Pumpkin Seed & Chocolate Bliss Balls
Fudgy, chocolatey, and delicious, these nutritious Pumpkin Seed & Chocolate Bliss Balls are vegan and gluten-free! They’re quick and easy to make, and you’ll only need 5 ingredients. They’re perfect as a healthy sweet treat and would make a lovely edible gift.
I first started making bliss balls a couple of years ago and I remember thinking ‘how can something with seeds, nuts and dried fruit taste so deliciously decadent?! They’re chewy, perfectly sweet and the dates give them a rich caramel-like flavour. What’s not to love about that?! Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a sweet tooth, and resisting the urge to eat lots of sweet snacks throughout the day has always been somewhat of a challenge for me, so I’m always on the lookout for healthy sweet treats, and these pumpkin seed and bliss balls are one of my favourites! If you have a sweet tooth and are on the lookout for some guilt-free treats, then you’ll love these bliss balls!
What are Bliss Balls?
Bliss balls, sometimes referred to as energy bites or protein balls, are nutritious treats usually made from a base of soft dates, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, protein powers and additional natural flavours. They’re very versatile and easy to make, so you can experiment with lots of interesting combinations.
Why Make These Pumpkin Seed & Chocolate Bliss Balls?
They’re easy to make and no-bake
They’re vegan, gluten-free, and free from refined sugars
They’re nutritious and delicious!
You’ll only need a handful of ingredients
They can be made in advance and stay good for up to 2 weeks
They make great edible gifts
They’re a great post-workout snack
They’re very versatile so you can add additional flavours of your choice
They’re a great way of getting children to eats seeds and dried fruit
The process of making them can be turned into a fun activity for kids. You can get them to help you with shaping and decorating the balls.
Ingredients for Pumpkin Seed & Chocolate Bliss Balls
Here’s what you’ll need to make these delicious bliss balls:
Pumpkin Seeds: I’ve used pumpkin seeds for this recipe, but if you’re not a fan of pumpkin seeds, you can use sunflower seeds instead.
Soft Dates: The base for these bliss balls are Medjool dates. They have a deliciously sweet caramel flavour and create the perfect texture when combined with milled pumpkin seeds. I’d recommend you use soft Medjool dates, but any variety of soft pitted dates will do. Medjool dates are pricier than regular dates, but they have a more intense flavour, so I’d say they’re worth it. If you have some dates at hand and they feel a little too hard or dry, do no chuck them away. Simply soak them in hot water for about 5 minutes, and they’ll be perfect to use to make these bliss balls.
Cacao Powder: I’d recommend using good quality Cacao power rather than Cocoa powder as it is higher in protein, fibre, magnesium and iron, but either one will do. If you’re using cocoa power, I’d recommend using a little less as it’s a little sweeter than cacao powder.
Date Molasses: The date molasses has a rich, treacly sweetness and a thick, viscous consistency. The date molasses adds extra richness and sweetness to these bliss balls, but its main purpose is to give more moisture and to help to bind the ingredients. If you’re unable to find date molasses, you can use grape or carob molasses instead, or you can use some good quality maple syrup.
Salt: A pinch of salt will help to balance out the sweetness and to intensify the chocolate flavour.
Vegan Chocolate: you can dip these bliss balls in some melted vegan chocolate to make them taste even more decadent.
Vanilla Paste: I find that adding ½ tsp of vanilla paste enhances the caramel-like flavour of these bliss balls.
Can I Change the Ingredients for these Bliss Balls?
You sure can! If you’re not a fan of pumpkin seeds, you can use sunflower seeds instead. You can also experiment with different flavour combinations. I’ve used cacao powder, but you can add other powders such as moringa powder or maca powder. To add even more flavour, why not try adding ½ teaspoon of cinnamon or pumpkin spice.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds, Dates and Cacao Powder
Dates are not just delicious; they are also very nutritious! They’re high in fiber and antioxidants such as Flavonoids, Carotenoids and Phenolic acid, all of which provide health benefits ranging from improved digestion to a reduced risk of disease. The fiber in dates may be beneficial for blood sugar control, so they’re a great sugar alternative for those who suffer from diabetes.
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of protein and unsaturated fats, including omega-6 fatty acids. They also contain a good range of nutrients. They’re high in minerals such as Phosphorus, magnesium and zinc, which can help to build stronger bones and to support the immune system. Pumpkin seeds are also high in vitamin K, which helps to keep bones healthy and support wound healing.
Cacao powder is packed with flavonoids. Flavonoids can help regulate blood pressure and improve blood flow. It's also a good source of iron, magnesium, potassium, naturally occurring protein and fiber.
How to Make Pumpkin Seed and Chocolate Bliss Balls
Add the pumpkin seeds into your food processor and pulse for 1-2 minutes. If you’d like your bliss balls to have a coarser texture, then pulse the pumpkin seeds for 1 minute or less.
Add the pitted dates into the food processor and blend on low speed for about 3 minutes (stop to scrape down the sides if needed) until a paste starts to form.
Turn the sticky date paste out into a bowl. Add the milled pumpkin seeds, cacao power, date molasses and salt and knead with your hands, for a few minutes, until all the ingredients come together to form a “dough”. If you’re using a larger food processor, you can skip this step and add all the ingredients to the food processor at once.
Roll the "dough" in to small 1-1 1/2 inch balls. If you find that the "dough" is sticking to your hands when rolling the balls, just coat the palm of your hands with some coconut oil and this should make it easier to roll the balls.
Optional – to decorate, roll the pumpkin seed and chocolate bliss balls in some milled pumpkin seeds, cacao powder or melted vegan chocolate.
How to Store and Freeze these Pumpkin Seed and Chocolate Bliss Balls
To store: Store the bliss balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
To freeze: You can freeze these bliss balls after they’ve been shaped. Simply place the bliss balls in a food container and store in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Whichever dates you use, make sure they’re soft. If the dates are too hard and dry, the ingredients will not bind together.
If the dough is not coming together (if your dates were too dry for example), you can add some more molasses, maple syrup or coconut oil, until the dough is the perfect consistency.
To check if the “dough” is ready to shape into balls, take a little of the mixture in to your hand and squeeze it. If it sticks together without crumbing, it’s the right consistency.
Grease your hands with a bit of coconut oil before shaping the bliss balls. This will make them easier to shape and will prevent the dough from sticking to your hands.