There are combos in life that just go together, like avocado and toast (or tbh- avocado with anything) or a burger and fries. But is there anything quite as classic as pb & j? Growing up, I had this combo all the time (yup, we were allowed to bring nut butters to school). And this was a classic for a reason. The sticky nature of the peanut butter combined with sweet jam makes perfect sense. I wanted to create all those same nostalgic feelings, so I created these PB & J energy bites. Ready to make them yourself, let’s get to it.
The Classics are A Classic For a Reason:
PB & J bites were inspired by a local vegan and gluten free restaurant here in Toronto (and Quebec) called Kupfert and Kim. If you’re ever in the area, check them out, I highly suggest the k&k paleo bowl, waffles, Oaxaca bowl, hemp burger and especially the pb & j energy bites. Honestly, I’ve tried most of the menu items and everything is delicious. But when I was hosting a workshop earlier this year, they were so kind to gift us with some of their delicious snacks, including the infamous pb & j energy bites. It was the first time I tried them and I was IN LOVE. I actually wasn’t sure that the bites would end up lasting until the workshop only a few days away.
Trying To Find An Impossibly Difficult Ingredient… in Canada:
I knew that I had to recreate these bites myself, so I set off on a mission to make them. But, I ran into one big problem. I couldn’t find any freeze dried strawberries or raspberries, anywhere. This was a key ingredient because it’s what provides the whole tartness to the recipe and the j to the pb. I looked in every health food store, specialty herb shop, bulk barn, everywhere. I found some on Amazon that looked great, but the shipping here was more than the cost of the bag itself. I kept thinking, WTF is going on?! We live in Canada, why is it impossible to find such an ingredient. So the pb & j energy bites would have to wait. Then finally, I made my way to Detroit for a girls weekend trip a few weeks back and I knew a Trader Joe’s haul was in my future. When I polled people on my Instagram stories to see where to find freeze dried berries, everyone told me TJ’s. So I happily made it my mission to head there to find it, and I did, I brought home two bags. Trust me, I wanted more, but I didn’t want to be ridiculous about it, plus border crossing isn’t fun so I didn’t want to overdo it. Also, I had to get other things, like cauliflower gnocchi and everything but the bagel seasoning (yes, I am basic af). To say I am jealous of all my American friends who have access to a Trader Joe’s is an understatement.
PB & J Energy Bites:
Ok, so freeze dried raspberries in hand, I was ready to make these pb & j energy bites happen. And boy did they happen! They tasted very similar to the ones I’ve had at Kupfert & Kim and for that I am so happy. If you needed to make them peanut free, I would suggest using almond butter or maybe even sunbutter if you need a nut free alternative. Of course, you would also have to replace the almonds and cashews in the recipe as well. They would taste different, but I am sure you could make them work somehow. The one thing you really need for this recipe is indeed some kind of freeze dried berry, like raspberry or strawberry. I prefer raspberry because its a little more tart and I just like raspberries more, but you do you. I think even blueberries would work as well, but that would obviously change the colour and flavour.
Alright, so are you in? Are you hopping on the pb & j energy bite train? When I had Sam taste them, he said “Wow, these are really good, they taste just like a pb & j sandwich.” Which is exactly what I was going for, so I’d say these are a win.
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If you want to intensify the flavour of the peanut even more, you could replace the almonds or cashews in this recipe for peanuts. The bites will be a tad on the oily side when you are rolling them. What I found that worked well, was wiping my hands in between making a few on some paper towel and continuing to work. Once you place them in the fridge, they won’t be as oily. The oily factor is simply from using the peanut butter. I went a lot lower on the dates in this recipe than what I’ve seen out there when it comes to energy balls because my preference is always for things to be less sweet. I am much more of a savoury person than sweet, but if you have more of a sweet tooth, add a few more dates. Also, my medjool dates were quite large, so keep that in mind as well.
Ok, let’s get rolling on to the recipe! Enjoy these bites friends. I also highly suggest adding them to your steel cut oats, like I did here. They make a delicious topping! If you want to learn the quickest way to make steel cut oats, check out my Instant Pot method over here.
If you’re in Canada and having a hard time finding the freeze dried berries, I’m sorry! I truly have no idea why it’s so hard to find here. If you do find them, let me know in the comments.
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If you make these, please let me know by tagging me on Instagram, or leaving a note in the comments.
Pb & J Energy Bites
The classic combo of PB & J in energy bite form!
Place the pitted dates, cashews and almonds in a food processor and blend until everything is finely chopped.
Add in the peanut butter and process for a minute or two, until everything starts to hold together and form a dough.
Remove the mixture from the food processor and set aside. Wipe out the food processor and add the raspberries and process until a fine dust is formed, some seeds will remain from the berries, thats ok. Once this is processed, remove and set aside.
Take the dough and make balls with them, rolling in your hands until you are satisfied with the shape. Roll into the raspberry mix until they are fully coated. Add to a container and place in the fridge. Refrigerate to help firm them up a bit for about 20-30 minutes.
Keep leftover energy bites in the fridge or freezer if needed.
This recipe makes about 22 bites.
The mixture will be oily, wipe your hands between making the balls and refrigerating them will help afterwards.
You can make this in a high powered blender, but you will have to work in batches to ensure everything gets mixed up and it doesn't overheat.