Vegan Dessert: Quinoa Cocoa Bites: aka Monkey Balls

I ran into a friend in the bulk food section of the grocery store and she mentioned she was looking for something to add to her kid-friendly dessert bites. She told me about her “super-easy” Quinoa Cocoa Bites that her kids adore. She graciously e-mailed me her recipe and we made them the next day.

The Gluten-Free Quinoa Cocoa Bites are a great kid-friendly vegan dessert. The kids loved both the process and the result, which they named “Monkey Balls”. It was a hit! The recipe can easily be modified to be nut-free (using Sunbutter sunflower seed butter) and using quinoa makes them deliciously gluten-free. Get creative. You can include just about anything that sounds tasty. Have fun and enjoy!

Ingredients for Vegan Dessert Bites: “Monkey Balls”    

4 ripe bananas, mashed 4T nut butter: peanut butter, almond butter, or sunflower seed butter 2T black-strap molasses or honey (optional) 1T vanilla 2t cinnamon 4T shredded unsweetened coconut 2T ground flax seed 4-6 t cocoa powder or carob powder (optional) 1/2 c cacao nibs (optional) 1 cup cooked pumpkin (optional) 3 cups whole grain: dry Old fashioned oats or cooked Quinoa 1/2 c nuts: chopped almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, hazelnuts 1/2 c seeds: sunflower, pumpkin, hemp, sesame, chia seeds 1-2c dried fruit: raisins, chopped figs, dates, dried apricots, or Gogi berries

Mash bananas (potato masher), stir in nut butter, molasses, vanilla, cinnamon, coconut, flax, cocoa or carob powder, cacao nibs, pumpkin, oats or quinoa, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. Use ice cream scooper to scoop mixture into muffin tins. Place muffin tins in freezer until frozen. Remove “Monkey Balls” from muffin tins and store in freezer bags. Can be eaten frozen or slightly thawed. Enjoy the Quinoa Cocoa Bites!

A special “thank you” to Heather Bauer, wife of Lutheran Hospital CEO Brian Bauer and mother of two busy boys for her inspirational recipe!