Bliss balls made with good quality raw cacao powder are the perfect whole food, plant-based alternative to chocolate - they're packed with the goodness of dried fruit, nuts and seeds but are still chocolate-y enough to kill a craving. They're perfect for that 3pm energy slump or after dinner as a sweet treat.
You can find Medjool dates in the fresh produce section at the supermarket or health food store, and they generally go for around $30/kg. I know this is quite expensive, but keep in mind you get 12 bliss balls from $6 worth (200g of dates). I really wouldn't recommend using dried dates as they just don't have the moisture content to make soft, fudge-y bliss balls.
My basic formula for bliss balls is a 1:1 ratio (by weight) of nuts/seeds to Medjool dates, which seems to be just sticky enough to roll into balls and not too sweet. You can also play around with other textures, e.g. substituting Buckinis or oats for some of the nuts, or adding different flavours such as orange zest. You don't have to use all Medjool dates either - you could play around with doing a mixture of dried fruit (e.g. figs, apricots), but soak the fruit in very hot water first to help them soften.
Easy Choc-Nut Bliss Balls
Makes 12 golf ball-sized balls (approx. 35g-40g each)
You will need:
- A food processor. You can make bliss balls without one, but you'll need to very finely chop your nuts and dates, then squish the mixture together using your hands.
- 1.5 cups (approximately 225g/8oz) mixed nuts and/or seeds. I used almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, pepitas (pumpkin seeds). You can use nut meal (e.g. almond or hazelnut meal), but go by the weight, not the cup measures
- 1 cup (200g/7oz) Medjool dates
- 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
- Optional: a pinch of salt (this will help them keep longer in the fridge)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- For rolling: a little extra raw cacao powder, sesame seeds, desiccated coconut, ground pistachio nuts or pepitas (both give a beautiful green colour)
- Place the Medjool dates in a bowl of very hot water to soften.
- In the meantime, place the nuts/seeds, raw cacao powder and salt in the food processor and blitz until very finely crumbled (it should resemble almond meal).
- Drain the water from the dates and remove the pits using your fingers.
- With the food processor running, add the dates down the food chute one at a time, then add the vanilla extract. Process until it forms a sticky dough. If it still looks dry, you can add a tablespoon of water.
- Scoop the mixture out of the food processor and into a container and place in the fridge (or freezer if you're short on time) to chill. Leave for at least 30 minutes - it will make it much easier to roll the mixture into balls.
- When chilled, remove the mixture from the fridge and roll into small bite sized balls. Roll in whatever you like and store in a container in the fridge.