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With October in full swing, I’ve been living and breathing apples lately. I eat apples in some form almost every day, either raw dipped in almond butter, as sauce sprinkled with cinnamon, baked as Crunchy Apple Chips, or—most recently—in these bite-sized treats.
My heart does a little cheer whenever I read a new study or article about the health benefits of apples. Knowing that they’re loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C makes me feel all the more virtuous about eating them so frequently. During the initial healing process after going gluten-free a few years ago, apples were one of the few foods that agreed with my temperamental tummy. At times, I would eat two apples a day (sometimes more) simply because they were an easy thing to grab that I knew wouldn’t make me sick.
Despite my every day obsession with nature’s perfect fruit, I do try to deviate on occasion from my usual apple-with-nut-butter combo. These easy Apple Coconut Snack Balls are a snap to make and incorporate apples along with a few other trusty sidekicks: cinnamon, almond butter, and coconut.
The texture is somewhat of a cross between a firm cake and macaroons, with just enough sweetness to taste like a treat. Don’t expect them to be as sweet as cake, though. They make a great snack, but I wouldn’t call them dessert balls.
To give the treats structure, I use crushed gluten-free rice cereal—Erewhon Gluten-Free Crispy Brown Rice Cereal to be exact, which is not only gluten-free but also dairy-free, vegan, and naturally sweetened with just a hint of brown rice syrup. This recipe is my entry into the Attune Foods October Cooking Challenges Recipe Contest, where the challenge for this month is to create a treat using one of their many delicious products. For all of the details about the contest or to enter your own recipe, click here.
(All statements about Attune Foods, its products, or the Cooking Challenges Recipe Contest are my own. This post is part of—and made as a condition to—my entry in the Attune Foods Cooking Challenges Recipe Contest.)
Apple Coconut Snack Balls
Total prep time: 35 minutes | Active time: 20 minutes
These easy and nutritious snack balls are the perfect not-too-sweet treat to tuck into lunchboxes or to serve as an after school snack. Grated apple adds sweetness and flavor while the rice cereal offers sturdy texture and the goodness of whole grain.
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, plus more for rolling
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 medium Golden Delicious apple, grated on the large holes of a box grater
¼ cup creamy almond butter
2 tablespoons dark maple syrup
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the rice cereal in a plastic food storage bag and coarsely crush it using a rolling pin or heavy skillet. Transfer the coarse crumbs to a large mixing bowl. Stir in 1 cup of shredded coconut along with the cinnamon and ginger. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the grated apple, almond butter, and maple syrup. Add to the cereal mixture and knead with your hands to combine. Stir in the egg white.
Shape the dough into 15 balls about 1 – 1 ½ inches in diameter. Roll the balls in shredded coconut. Place them at least 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes or until just firm to the touch. Cool completely before serving. (Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)
Find dozens more gluten-free recipes at Slightly Indulgent Tuesday!