June 28

Hazelnut Chocolate Protein Balls

These Healthy Chocolate Protein Balls with Hazelnuts are my new favourite snack in between Nutrition Coaching sessions. Having these on hand means I can grab something that’s going to satisfy my sweet tooth but also isn’t just going to be grabbing something super processed and full of sugar or sweeteners. These healthy protein balls are loaded with fibre, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to fill you up and give you a boost of natural energy.

I do buy Kind Bars to have on hand for my mid afternoon snack but these can easily add up over the week for two active adults so I decided to make my own. These come together so quickly while also being dairy free, gluten free and refined sugar free making them a great snack for all diets.

Whip up a batch on the weekend and snack on one or two of them when you need a little pick-me-up to get through the day. Once you make these, you’ll always want to have them on hand.

  • they are easy, no-bake and made in one bowl
  • they taste delicious
  • give a great energy boost
  • look really special as a ‘nibble’ to put out for friends
  • work well as sweet treat in a lunchbox
  • they’re dairy-free, refined sugar-free and suitable for vegetarians and vegans

Ingredients for Hazelnut Chocolate Protein Balls

These no bake chocolate protein balls are made from only seven simple ingredients, so they taste very natural and get a lot of flavour from the chocolate and hazelnuts. They have a mild vanilla flavour as well and have a slightly nutty texture, which I know you’ll love.

The dates and the maple syrup make them sweet, the nuts add protein and the cocoa adds a glorious chocolate flavour which is obviously the reason to eat them at all. To remedy a mid-afternoon energy slump these are perfect. They’re a great boost.


Dates are the base of our protein balls, sticking everything together and giving us that delicious sweet and chewy end result. Using fibre-rich and mineral-rich dates as a base, this chocolatey snack satisfies your sweet tooth and provides extra energy for your busy lifestyle. Dates are a great source of iron and of course make these energy bites naturally sweet.

Fresh Medjool dates are best as they are quite moist and make a lovely sticky paste. Medjool dates are defined by their soft and sweet, caramel-like flavour. Regular dried dates, the ones you buy in the baking aisle are usually a lot harder in texture but when it comes to nutritional value and flavour are nearly identical. The difference is their price tag and availability.


Who doesn’t love chocolate and hazelnuts mixed together? They make the absolutely most delicious combination. Definitely a treat! They also add great texture to this snack, which is often ignored in home cooking but one of the most important things you can think about when making delicious snacks at home.

Hazelnuts are packed with nutrients like manganese, and vitamin B6, and healthy omega 6 and omega 9 fatty-acids and fibre. They also provide protein helping these balls keep you full for longer.

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

Use a good quality cocoa powder so that you get the deepest flavour without adding sugar. Drinking chocolate that may have added sweeteners and milk powder will not give you as good a result.

Pure Maple Syrup

The maple syrup helps to give these chocolate bliss balls a really nice texture, and sweetness too! Make sure to use 100% pure maple syrup to avoid any processed additives or preservatives.

Vanilla Extract

This adds a little balance to the flavours in these bliss balls, and gives them a richer flavour.

Sea Salt

Brings out the flavour of the chocolate and balances the sweetness of the dates and maple syrup.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate gives these chocolate hazelnut balls a creamier, rich chocolate flavour.

Hazelnut Chocolate Protein Balls Recipe


  • 130 g Medjool Dates - about 8 dates
  • 140 g Hazelnuts
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • Pinch of sea salt


  • 85 g Dark Chocolate 70% and higher - to drizzle/dip balls
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Extra hazelnuts to decorate



This is optional, of course, but roasting the hazelnuts enhances their flavour and makes these chocolate hazelnut energy balls even more delicious. If you are looking for a Nutella-like flavour, this is a must!

Pre-heat your oven to 160oC (a low temperature prevents the degradation of healthy fats in nuts) and spread the hazelnuts out on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Roast them for around ten minutes, until fragrant and roasted. Give the pan a quick shake about half way through so that the nuts do not scorch.

At the end of the time, take the nuts out of the oven and place them in a tea towel. Gather up the corners and gently rub the skins off the hazelnuts. This doesn’t have to be a perfect job. Just remove what skins you can.

Soaking Dates

If you are using dried dates, you need to rehydrate them first. Simply soak them in warm water for at least 10 minutes before processing which gives them back that soft and chewy texture which works perfectly for this recipe. (Drain the water off before using them.)


Cool the hazelnuts down and then add to your food processor (or blender) and process for a few seconds to chop the nuts up fairly finely. Once that has happened, add the rest of the ingredients and process again. Let it run for a minute or two until you have a sticky paste.

Your mixture is ready when it sticks well together, and it’s easy to roll into balls, otherwise process a little more.  If it’s really resisting coming together then add a teaspoon of water and that should make it sticky enough to form into balls.


Chill the dough in the fridge for 10 minutes. This makes the dough much easier to roll into balls, less sticky to the fingers.


Scoop out about one tablespoon of dough and roll the mixture into a ball between your hands. Place each formed chocolate protein ball onto a plate covered with parchment paper.

DECORATING Your Chocolate Protein Balls

You can obviously present these Hazelnut chocolate protein balls plain or rolled into:

  • Cacao powder – to look like a truffle.
  • Melted dark chocolate to create a crunchy chocolate shell.
  • Chopped nuts – roll the balls into chopped hazelnuts.
  • You can so both the chocolate and roll them in ground hazelnuts, which makes then taste a little like that well know confection wrapped in gold foil.
  • Roll them in desiccated coconut which is what I quite like to do.


These energy boosting snacks are wonderful to eat right now, however if that’s not possible they will last for 5-7 days in an air-tight container. They may not last that long though, once your family find them.

Hope you like them! Let me know, tag me in your pictures on Instagram@VitalityPilatesDlk I'd love to see them!

Emma x

Meet Emma

Hi, I am Emma McAtasney, a NCEHS Personal Trainer since 2009. I earned my Pilates credentials through BASI Pilates, a highly respected college-level Pilates teacher training programme which aim is to create and maintain professional standards for the teaching of the Pilates Method to the highest calibre.

In addition, I am a prenatal and postnatal exercise specialist, nutritionist and founder of a boutique Pilates studio in Dundalk, Ireland.

I help my clients eat healthier, ditch fad diets and lose weight for good by guiding them to make small manageable changes that long term have a huge impact on their quality of life!

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