"Cookie Dough Balls!"

It happened by accident. I really wanted cookies, because I always want cookies, but we had no butter, or coconut oil. Heck, we didn't even have olive oil. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and when I want "just a little treat," I am going to get it, one way or another. I frantically searached our cupboards, and in the way back, with all the lonely and forgotten exotic spices, I found a handful of oats, some random nuts (pumpkin, hazelnut, peanut, and almond,) maple syrup, some seeds, and a few chocolate chips. These ingredients, along with a head of garlic and canned beans were literally ALL we had left in the house. It seemed worth a try. I toasted all the nuts in the oven to bring out some flavor and blended them in the food processor until they were fragrant and creamy. I combined all the above ingredients, some sea salt and vanilla and accidentally made the granola bars/energy bites, (whatever you want to call them,) I have been trying to make for years. My attempts have always been decent, but finding just the right texture, combined with just the right taste, has been tricky. I must have been trying too hard. This is where I seem to shine. When one might think there is no food left in our kitchen, I can usually make a few more meals. I am good at making something from nothing, and now it has become surprisingly fun. 

A few days later I got some store bought peanut butter and made them again, just to make sure I didn't love them out of desperation. Then we made them a third and fourth time, and now we can't stop making, and eating them. The best part is that my girls think they are cookie dough, and I don't have to feel bad about it. Contrary to what my family and friends like to assume about me, I DO let my kids eat sugar, in fact they/we eat too much (I've got the cavities to prove it!) The truth is, I've had to let a lot slip in these demanding years when it's enough just to get through our days, but now I feel sane enough to be a little more intentional, at least this month. So without further ado, our favorite "cookie dough balls!"

Cookie Dough Balls

Makes about 12? (I am not really sure how many balls the recipe makes because we usually eat half by the spoonful before we ever get to rolling them into balls.)

2 c. rolled oats (pulsed a few times in food processor or blender)

1/4 c. chia seeds

1/4 c. sesame seeds

2 tbsp. flax seeds

1/4 c. chocolate chips (optional)

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

*1/2 c. + 1 tbsp. nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew) 

1/4 c. + 1 tbsp. maple syrup

* depending on the the brand of nut butter you use, the consistency may vary slightly. If the texture of your dough seems too dry you can add a tablespoon of nut butter and maple syrup until everything comes together. 

Method: 

Place all dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix together. Whisk together nut butter, maple syrup and extract, and pour over dry ingredients. Use a large wooden spoon and mix until everything comes together. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill. Scoop and roll into bite sized balls. Store in your fridge, in an air tight container for up to a week.