Chocolate Bliss Balls

Well, one would think that all that time at home in lockdown would result in lots and lots of time to blog and a blog overflowing with new material…but, all that time at home in lockdown with an essential worker husband and lots of children with lots and lots of energy and not a lot of napping (or night sleep for that matter – thanks twinnies!) resulted in lots of blog ideas and no blog posts. So, I am not going to express any hopes for future posts right now – I am just going to write what I have got in the few minutes I have with no one needing me!

When we first moved to New Zealand I remember discovering and being pleasantly surprised by bliss balls. Unless I was just not noticing something obvious, the idea of turning raw food/cereal bar type things into delicious, bite-size balls of yumminess just wasn’t a thing in the UK when we left to move to New Zealand. It wasn’t long before I set about trying to create my own. Sadly I seem to have lost my first recipe but the second was tucked away into a recipe box and has been brought out frequently since then. This may be one of my only sweet creations from my pre-coeliac days which is still safe for me to eat. And as a bonus it ticks both the delicious and reasonably healthy boxes for children’s snacks – which may be why toddler twin boy can already say “biss ball” and getting good photos without him stealing all the bliss balls (and the variant “bliss biscuits” that his brothers invented – the flat ones visible in the photos!) proved impossible.

As usual the cup measurements below are based on a 250 ml cup as equal to one whole cup. I prefer Avalanche cocoa powder for these – if you use a different brand you may need to add a bit more water or some nut butter to the mixture to get it to the right consistency to roll into balls – different cocoa powders seem to absorb different amounts of water. The quantity of bliss balls this produces varies hugely depending on how big you make them but I usually get 20+ bliss balls from this recipe.

What you need:
2 3/4 cups whole,  pitted dates
1 cup boiling water
1 1/4 cups ground almonds
1 1/4 cups coconut flour
1 cup cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
1-2 teaspoons vanilla essence

What to do:
1. Soak the dates in the hot water for at least an hour but preferably longer – up to overnight.
2. Blitz together the dates and water with a stick processor in a tall, narrow container (stick blenders often come with something for this purpose – I just don’t know what it is called…) or in a food processor until the mixture is about as smooth as you can get it.
3. If you blitzed the dates and water in a processor, add the ground almonds, coconut flour, cocoa powder, salt and vanilla essence to the processor and blitz until fully combined. If you blitzed them with a stick blitzer, tip the mixture into a bowl, add the ground almonds, coconut flour, cocoa powder, salt and vanilla essence and mix together thoroughly by hand with a spoon. If the mixture seems dry add a little extra water or some nut butter and remix – you are aiming for a consistency that is soft enough to roll into balls and firm enough for the balls to hold their shape.
4. Take generous teaspoons of the mixture and roll into balls with your hands (this gets a bit messy!). Place the balls on a plate or baking tray, spaced slightly apart so they aren’t touching each other, and leave to air dry for an hour or two. Keep in an airtight container at room temperature (it is fine if they touch each other in the container!). These will last at least a few days – beyond that I can’t comment on as they have never lasted that long in our house!

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