Saturday, 11 October 2014

Blissful Naughty-Turned-Nice Balls

I was inspired by Nicola's Pineapple Lump Bliss Balls at Eat Well NZ this month to develop healthy versions of Kiwi's favourite chocolate treats. Great flavours, without the guilt! No refined sugars, full of healthy fats and great sources of 'clean' energy. Gluten free, dairy free and paleo. Reach for these in the morning for an energy boost when your are rushing out the door or as a sweet treat at night when you get the munchies. 

These sweet treats are known as bliss balls, date bombs, goji balls and even amazeballs, they've been around since the raw food trend of the 1970s, but are now getting super popular again thanks to the new gluten-free, gym-happy generation. Add a tablespoon of natural protein powder if you're in training mode and remember that the more raw, unprocessed and organic the ingredients, the better.

If you can't quite bring yourself to make these, a great local cafe in Christchurch often sells these in all sorts of delicious flavours! Check out Pure Cafe Co. at 100 Bealey Avenue & 31 Birmingham Drive. They have some of the best healthy food options in town.

The 'Picnic' and the 'Bounty' balls were my favourite, the 'Jaffa' flavour was not far behind.

Please let me know if you give these a try and what your favourite flavour is. Remember, these may have no refined sugar and full of beneficial nutrients that will fuel your body, however they are energy dense and some restraint is encouraged...good luck!

Jaffa - Bliss Balls:

Makes 5

1/4 cup almonds
1/8 cup cashews
1 Medjool dates
1/4 cup raisins (sultanas)
1/2 orange, rinsed & dried
1 Tbsp cacao powder (or carob powder)
1 Tbsp desiccated coconut, for the mixture
1/8 cup desiccated coconut, for rolling

1. Process the nuts until they look like a fine powder (a bit like breadcrumbs – this will take at least 20 seconds).
2. Chop the date in half and remove the pit. Roughly chop.
3. Add the raisins (sultanas) and chopped dates to the food processor.
4. Finely zest the orange into the food processor on top of the chopped nuts and dried fruit.
5. Chop the orange in half, and use the citrus juicer to squeeze the juice. Add the juice to the food processor.
6. Add the cacao powder and coconut to the food processor, and process the mixture until it is like a thick, sticky dough. If the mix is a bit stiff, add a few drops of water.
7. On a dinner plate, spread out the extra 1/4 cup of coconut. Put another dinner plate next to it.
8. Wet your hands, and pull off a small chunk of the mixture (about 1 Tbsp). Then roll the ball in the coconut, and place the finished ball on the final dinner plate. Chill the balls for at least 1 hour.

Pineapple Lump - Bliss Balls:

Recipe by Nicola of Eat Well NZ
Makes 10 approx.

3/4 cup dried pineapple
1/2 cup macadamia nuts
1/2 cup coconut
80g dark chocolate

1. Cut the pineapple into fine pieces, and crush the macadamia nuts into small pieces.
2. Place the pineapple and nuts in a food processor and blend together for a few minutes.
3. Add the coconut and continue to process until the mixture becomes dough like. If it looks a bit wet, add some extra coconut and process again for about 30 seconds.
4. Squeeze/roll the mixture into balls.  The mixture is not super sticky like normal bliss balls, but it still moulds into balls.  Place in the fridge while you melt the chocolate.
5. Break up the dark chocolate into pieces and place in a microwaveable bowl.  Microwave for 45 seconds, stir, and then heat at 20 second intervals siring well in between each interval.  This is important so you don’t overheat the chocolate. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes max.
6. Dip the balls in the chocolate and place on baking paper until set. I sprinkled the tops with a small pinch of ground flaxseed - get creative with your topping!

Picnic Bar - Bliss Balls:

Makes 15 approx.

25g (1/4 cup) rolled oats
20g chopped dark chocolate or cacao nibs
18g (3/4 cups) puffed quinoa (substitute with puffed brown rice/millet/amaranth)
32g (1/2 cup) roasted salted peanuts
1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds
45g (2.5 Tbsp) smooth, natural peanut butter
56g (2.5 Tbsp) honey

1. Put dry pan on low heat on the stove-top. Place puffed quinoa/rice/millet/amaranth in the dry pan. Toast for 4 minutes, or until light golden - your nose will tell you when it's done.
2. Place oats and chocolate in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the puffed quinoa/rice/millet/amaranth, coconut and sesame seeds.
3. Place peanut butter and honey in a small saucepan over a low heat. Warm gently, and stir until well combined, smooth and mixture just comes to the boil. Working quickly, add the honey mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
4. Using slightly wet hands (to prevent sticking) squeeze tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls. Cover and refrigerate until firm.

Bounty Bar - Bliss Balls:

Makes 6 approx.

1/4 cup raw cashew nuts
1/8 cup coconut cream
3/4 cups coconut thread
1 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
1/2 tablespoon of agave or honey
1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence (optional)

40-50g of unsweetened dark chocolate melted
2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
2 tablespoons cacao powder
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup coconut thread (for rolling)

Blend all filling ingredients in a food processor until combined. Roll the mixture into small balls and place onto a baking tray. Freeze for around 15 minutes or until firm.

Over a low heat on the stove-top, mix the coating ingredients (except for the coconut) in a saucepan until combined. Put coconut on a plate. Coat balls in the chocolate mixture then sprinkle/roll with coconut.

Freeze/refrigerate for at least 10-20 mins before eating.


Ferrero Rocher - Bliss Balls:

Makes 8 approx.

1/2 cup skinless roasted hazelnuts
45ml unsweetened hazelnut/almond milk
1 Tbsp cacao/cocoa powder
20ml organic coconut sugar (or sweetener of choice – adjust sweetness to your liking)
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 hazelnut kernels (skin on – leave this aside)

1/8 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 tbsp cacao butter (melted)
1 TBSP coconut nectar/honey/Natvia
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup roughly chopped nuts (I used hazelnuts)

1. Pulse hazelnuts in a food processor until it resembles a flour like consistency then add in the hazelnut milk, cacao, stevia, coconut oil and vanilla extract) and process until mixture is well combined and forms a dough like consistency that can be rolled into a small ball in your palms without sticking. If the mixture is too dry and crumbly, add a little more hazelnut milk until the right consistency forms and if the mixture is too wet, add some almond meal until a formable ball can be rolled.
2. Roll the above mixture into balls (ping pong ball size) and press in two whole raw hazelnuts inside the centre of each ball (This should yield roughly 8 balls) then place on a plate lined with baking paper and into the freezer for 15 minutes.
3. Whilst the balls are in the freezer, make the coating by combining the aforementioned coating ingredients (except chopped nuts) on the stove-top on low heat until all ingredients are incorporated then take off the heat and set aside. Place chopped nuts onto a large plate.
4. Remove the balls from the freezer then roll each ball into the chocolate coating, followed by rolling the chocolate coated ball into the chopped nuts and placing the ball onto a large plate lined with baking paper. Once this method is done, place the balls back into the freezer for another 10 minutes before eating! Enjoy!