These easy little treats are sugar-free, grain-free, gluten-free, egg-free, and dairy-free! Just throw a couple whole-food ingredients in a food processor with a few spices, run it a bit, and roll it into little balls — done!
What’s the secret ingredient that sweetens them?
Dried plums; otherwise know as prunes! But these aren’t your grandma’s prunes…
To be honest, I started eating prunes because I needed to. But I never liked them much. Most prunes I’ve had in the past were a little dry, pretty chewy, and had a bit of weird tang. But then I discovered D’noir prunes. They’re very tender — and I love that they have no sulfites or other preservatives. No sugar or oil of any kind added, either. (This is not a sponsored post; I just really like these!) (Update: I’ve discovered the prunes in Whole Food’s bulk section work, too. Just as good! Check out your favorite health food store’s bulk section.)
One day, I was trying to identify what their sweetness reminded me of: it’s a little like the sweet component of molasses. That made me think of old-fashioned gingerbread, and I wondered if I could make a sugar-free gingerbread-like treat from these sweet li’l plums.
I can and I did! Not only are they tasty, they’re also neater to eat than straight prunes — no more sticky fingers!
This recipe is sized to fit my 7-cup food processor, which is a bit smaller than most. Most food processors are around 12-cup, so if you have one that size, you may want to double the recipe to ensure the mass of the dough will work well with the blades of your processor.
Sugar-free gingerbread bites
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
(optional – 1/8 teasp. cinnamon)
10 D’noir prunes
3/4 cup walnut pieces (or pecan or cashew pieces)
1 teasp. ground ginger
1/4 teasp. cinnamon
1/8 teasp. allspice and/or nutmeg
pinch of salt
(optional: sweetener to taste)
If your coconut isn’t already finely shredded, run it through the processor until it is. (Optional: add 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon to it.) Then put the coconut in a shallow bowl and set aside.
No need to rinse the food processor. Put the remaining ingredients in and process until it begins to stick together, making an uneven load.
Taste the mixture: if it’s not sweet enough for you, add small amounts of sweetener and remix until it’s to your liking. (And/or add more spices, if you’d like a more intense flavor.)
(Note: Overprocessing them will make more oils release from the walnuts, and the mixture will become oily. It won’t ruin them or affect the taste; just know that they won’t look quite as cake-like, and will be a little messier while you’re doing the next step.)
Remove the blade, then roll the dough into 10 balls, slightly smaller than golf balls. Make all the balls before the next step, so you can easily pinch and add to make 10 even-sized balls.
Roll each ball in coconut, pressing lightly to get it to stick. Place them on a plate or sheet of parchment.
To store, layer carefully in an airtight container and stash in the fridge.
They can be eaten immediately, but I think they taste better after a day or two in the fridge. They keep well; I imagine they’d be fine up to the “use by” date on the package of prunes.
Makes 10. (More or less, depending on size you make them.)
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I can’t wait to try this recipe!! It goes with the fall season. I am going to make these for gifts this Christmas.