Here’s a recipe which is both scrumptious and brimming with magnesium, calcium and other nutrients.

Magnesium can help with irritability, sleep issues and helps to build strong bones.

These raw brownie balls are super easy and make a perfect chocolatey (but healthy) treat for the family.

They also happen to be vegan, gluten-free and great for any paleo peeps.

 

This recipe is super simple, but you will need a food processor.

 

Credit: I’ve adapted this from a recipe by Megan Gilmore at Detoxinista. I’ve just mixed it up a little, including going chocolate orangey because I love that flavour combo.

Goodness, gracious, great balls of magnesium…

So are you or your child feeling moody or irritable? Any sleeping difficulties?

Magnesium can help to calm anxiety and helps us make ‘happy hormones’, including serotonin.

It also helps us to absorb and use calcium. We need it for growing strong bones and preventing osteoporosis (it’s not just about getting enough calcium and Vitamin D).

This super duper mineral can also help with insomnia, migraines, heart health, and digestion.

But up to 2 out of 3 Americans may be deficient in magnesium (1).

Our soil and food get stripped of magnesium through intensive farming and processing. Plus other foods and drink that we enjoy, like coffee and alcohol, can strip our bodies of magnesium.

 

Chocolate orange brownie balls – far more exciting than supplements!

(Paleo, vegan, GFCF, gluten free, dairy free, egg free)

These tasty treats are packed with high magnesium ingredients – cacao powder, dates and nuts.

As an extra bonus, the flavonoids in orange peel are thought to be anti-inflammatory, good for the heart and may even have anti-cancer properties. These are guilt-free treats people!

I give these mini Brownies to my kids before we head out the door to school as an extra energy boost (but not right before bed time as they’re still sugary and cacao contains caffeine!).

I’ve realised I do need to allow extra time to wipe away sticky chocolatey smears in the morning though…

If you’re a chocolate lover like me, this will give you a hit while being healthy (unless you eat the whole jar – which to be honest, is tempting).

 

Ingredients

Makes 12-16 balls:

 

  • 1 1/2 cups of mixed pecans, walnuts and hazelnuts (you can use any nuts you like but that mixture is particularly yummy and high in magnesium)*
  • 1 cup of soft dates (I’m in the UK and like Sainbury’s So Organic Dates for this, but you can also use medjool dates – if you have harder dates, you can add some water to soften the mixture)
  • 1/4 cup of cacao powder
  • zest of 2 oranges (ideally unwaxed and organic if you can find them)

*Brownie points (aarghh, excuse the pun): To get even more magnesium and other nutrients out of your nuts, you can soak them overnight with a little salt and lemon juice, then dehydrate them in your oven on it’s lowest setting for 8-12 hours (if that sounds too onerous, don’t sweat it and just pop the nuts in as they are). Nuts can be difficult to digest in their natural state – they want to get out whole and undamaged so they can grow into a plant. Soaking breaks down the enzyme inhibitors and unlocks more of those goody nutrients.

 

What to do

(Your child can help too – lots of opportunity to measure, grate and gets hands dirty).

I’ve put the quantities here again so you don’t have to keep referring back to the ingredients!

1. Pour just the nuts (1 1/2 cups) into your food processor with the ‘S’ blade attachment and blitz until you have small nutty crumbs (if you’re feeding these to under fives, you might want to be extra careful to make sure you don’t have any larger lumps of nuts which could be a choking hazard).

I do give my food processor regular breaks to rest the motor, particularly if it starts getting warm!

2. Add the dates (1 cup), the orange rind (2 oranges) and cacao powder (1/4 cup) then blitz with the nuts until fully mixed and gooey.

3. Transfer the mixture into a bowl and squidge into balls… or squares, or even have a go at hearts as Valentine’s Day is coming up.

You can store them in recycled jars. I store mine in the fridge – I’m not an expert in how long they’ll last, because they always get gobbled up so quickly.

You can freeze the balls and eat them like a frozen dessert.

 

Then get creative…

Feel free to see what foods your child would like to try in the mix.

Dates are popular for energy balls because they’re so sweet, but you could add raisins, figs, cranberries or dried apricot too.

Cashews, almonds and Brazils are good sources of magnesium, as are many seeds (pumpkin seeds are a particularly good source). As with nuts, if you can soak and dehydrate seeds you’ll get even more nutritional benefit.

You could have a gingerbread version, a mint chocolate version with peppermint  oil, or a ‘Bounty’ chocolate-coconut thing.

 

Wishing you lots of love, laughter and tasty treats,

Emma x

 

References

(1) Dietary Magnesium and C-reactive Protein Levels,” Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol. 24, No. 3, 166-171 (2005).

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