I’ve been thinking about adding a new “feature” to some of my recipes going forward, and I hope it goes over well! A few weeks ago when I was strolling through my local market, I realized that even though I consider myself to be well versed on a lot of foods and ingredients, there are still so so many that I have yet to experience or cook with. It seemed natural to parlay that into some of my recipes. I want to try something new every week, and include it in a recipe. It can be an ingredient that is completely new to me, or one that I’ve experienced before, but have never cooked with in my own kitchen. Today’s recipe is the very first foray into new ingredients, with these peanut butter and jelly bites!
You’re probably thinking: um – peanut butter and jelly. You certainly have experienced that combination before. Yes, yes I have. However, the flavor of jelly in these bites actually comes from something other than jelly: it comes from dried currants!
So: what are currants? Currants are dried berries of the seedless grape known as “Black Corinth.” They are smaller than your average raisin, but look very similar in appearance. Their skin is thin and the inside of the currant is juicy. They are great for baking. And, I may or may not have snacked on some of them (like I do with raisins) as I was making these peanut butter and jelly bites. I procured my currants at Whole Foods in the bulk food section. However, if you are unable to find currants at your local store, you can easily substitute dates or raisins in this recipe. The flavor will be slightly different, but you get the picture!
On to the peanut butter and jelly bites. I have been dying to try out a version of “energy balls/bites” that I’ve seen. When I attended a healthy cooking class at Whole Foods recently, they demonstrated how easy it was to make these sweet treats. Seriously – it takes only a few minutes to put these together. I was inspired to make a batch at home, and I wasn’t surprised to see that Justin really enjoyed them. They mysteriously disappeared from the refrigerator a little more quickly than I anticipated. I guess that means we have a winner on our hands. I love that these peanut butter and jelly bites satisfy my craving for something sweet, but instead of reaching for something sugary and processed I can enjoy one of these little bites of bliss. I have been treating myself to one post-workout as well as for a sweet dessert treat. You can keep these treats in the refrigerator for a few days, or you can even freeze them. Score.
I am now obsessed with ideas of how I will change up the ingredients on these bites for future goodness. Oh boy. The wheels are spinning.
So I’m curious: have you ever made a recipe similar to these peanut butter and jelly bites? Do you use any different ingredient combinations? And of course…what ingredient should I try next? I’d love some ideas as I go forward – inspire me! What would YOU like to try?
- 1¼ cup rolled oats
- 1¼ cup dried currants
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Add oats, currants, peanut butter, vanilla, and cinnamon into a food processor. Pulse until smooth. You may need to add about 2 tablespoons (one tablespoon at a time) of warm water to the mixture in order for it to turn to the proper texture for rolling.
- Use a small cookie scoop (or teaspoon) to scoop balls of the mixture out. Place on a plate or tray lined with wax paper. Continue scooping until all of the mixture is in ball shapes.
- Chill bites for at least 30 minutes. Then, roll the bites tightly into a ball and place into an airtight container until ready to serve. Keep chilled, or freeze for up to one week - enjoy!