During my summers as an undergrad in college, I worked full-time in a chemistry research lab. After waking up at 6 am to run, shower, and eat, I arrived on campus by 9 alongside the grad students. Slightly bleary-eyed, we exchanged pleasantries, slipped into long white lab coats, pulled on bright purple nitrile gloves, and slid on our safety glasses.
From 9 until 6 (minus an hour-long lunch break), I stayed in my super attractive chemistry gear. In my designated workspace—half of a 6-foot-long fume hood—I poured clear chemicals and white powders into my sparkling clean round-Christmas-ornament-shaped glassware and spent hours stirring, rinsing, evaporating, and separating the reactions’ products.
Some days, I stayed late to access the analytical equipment in the basement: huge magnets that looked like oversized R2D2’s. (One of them stood nearly 10 feet tall, and everyone had to climb a full-sized ladder to read the top!) The machines would spit out strangely shaped graphs that looked like pointy mountain peaks for us to stare at and interpret. Oddly enough, those mountain ranges actually told us whether we synthesized the correct thing!
The days after one of those late-night sessions, I always needed an extra snack break during the afternoon to help me stay awake. I easily convinced the grad students to head across the courtyard to the snack shack across the way, where they’d pick up coffee and I’d buy dark chocolate. Although my candy bar rarely gave me a good energy boost, it still motivated me to get back to work!
But these Chocolate Fig Energy Bites will definitely do both! Packed with protein and dried fruit for a quick energy boost, they’re perfect for the 3 pm munchies. They fit almost any diet—including gluten-free, nut-free, vegan, and clean eating. With their deep chocolaty flavor and fudgy texture, they practically taste like healthy brownie bites!
This low-calorie recipe is one of the simplest you’ll ever make! The hardest part? Making the fig paste. My secret trick is to hydrate the figs in the microwave; it helps soften them really quickly! Then pulse them in a food processor with the remaining liquid until thick and smooth. Easy peasy!
It’s really important to let the fig paste to cool. Stick it in the fridge to speed up the process. If it’s still warm, the fig paste will start to melt the chocolate chips, and the mixture will stick to your hands a little more as your shape the energy balls. (Not a horrible thing… But I much prefer to taste the little chunks of chocolate instead!)
Once that’s cool, simply stir it together with the oats, cocoa, and protein powder. I used Plant Fusion Vanilla Bean protein powder. It’s gluten-free, soy-free, low-sugar, vegan, and actually tastes good! I can’t stand the flavor of whey—it always induces my gag reflex—but this plant-based protein powder just tastes like vanilla with no strange aftertastes.
Now add in the chocolate chips and mold the mixture into balls. It’ll probably stick to your hands a bit, but not nearly as bad as my favorite truffles! Place the energy bites on wax paper as you finish rolling, and store them in an airtight container on the countertop for a few days… If they last that long!
With their tempting chocolate chunks and sweet earthy flavor, these Chocolate Fig Energy Bites didn’t stand a chance in my kitchen! Unlike most goodies that I re-home as soon as I finish their photo shoot, I didn’t share a single one of these bites and polished them off in less than 2 days. I even nibbled on a few as dessert after dinner instead of extra fudgy brownies—they’re that good!
Chocolaty energy snacks = ♥
Healthy Chocolate Fig Energy Bites
- Add the figs and water to a large microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on HIGH for 1 minute. Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes before adding the hydrated figs and leftover water to a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Let the mixture cool completely to room temperature. (TIP: Place in the refrigerator to speed up the process!)
- Add the oats, protein powder, and cocoa powder to a medium bowl, and stir until thoroughly combined. Mix in the fig paste until fully incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Lay a sheet of wax paper on a large plate. Shape the chocolate mixture into 32 balls, placing each on the wax paper after rolling.