When I lived in Granada, Spain during my semester abroad in college, I spent a lot of time at places called teterias or “tea houses” as they’re known in English.
We sat on ornate cushions at low tables as we sipped aromatic herbal teas and took in the bold scents and colors as well as the relaxed vibe of the room.
Visits to teterias introduced me to the vibrant and complex flavors of masala chai tea, which is what inspired today’s recipe.
The word chai actually means tea, so whenever you hear someone refer to “chai tea,” they are likely talking about the mix of spices in it known as masala chai.
Depending on who you ask, masala recipes vary, but they almost always include cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, and black pepper. Some blends also use nutmeg and/or star anise, which has a licorice-like taste.
Not only does this spice blend make for a rich and flavorful tea, but it also works well in dessert recipes like this one.
Almonds and almond butter serve as the base of this recipe.
I love using almonds in any form because they are loaded with some serious health benefits:
- Rich in the heart protective, beautifying antioxidant Vitamin E
- One of Dr. Fuhrman’s GBOMBS – the top anti-inflammatory, disease-fighting foods we can eat
- Full of anti-inflammatory, beauty-boosting monounsaturated fats that keep us feeling full and satisfied and keep our brain, skin and heart healthy
- Reduce after-meal spikes in blood sugar because of their healthy fat and protein-rich profile. Stabilizing blood sugar is the key to having all-day energy and maintaining a healthy weight.
Yield: ~18 bites
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons shredded coconut, unsweetened
- 8 Medjool dates, pits removed
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
- 1/4 cup almond butter
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper (yes, you read that right!)
- 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pulse almonds and 1/2 cup shredded coconut in a food processor until completely ground (no chunks of almonds!).
- Add the remaining ingredients, except for the 2 tablespoons of shredded coconut, and blend in the food processor until all ingredients are combined into a dough-like consistency.
- Lightly toast the remaining 2 tablespoons of shredded coconut until lightly browned.
- Roll dough into balls with the palms of your hands, and then roll them in the toasted shredded coconut.
- Store in the refrigerator in a glass container. They will firm up in the fridge because the coconut oil will cause them to “set” at that cooler temperature. If you want them to be a little softer, feel free to set them out on the counter for 10-15 minutes before eating. As you chew them slowly, they will feel like they are melting in your mouth because of the coconut oil melting 🙂
Enjoy for breakfast, a snack or dessert!