I’m a lover of experience and memories over things, pretty much always. This is evident in the way I gift my family, particularly for birthdays. Planning a surprise getaway brings me almost as much joy as the trip itself. For Aidan’s 11th (today!), we planned a short trip – just one overnight and two days of skiing and snowboarding up at Crystal Mountain. It’s a 2.5 hour drive, and lift tickets were included with our stay. This allowed us to be sneaky behind the scenes and plan for one of his best friends to join us.
I try to keep things economical by making and packing as much of our food as possible, and aiming to get a room with a kitchen. For this trip, it meant making minestrone soup and sandwiches before we left for our trip to have for dinner last night, and bringing the goods to make french toast this morning. I also packed these crispy bites, and put 2 – 3 in individual snack size bags. I froze them, then sent everyone out with a bag to stuff in their jacket pocket for a little energy while out on the slopes. The crew loved them, so I thought I’d give you all the recipe, too!
These are kind of similar to my cacao-coconut balls, but with a different texture, more ingredients and maple syrup instead of honey, making them vegan. If you use gluten-free oats, your bites will be gluten-free, too. And as always I aim to hit that sweet spot of tastes good and makes you feel good, so they’re delicious!
Vegan Crispy Cacao Bites
3 c. blended oats
4 TBSP cacao powder
1/3 c. raw sunflower seeds
1/3 c. brown rice crisps
1/3 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
2 TBSP cacao nibs
heaping 1/2 tsp. fine grain sea salt
2/3 c. pure maple syrup
1/2 c. natural peanut butter or almond butter
4 TBSP coconut oil
2 tsp. vanilla
Blend oats in your blender or food process so that some turn to a flour-like texture, but there are still fragments of oats. You may need to do this in batches. Mix your dry ingredients – blended oats, cacao powder, sunflower seeds, brown rice crisps, shredded coconut, cacao nibs and sea salt in a large bowl.
Over medium heat in a sauce pan, stir coconut oil, peanut or almond butter, and maple syrup until just melted. Remove from heat, add vanilla and stir to combine. Pour these ingredients into the dry ingredients in the bowl. Mix everything together thoroughly. Put bowl in freezer for 10 minutes.
Pull the bowl back out, and roll mixture into uniform bites. I often use a cookie scoop for this part. Store in an airtight container in the freezer. Grab when you’re heading outside for an adventure. (Or, you know, anytime you want a snack that tastes good!) These are an excellent addition to weekend food prep if that’s part of your routine. You’ll thank yourself all week!