Wait! Don’t close your computer thinking that ewww, fruitcake. Please keep reading and you just may be convinced that these balls are worth eating!

I’ve taken a combination of nutritious ingredients and put them all together for an easy-to-transport energy snack, Christmas brunch side, after skating or skiing, or anytime you need a pick-me-up. Look at what is included in each bite: almonds, dates, maple syrup, spices, mandarin orange, dried cranberries (or blueberries or cherries) to name a few. A new take on Christmas fruitcake (which I love, er used to when I was eating wheat). Watch them disappear.

Note: They are vegan, dairy free, and gluten free!

Makes 48 pieces

3/4 cup pittedΒ dates, soaked
1 heaping cup almond meal
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tbsp pure organic maple syrup
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg or allspice
1 tsp freshly grated organic ginger root
1 tsp pure vanillaΒ extract
1 mandarin orange, freshly squeezed, divided
1 1/4 cups crushed raw almonds
1/4 cup local ground flax seed
1/2 cup organic unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup dried blueberries or cherries
1/4 cup dried goji berries, softened
1/2 cup dried local apples, softened in half of freshly squeezed orange

1. Cover dates with water to soften for about 15 minutes. Drain water. Remove pits and cut into quarters.
2. In a food processor, add dates, oil, maple syrup, spices, vanilla, and 1/2 freshly squeezed orange.
3. Cover goji berries with water to soften for about 5 minutes. Drain water well.
4. Crush dried apples with a rolling pin, and in a small bowl pour rest of OJ over top. Stir to mix.
5. In another bowl, mix almonds, flaxseed, coconut flakes, and blueberries. Add drained goji berries and apple/OJ mix. Mix well.
6. Add the above to the other large bowl. Mix with spoon or hands until blended well.
7. Using round measuring tablespoon, scoop out mixture and roll into balls.
8. Store in refrigerator up to a week or freeze until needed.
8. ENJOY!!