Listen, I’ve got a shocker for you. This recipe isn’t paleo. Peanuts aren’t actually “nuts” but rather legumes. That’s why peanut allergies are separate from tree-nut allergies. Some people have both types of allergies. Some have one or the other. Some have none. No one is telling you that you should or should not eat it. That’s your choice. But for me, when I was traveling in Seattle and found a local company selling incredibly high quality peanut products I stocked up with excitement. Of course, TSA took my peanut butter. But that’s a sad story for another day. Fortunately CB Nuts is on Amazon and I was able to share it with the family after all.
No need to get your panties twisted. This recipe is nourishing and nutrient-dense. It’s high-protein. It’s full of healthy fats. It’s low sugar, and what is used is a natural source in low quantities of sweeteners full of vitamins and minerals. It’s a great snack for kid & adults alike. It’s also a recreation (by request) of Peanut Butter and Honey Balls, which is apparently some childhood snack I grew up knowing nothing about (thanks, Mom).
Years ago our family gave up peanuts because they were on a list of potential gut irritants for people who follow a paleo diet. We tried using almond butter, a bajillion brands, but none of us ever really liked it. We switched to Sunbutter. We were hard core sunflower-seed junkies – since it had the closest taste recreation – we even invented sunflower seed flour as a nut-free affordable almond flour replacement. Then, as the years went by we noticed something.
When we ate sunflower products we got gas. Yup, our family was farting from a “paleo” food. Like all critical thinkers we then thought back to when we ate fries at Five Guys (cooked in peanut oil) or treated ourselves with peanuts when they were around other places. Shockingly, there was no visit from the stink police.
So we did this thing and didn’t talk about it. We stopped pining for peanut butter. We stopped replacing it with foods we didn’t like as much. We stopped eating substitutes that made our tummies grumble. And we went back to putting plain organic, clean-ingredient peanut butter on our apples and gluten-free toast.
If you haven’t had peanut butter in a while, let me remind you. The stuff is effing delicious! Today, we confess. Except, not really. Because to me Paleo has always been about eating the foods that make you feel good. It’s simply a matter of figuring out what those foods are. And, certainly, a happy tummy is better than a farty butt.
Yup, I said that. Because I’m the mom of 3 boys.
Also, because the blog isn’t only paleo anymore, I can share this fantastic recipe with you! I like to focus on the nutrient-density and nourishing aspects of food, so let’s discuss the ingredients used in this filling little snack ball bites.
Peanuts (butter and crushed)
As noted above, we highly recommend trying CB Nuts brand peanuts for this recipe. They are fresh roasted in the Pacific Northwest. They’re so good even Theo Chocolate fills their peanut butter cups with CB’s peanut butter. Seriously. You can eat THAT exact blend – soo good!
People don’t usually think of peanuts as a health food, probably due to the concern over allergies over shadow most discussions of their nutritional value, but they should! They have shown a lot of protective effects for cardiovascular health and are high in antioxidants and many micronutrients, including copper, manganese, and Vitamins B3, B1 and E!
Coconut Milk Powder
Coconut Milk Powder is a great discovery for us, and we use it in a lot of recipes to get a creamy texture without adding additional moisture. It can also, of course, be used to reconstitute coconut milk. It has that great coconut oil people desire so much, but without the grease!
What more can we say about the miracle food that is collagen that we haven’t said before? Collagen is made from the connective tissues of animals, meaning that it is perfect for any issue you may have with joints, skin, cartilage, bones, or teeth! We’ve incorporated it into every part of our diet and absolutely love it!
Honey is probably the first sweetener humans ever used. And, due to its balanced fructose and glucose ration, it’s probably one of the healthiest as well! Raw honey that hasn’t been cooked too hot will have a great micronutrient content as well, including folate, calcium, sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, silicon, iron, manganese, copper, and Vitamins A, B1, B6, B12, C, D, and E. But my favorite thing about raw, local honey is that it contains local pollen and may have some benefit for those with seasonal allergies!
While the original recipes I found for Peanut Butter Honey Balls didn’t include molasses, they did include oats. And I personally find that molasses gives that earthy taste without adding grains. Additionally, molasses is incredibly nutrient-rich. Here’s an excerpt from The Paleo Mom’s scientific breakdown of it:
Speaking of nutrition facts, let’s take a look at just what blackstrap molasses has to offer. One tablespoon (20 grams) contains only 47 calories, but packs in:
Iron (3.6 mg, or 20% of the RDA)
Calcium (176 mg, or 17.6% of the RDA)
Copper (0.42 mg, or 21% of the RDA)
Manganese (0.54 mg, or 27% of the RDA)
Magnesium (44 mg, or 11% of the RDA)
Potassium (510 mg, or 9.7% of the RDA)
B vitamins, including B6 (0.15 mg, or 7.5% of the RDA) and smaller amounts of B2 and B3
Selenium (3.6 mg, or 5.2% of the RDA)
Small amounts of sodium, zinc, and phosphorus
How’s that for an impressive nutrient lineup? Blackstrap molasses has over five times as much iron as steak and 1.5 times as much calcium as cheese (per calorie). There aren’t many foods that can boast those kinds of micronutrient levels! In fact, this qualifies blackstrap molasses as a nutrient-dense food.
The recreation recipe
According to our internet research what would have made Peanut Butter Honey Balls great is the inside-of-a Reese’s peanut butter cup consistency and taste. My grandmother used to make something similar with confectioner’s sugar and cream cheese for a dessert, so this seems the more-snack-less-dessert version.
While the milk powder in the original recipe would have added an unctuous feel to the mouth as well as added protein, it’s not an ingredient our family does well on. Instead, we found yet another purpose for our beloved coconut milk powder (originally used here) while then adding gut-healing collagen as a supplemental protein source to the peanut butter.
Do not get me wrong. These are not a substitute for a main protein meal. However, compared to just a piece of fruit or some other carb-fest snack kids may be used to, these are sweet, delicious, and high(er) in protein that most junk-food-like snack alternatives.
- 1 1/4 C Peanut Butter (we recommend CB's One-Ingredient)
- 1/2 C Coconut Milk Powder
- 1/4 C Honey (we recommend local raw)
- 2 Tbsp Blackstrap Molasses
- 3 Tbsp Collagen Powder (we recommend Vital Proteins)
- 1/2 C peanuts, ground, crushed or chopped into a fine powder
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine peanut butter, coconut milk powder, honey, mollasses and collagen powder. This is probably best by spatula or hand, as the peanut butter is too thick to be effectively mixed in a food processor.
- Place peanut powder in a small bowl. Roll peanut butter mixture into 1 inch balls, then roll in the peanuts. Repeat until mixture is used up.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to four weeks
If peanuts don't work for you, feel free to substitute this recipe with any other nut-butter. I personally think sunbutter is the closest in taste and texture, while Cole would argue almond butter is. We'd all agree that cashew, hazelnut, or macadamia nut butter is delicious - though very expensive. Just use what you have or what works for you, it's not a finicky recipe.
Once you have the base you can get creative with the flavors. Raisins or chopped nuts inside would be great. Or even adding warm spices like cinnamon. Imagine how amazing mini chocolate chips could be! The possibilities are endless ♥