Bliss balls, energy balls, protein balls; I’ve seen them called all types of things, but had never tried them. They always look like a handy, healthier-type treat to pop into a lunch box, so I bought a couple of peanut butter ones to try out on the kids recently. The report was unfavourable; dry with a stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth sensation – not good.
Deciding to make them was a spur of the moment thing and I couldn’t be bothered to venture out to the shops, so I just used what I had in the pantry. It seemed simple enough – what could go wrong? Actually, nothing. They took about 10 minutes to make, did not involve the oven, and tasted delicious! The misses S and E thought they were yum, and they have been a great success in the lunch boxes.
Rolling them into balls in my hands reminded me of when we were little kids, making Christmas gifts for my grandparents. Every year Mum would keep empty chocolate boxes, when guests brought polite gifts to dinner. In the run up to Christmas we’d get all festive, sitting round the kitchen table with Mum, four little pairs of legs swinging about excitedly under the table, and make marzipan fruits. Mum would give us a block of yellow marzipan and some food colouring and whole cloves, and show us how to shape tiny fruits and colour them and stick cloves in suitable places to look like stalks. Then we’d earnestly place the rather sweaty, well-handled, wonky-looking fruits into each chocolate box indentation, pop the lid on, and voila!
The slightly shiny finished appearance of these choc peanut balls was a little off-putting too, so I dusted them with a little extra cocoa powder, and they became elegantly truffle-like. I like to think so anyway.
Here’s my version of the recipe.
- 1 cup dates
- 1 cup natural cashews (I used 1/2 cup salted cashews and 1/2 cup macadamias)
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean essence (I used ordinary vanilla essence)
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter (I used up the super healthy one that nobody likes)
- 2 tablespoons cacao powder (I used regular cocoa powder)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt flakes
- Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until it just begins to come together.
- Use a dessert spoon to measure the right amount straight into your hand.
- Shape into a ball - you need to squeeze the mixture together and roll it a bit.
- Dust the balls with a little cocoa powder and store in an airtight container lined with baking paper, in the fridge.
- I wrapped them individually in cling wrap for school lunch boxes, and they can be frozen.