cranberry and cadbury mini egg energy bites

If you’re like me, you still have some Easter candy floating around aimlessly in your kitchen, your living room, maybe also in your pockets and in your car. This Easter candy is begging to be finished, but there is just so much of it that it is difficult to finish. Especially when there are other delicious things like Gushers getting in the way during afternoon snack time.

So last weekend, on a whim when prepping foodstuffs for an epic end-of-winter hike, I decided to turn some already delicious raw energy balls into not-raw, much deliciouser energy balls, or bites, as I’ll classily refer to them here. I make many versions of these, often with cocoa powder, often with various dried fruits, and always with a base of dates and nuts.

cranberry and cadbury mini egg energy bites

The addition of Cadbury Mini Eggs is a genius move, because it gives the energy bites a crunchy crackly texture that is terribly fun to eat – I imagine that to be the energy flowing straight into me, and down towards my legs to give them strength for the last few miles of the day.  What’s more, Cadbury recently unveiled ‘Royal Dark’ Mini Eggs, which are leaps and bounds more delicious than the original milk chocolate variety. That is what I used here, and I highly recommend it.

If you happen to have various other Easter candies looking for a home, I think many things would work well in these. Jordan almonds would work. Malted milk balls would work. Fun-sized Easter candy bars would work. Perhaps even jelly beans would work! …although that’s a bit too wacky for me.

gulf hagas

I referred to our hike as epic. It was only 9.7 miles, but the going was rrrrrrrough. First off, let me say that I don’t yet own waterproof boots. As a forester, that is probably something that I shouldn’t admit – ask me next week, and I’ll probably be able to saw “Pshaw I have waterproof boots!” and then I’ll quietly mumble something about “purchasingthemlastweekend.”

Luckily, someone had been on a good portion of the trail at some point over the winter, so the snow that is often still above-my-knees deep was reduced to the perfect depth for trodding upon. The trail we hiked was at Gulf Hagas, known as the Grand Canyon of Maine. Take that as you will – – it was definitely no Grand canyon, but it was a Lovely canyon and a Stunning canyon nonetheless. Given the canyon nature of the hike, there was a quite a bit of micro-rocky terrain, which turned out to be covered in sheer ice during our visit. It’s safe to say I did my share of slipping and sliding.

The loop hike that we did took us on a section of the Appalachian Trail as well, which we realized we hadn’t set foot on since 2011, at Grayson Highlands in Virginia. The AT hadn’t seen any footprints all winter other than moose and deer, so while being just a short section, it was sort of tiring. Remember that part about the not-waterproof boots? Remember that other part about the snow above-my-knees deep? Connect those two dots right thurr.

But jeebus, what a beautiful hike. I can’t wait for the snow to fully recede, and for weekend after weekend of glorious hiking adventures this summer. Bring it on, I say (nay, I plead)!

KI roadgulf hagasgulf hagascar camping

Perfect for bringing along on hikes, this recipe will give you a boost with healthy walnuts, hazelnuts, and dates, as well as a peppy sugar rush from the chocolate. Use up that Easter candy!

Cranberry and Cadbury Mini Egg Energy Bites

{recipe by myself – very approximate, but very adaptable}

Makes 12-15

++Ingredients:++

3 handfuls walnuts (or your nut of choice)
1 handful hazelnuts
2 handfuls dates
pinch of salt
1 handful dried cranberries
2 handfuls Cadbury Royal Dark Mini Eggs
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp maple syrup

++Directions:++

In the bowl of a food processor, combine all ingredients, and pulse until mixed. If the mixture is overly wet, add another handful of nuts. If the mixture is dry, add some more maple syrup, or a teaspoon of water. Shape mixture into balls, and place on a tray. Freeze for at least an hour. Enjoy chilled if possible.

cranberry and cadbury mini egg energy bites

sugar sugar, minneapolis

I love my home state of Minnesota. It’s hard not to love – Minnesota has larger-than-life-and-stranger-than-life art sculptures, overly extensive freeway driving, enthusiastic patriots (similar to myself), irresistibly cute bunnies, and award-winning cakes and cookies. After a recent visit, I have plenty to share with you about this Land of 10,000 Lakes.

However, the butter heads and deep-fried Reese’s peanut butter cups will have to wait for another day, because chocolate calls. And it calls to us in the lovely, demure form of Sugar Sugar Candy, located in the Kingfield neighborhood of Minneapolis.

I had been planning this visit to Sugar Sugar for some time. Originally hoping to discover its glory under a frigid blanket of soft white snow (I know you’re picturing how beautiful Minnesota must be), my dreams were dashed at the same time as my darling 1990 Honda Accord LX. Car-less, and dreamless, I wiled away a Sugar Sugar-less wintry fortnight, before returning to my (current) home, some 1,600 miles away.

Fear not, for I returned to The North Star State, and have now been Sugar Sug-ified. And it is indeed a wondrous thing.

Store owner Joni Wheeler welcomed us to her small but well-stocked square of chocolate and candy bliss, and I soon found myself discoursing happily on Olive & Sinclair, Rogue, and B.T. McElrath chocolate bars. Even more exciting to my two, rather large ears-of-chocolate were mentions of Sweeteeth, Fresco and Komforte, chocolate companies I am much less familiar with taste-wise, and hence much more excited to try.

Joni’s selection of chocolate is constantly evolving, as she stocks fan favorites, tries out new selections (Ramen Noodle Bar review, coming soon), and ultimately, accepts what is delivered to her – she was out of O & S Cinn-Chili when I visited, due to the distributor bringing one-third of the amount she ordered. Once again, I am Cinn-Chili free, which is by no means a good thing. However, I have plenty of other terrific bars, purchased at Sugar Sugar, to showcase over the next days to weeks to months to however long it takes me to review them in thorough detail.

I would be remiss to stop at the chocolate. For what does every other candy store-goer in the country hope for and desire upon a visit to said candy store? Yes, it would be candy. And Sugar Sugar has candy in spades. From hard to find candy from the days of yore, that stubborn folk still seek out faithfully, to popular French treats such as guimauve, to candy bars iconic of St. Paul (Pearson’s Salted Nut Rolls, I’m looking at you), Joni’s shop has it all.

Not the hugest candy fan, one item caught my eye that I had to have. Evaluating my already-large pile of chocolate bars to be purchased, I followed my instincts and ordered twenty of my favorite candy. British-styled sour Flying Saucers, or Satellite Wafers if you will. I should have bought the whole jar, that’s how much I love these things. I first (and second, and third) sampled these as a young ruffian, thanks to childhood friend Ellie and her doting transcontinental family. Having not had these since the days of ruffianhood, I literally did a wee jump before pouncing on these sour trollops.

After my visit to Sugar Sugar, I have enjoyed Fauchon caramels flavored with sea salt and Pineau des Charentes, a French fortified wine containing Cognac. I have delved into the sweet world of the Calisson, which is a world consisting of a sort of candied fruit marzipan, and royal icing. And I have devoured all my sour wafery Flying Saucers.

I should have purchased more of everything.

A huge thanks to Joni for her hospitality, quality chocolate knowledge, sweet treats, and willingness to let me photograph her tantalizing shop. The next time I’m back in Minnesota, nothing will stop me from visiting Sugar Sugar again, not even another car accident (knock on wood that I haven’t just jinxed myself).

Sugar Sugar Candy

3803 Grand Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55409

612.823.0261

Hours
Tuesday-Saturday: 11h00-19h00
Sunday: 12h00-17h00
Closed Mondays

Stay tuned as I slowly make my way through the fancypants chocolate bars, aka the stuff that dreams are made of, purchased recently from Sugar Sugar.