Thursday, 8 November 2018

Hazelnut-Cacao Energy Balls - A Pre-Pilates Booster (no bake, vegan, free from gluten, dairy & refined sugar)

It feels like a while since I posted a recipe, but these Hazelnut-Cacao Energy Balls, which are free from gluten, dairy, refined sugar and are also no bake and vegan, have recently become a bit of a Sunday morning energy boost for me and it seemed like a good plan to share them. Why Sunday morning? Because since I attended an amazing Pilates retreat back in September at Pignoulet in Gascony, I have managed to join a Pilates class locally and actually keep it up!

Although I know they don't look that appetising, these energy balls are packed full of slow-release energy goodness and taste amazingly good. Adapted from a Deliciously Ella recipe, they have become inextricably associated with Pilates in my head, because I first had an almond version when at Pignoulet. Offered as a pre-session energy boost first thing in the morning, they felt especially healthy and nutritious.

It's funny how foods become linked with activities and very specific memories. I have other very fixed associations with Reggae Potatoes and the Peak District, Fish Bolognese and the Seychelles, Homity Pies and University, home-made pasta and visiting my Nana, and Vegetable Lasagne and sunbeds (it's a long story)...

Perhaps it's that eating these energy balls brings back idyllic memories of the sun rising over the beautiful Pignoulet farmhouse, and feeling its warmth touch my skin as I ready to start the day with Pilates in the barn, but when I eat one, I feel just that little bit happier.

The particular adaptations that I have made to the original recipe are to substitute almonds for hazelnuts (although almonds are very yummy too) and to alter the ingredient ratios very slightly as the balls were prone to 'melt' in the warmth due to the liquid nature of the coconut oil. Regardless, they are still better stored in the fridge, both for sturdiness and longevity.

I am sharing my version of Hazelnut-Cacao Energy Balls with :

Cook Blog Share - This week with Recipes Made Easy
Cook Once Eat Twice with Searching for Spice
Fiesta Friday #249 with Angie, Goats & Greens and Apply To Face Blog

Hazelnut-Cacao Energy Balls (slightly adapted from a recipe by Deliciously Ella) - makes 12 to 14 balls


200g dates (de-stoned weight)
100g hazelnuts (de-skinned and lightly toasted)
12g coconut oil
45g almond butter 
pinch fine sea salt
2 tablespoons cacao powder


  1. Weigh all ingredients into a blender (making sure your dates are de-stoned and the hazelnuts are lightly toasted).
  2. Pulse together until well blended.
  3. Place in the fridge to cool, before rolling into 12 to 14 balls with your hands. 
  4. Store in the fridge until ready to eat. 
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-18 unless otherwise indicated


  1. These look delicious! I love snacking on energy balls and I bet the toasted hazelnuts are so good in these ones. Thanks for sharing with #CookOnceEatTwice! x

  2. They look really tasty I love hazelnuts. Thanks for linking to #CookBlogShare

  3. I love that sort of exercise that makes you want to eat good food - as opposed to exercise that make you want to collapse into a bag of crisps :-) And these are all the more wonderful for bringing back some happy memories

  4. These energy balls look decadent and thank you for sharing details about your cruise trip. The food looked fabulous, and the staff took such care and attention to your dietary restrictions. I didn't even know about all the measures you have to take to prevent cross-contaminations.

  5. They look like my kind of healthy treat - where you don't realise it's healthy because it tastes so good!

  6. These look great, and they're gluten free. I've recently discovered that almonds are tree nuts I CAN eat, so I'd be tempted to make the sub in reverse! I bet those would be great... Thanks for sailing these over to Fiesta Friday, and have a great week!

  7. These look delicious! I'd love to try these out some time!

    ~ Priya Iyer from

  8. Such a healthy treat, have made ones using almonds and cacao. Have to try the hazelnuts ones next time.

  9. These sound and look amazing!


I always LOVE to hear from you, so please leave a comment, share your thoughts and stay in touch.

By leaving a comment, you consent to any personal information you choose to share being collected by Gluten Free Alchemist for statistical and monitoring purposes and you enter into a public conversation linked to the post. You may choose to make your comment anonymous by ticking the relevant check-box. For full details of the GFA Privacy Policy, please click on the signposted label at the top of the page.