Roll these balls in an almond sugar powder to help absorb some of the oil from the peanut butter, which leaves little hands less sticky when they grab a snack. This step, however, is optional.
For the energy balls:
- 1 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (gluten-free, if needed)
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
For the coating:
- 1/4 cup whole roasted almonds (or substitute peanuts, pecans, or walnuts)
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt (if almonds are unsalted)
1 Process the oats: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the oats for 10 seconds to break them down a little. Some pieces should look small like sand; others should remain almost whole. This is what you want.
2 Combine the ingredients: In a small bowl, stir together the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla extract. Add oats and chocolate chips to the peanut butter and stir well with a wooden spoon to combine. The mixture will be thick and pliable like playdough.
3 Make the almond sugar powder: In the bowl of the food processor (no need to clean it out), add the almonds, powdered sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Pulse until the mixture looks like sandy gravel. You want a very fine powder with almond bits that are smaller than the mini chocolate chips.
4 Make the balls: Scoop out about 1 teaspoon of dough and roll it into a ball between the palms of your hands. It may be a bit crumbly, but should hold together when pressed firmly (if not, mix another tablespoon of peanut butter into the mixture).
Continue until all the dough is used up, placing the balls on a sheet pan or platter lined with wax paper.
5 Roll the balls in the coating: When finished shaping, roll the balls in the almond mixture to coat. Once all the balls have been coated, go back and roll them all once more. The first coating is often absorbed into the ball. The second coating will adhere, but not absorb, which makes it easier to eat the energy balls.
6 Store or freeze: Store in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. To freeze, place them in a single later on a platter or baking sheet until solid. Transfer to a zip-top bag for up to 3 months.