Monday, 10 August 2015

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls (grain-free, vegan)

These healthy chocolate peanut butter balls are loaded with protein and are vegan, grain-free, gluten-free and dairy-free.
Yesterday I set out to make a cinnamon raisin version of this raw peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough. I wasn’t feeling overly ambitious (meaning I didn’t feel like actually baking anything) and it sounded easy enough. Just use almond butter instead of peanut butter and add cinnamon and raisins! But no. That was gross.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls (vegan, grain-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free

Then I decided that double chocolate peanut butter cookie dough sounded even better than the cinnamon raisin idea, but after adding additional peanut butter and doubling the maple syrup and still not being in love with the recipe, it became clear that that wasn’t in the cards, either. So I finally decided just to go with protein balls. These are delicious but they don’t taste like cookie dough. They do actually taste like grain-free cookie dough but that’s not what I was going for! If I’m going to make raw cookie dough, I want it to taste like it was made with all-purpose flour.
What we have here instead are some chocolate peanut butter protein balls! They don’t really taste like dessert, but they’re great for a quick, healthy, late-night chocolate craving. To be honest, I prefer the peanut butter cookie dough because it’s straight up peanut butter goodness. Once you add cocoa powder (with chocolate chips being an exception!) to something peanut butter flavored, it’s just not quite as good.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls (vegan, gluten-free, grain-free and dairy-free

I haven’t tried it but I imagine almond butter would work in these if you want a paleo-friendly version. But after my cookie dough experiments, I don’t say that with 100% confidence.
Nut butters are weird. I always thought that they were mostly interchangeable but lately I’ve been playing around with them and the end product doesn’t always come out the same texture-wise! Sometimes they’re really different.
See those white specks in the balls? If you use a finely ground almond flour, you shouldn’t have those. I ran out of my favorite brand, which is uniformly finely ground, and had to buy something else. Only now when looking at these pictures did I realize how badly this other almond flour was ground! Do almond flour brands vary that greatly in the US? It almost looks as if I dumped some coconut flakes in there! Anyway. Enjoy the protein balls. :)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls (vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls (grain-free, vegan)
  • Prep Time: 
  • Cook Time: 
  • Ready in: 
  • Yield: 20 balls


  • ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons (224 grams) salted natural peanut butter (the kind with just salt and nuts)
  • ¼ cup (60 milliliters) maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup (66 grams) almond flour
  • 3 tablespoons (22 grams) Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (use dairy-free / vegan chocolate chips, if necessary)
  • a pinch of salt if your peanut butter is unsalted


  1. Mix everything together and roll into balls by squeezing together tablespoon-sized balls of dough. The dough should be a little crumbly, but not so crumbly that you can't form balls easily. If it's too dry to squeeze into balls, add a little extra water.
  2. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to one week. These also freeze well.

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