Sugar-less, Flour-less Baking: Carnival Balls

Trays of colorful cookies are ubiquitous in the month of December, as many people lovingly bake holiday treats. Typically these sweet confections are filled with sugar, fats and many calories. However, a little searching can turn up recipes that forgo these unhealthy additions. Apple sauce, bananas and dates help eliminate the need for sugar and butter.

One of my favorite food bloggers, Heidi Swanson, released a delightful cookbook, Super Natural Every Day, this summer. She has a recipe for festive, ornament looking, Carnival Balls. These gluten free and sugar free treats combine the beloved flavors of chocolate and peanuts with the unexpected addition of popcorn. I made these last night and they were a hit. She also features a popcorn-free version on her website.

Carnival Balls

  • 3 ripe Bananas, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, slightly warmed
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • 1 ½ cup oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • ⅔ cup peanuts
  • 1 ½ cups popped popcorn
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. 
  2. Combine bananas, vanilla and coconut oil in a bowl. 
  3. In another bowl, combine almond meal, oatmeal, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. 
  5. Next add in chocolate and gently stir together, followed by the peanuts and finally the popcorn.
  6. Form the dough into one inch balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  7. Bake for 14-17 minutes, rotating the position in the oven halfway through baking. Move them to wire racks until cool.
  8. Makes 24 balls.