are some suitable substitutions you can use for the ingredients:
- Medjool dates - can be substituted with deglet noor dates, as well. If your dates are very dry, soak them in warm water for 10-20 minutes to rehydrate them, then drain all the water before using them in the recipe.
- Shredded coconut - Finely shredded coconut can be substituted with ground flaxseed meal.
- Peanut butter - can be substituted with other nut butter like almond butter, cashew butter, tahini or sunbutter.
- Almond extract - can be substituted for vanilla extract, pistachio extract, orange extract, or other flavored extract you like.
- Dark chocolate - can be substituted for mini chocolate chips or omitted altogether.
- For rolling the outside for decoration: instead of shredded coconut, you can use finely chopped walnuts, cocoa powder, finely chopped pistachios or sprinkles (fun for the kids!).
Want to switch it up? Try one of these energy bite variations:
- Almond Fudge Energy Bites (substitute walnuts for almonds, substitute peanut butter for almond butter)
- Pistachio Fudge Energy Bites (substitute walnuts for pistachios and almond extract for pistachio extract)
Step by step guide for how to make these chocolate coconut energy balls.
Your food processor shines for this recipe. It will do all the work for you. We're first going to process the walnuts until they are finely chopped, about the size of panko breadcrumbs. Then, add the pitted dates (make sure you remove the pits and any hard stem pieces first!) and process again until the dates are finely chopped.
Then, add all the other ingredients (if you'd like to roll your truffles in coconut for decoration, reserve some of that).
Process the rest of the ingredients until everything is well combined and it forms a thick "dough". Then, remove the blade and get ready to roll up some truffles!
Place some coconut or finely chopped walnuts in a bowl. Then, take about a tablespoon of the mixture and roll it in your hands into a little ball. Roll in coconut/nuts and then place in a mini muffin tin, plate or tray that will fit in your freezer or refrigerator.
Repeat until you've used up all the dough. Then, place the tray in the freezer or refrigerator to chill and set for at least 30 minutes.
🥡 Make ahead and storage tips
How to store energy bites
These plant-based energy balls store best in the refrigerator or freezer, where they will stay firm and keep their shape. Heat will make them soften.
So, once they have set, you can transfer them to an airtight container and place them in the refrigerator or freezer for storage.
- They will stay good in the refrigerator for about a week. You can enjoy them immediately out of the refrigerator.
- They will stay good in the freezer for 4-6 weeks. They take a minute or two to thaw straight from the freezer.
I've found these same principles to hold true for most energy bite recipes I've made.
How to store dried dates and nuts
I keep my dates and walnuts in the refrigerator to keep them fresh longer.
So, my ingredients are cool when I make these. If your dates are room temp (or hot), you may see a different consistency (more of a paste, instead of it chopping the dates) when processing your mixture, but the results should be the same. You may have to scrape down the sides of your processor to keep everything together.
💜 More recipes you'll love
If you loved these coconut chocolate energy bites, try one of my other vegan dessert recipes!
Chocolate Coconut Date Balls
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 cup packed Medjool dates pitted
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons finely shredded coconut or ground flaxseed meal
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 tablespoons dark chocolate finely chopped
- pinch sea salt
- 1-3 tablespoons water
- ¼ cup finely shredded coconut or finely chopped walnuts or cocoa powder, for rolling
- In a food processor, add walnuts and process into crumbs. Be careful not to over-process into nut butter.1 cup walnuts
- How to pit dates: Be sure to remove the pits from your dates. They are very hard and inedible. To remove them, slice the date in half lengthwise with a paring knife (or tear it into two pieces with your fingers). Open the date and throw away the pit that's inside. Also throw away the hard stem at the top of the date, if it's there.
- Add pitted dates and process until dates are finely chopped and combined with walnut crumbs.1 cup packed Medjool dates
- Add cocoa powder, coconut/flaxseed meal, peanut butter, almond extract, dark chocolate, sea salt and 1 tablespoon of the water. Process until combined, smooth and forming a dough. If it's too dry, add another tablespoon of water and process again.3 tablespoons cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons finely shredded coconut, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, ¼ teaspoon almond extract, 2 tablespoons dark chocolate, pinch sea salt, 1-3 tablespoons water
- Remove from food processor and place in bowl. If decorating with coconut or finely chopped walnuts, put them in a separate small bowl.
- Using a spoon, put a small piece (about a tablespoon-full) of dough in your hand and roll it into a ball. Then, roll in shredded coconut/walnuts. If rolling in cocoa powder, do this just before serving (otherwise the cocoa will melt away).¼ cup finely shredded coconut
- Place on a tray or plate and refrigerate or freeze for 30 minutes to firm up. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator for 1 week or in the freezer for 4-6 weeks.
Inspired by Oh She Glows Triple Almond Energy Bites