Apple Coconut Snack Balls

October 11th, 2011 at 12:12 pm

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

Makes 15

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.

2 cups Erewhon Gluten-Free Crispy Brown Rice Cereal

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!


  1. These look like fantastic little lunchbox treats. What a great idea!

  2. Beautiful snack idea! These are too cute and I’m sure very tasty!

  3. These look fabulous and I love how simple they are! Do you think they could be made without the egg white?

  4. Laura – Thanks!

    Melanie – I know…eating snacks that have visual appeal is so much fun. :)

  5. Christine – You could try using a flaxseed slurry (whisk ground flaxseeds with warm water) in place of the egg white. It’s just to bind them and hold them together. Actually, you could probably leave it out, but they may be more crumbly without it. Good luck! :)

  6. that looks yummy, can’t believ they’re completely guilt free too!

  7. Wow, those look amazing Hallie! I hope you win!!!

  8. These look gorgeous and sound delicious! I wonder how they’d work as trail running treats, tucked into my Camelbak pack in a small zip top bag. =)

    Cheers, Pete

  9. Wonderful snack for the whole family!! I made a few easy substitutions and they came out wonderfully. I make peanut butter balls regularly, but they are always no-bake. I would never have thought to add the egg white and apple, or to bake them These were awesome!

  10. Peter: Sounds like a great idea!

    Anjanette: Yay! So glad you enjoyed them. :)

  11. these look so sweet, I hadn’t realised from the photo that they are baked – wow! Since I have apples galore, I shall have to try them, but, like the Christine above, without egg:)

    In fact, I think I’ll try one uncooked first – without the egg maybe they’ll be good raw – here’s hoping :)

  12. Thanks for a perfect autumn party treat! We made a test batch of these tonight, subbing 1T. golden flaxseed meal plus 3T. warm water for the egg white and they came out perfect and held together well. I also used a #40 disher (1.5T.) to measure out scoops for the balls and the recipe made 16 of this size (perfect for the kids–about 4 bites each for them). My 4 year old son is already eating his third and I ate several myself. So good and just slightly sweet. I also used pure creamy almond butter with no added sugar or salt.

  13. My son and I just made these this morning! They are super! I used sunflower seed butter instead of the almond butter. My son suggested next we make them (and there will be a next time!) we should add raisins, too. I have been looking for recipes like yours without much sugar in it. These are perfect! Thanks Hallie for another great recipe!

  14. Hallie, I’m confused, I love just about all the recipes that are put out by many gluten free bloggers. My problem and my daughter with special needs are both gluten intolerance. the problem with us is that I read that rice is a grain we should stay away from if your GI. We both can’t go by what we eat because It doesn’t matter what I eat I show no symptoms but I have show up with some problems that r caused by gluten. and My daughter it’s hard for her to explain her pain even though she is in pain everyday and I’ve been trying to cook everything from scratch and she’s still in pain, but thinking I may need to take away all dairy, even thou all our dairy is Grass Feed. But any way back to my question I know a lot of y’all cood with some form of rice and from what I’ve read and heard we stay away from it and not really sure if we should since we love rice so. Anyway is there anything you have read about the rice problem in Gluten Free? I really would like to try this recipe.
    Thanks for your time,

  15. Molly: That’s a good question. If rice is verified as being gluten-free (meaning that it’s not cross contaminated with wheat in the processing), it is gluten-free. However, many people with strong sensitivities or more sensitive systems find that they do better on a completely grain-free diet, not just gluten-free. When I first went gluten-free, I functioned best eating no grains at all because my system was so messed up. Now I can eat gluten-free grains like rice and quinoa if I choose, although most of them time I do better focusing on veggies, fruits, proteins, and fats. Hope that helps a little! :)

    (If you’re looking for a grain-free treat, you might try my Grain-Free Granola Balls instead.)

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