Cacao Balls

Can we just talk about how it's bloody hard to describe to you my love for these delish raw vegan bites without saying the word balls - yes I have the immaturity of a teenage boy, so what of it!  But seriously though if I am ever out in a cafe, or noseying through the free from section of Holland & Barrett and I spot some cacao or coconut flaked protein balls, your guaranteed I'm gonna' buy um.  After picking up a Deliciously Ella one recently and realising how little ingredients can be put into them I thought I'd give it a whirl myself....

I didn't particularly follow any tried and tested recipe but instead just gathered everything I like that I had in my cupboards and hoped for the best.  I picked up the big bag of Raw Cacao powder from TKMaxx as I had a voucher to use up from Christmas, I'd definitely  recommend checking out their food aisle as they tend to have some really different food items there which you don't typically see in the big supermarkets and often a lot of it is vegan and gluten free.

So I ended up with;

  • 1/3 cup of pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup of blanched almonds
  • 2 tbl spoons of raw cacao
  • 1 absolutely heaped tablespoon of Peanut Butter
I soaked the dates in boiling hot water for 30mins or so until they had a gooey consistency.  Ideally you'd want to soak these over night or for a few hours in cold water, however boiling water tends to speed the process up a little.

Once these have soaked, drained out most of the water leaving approx 1 tbl spoon of the date juice (niiiiiiiice) and add to a blender with the rest of the ingredients and blend!  I would recommend tasting the mixture and adjusting to your taste at this point.  You may wish to add in more cacao or almonds depending on how chocolatey you'd like them to be.  

Additional ingredients: You could try adding some maple syrup to the mixture to add a little sweetness, vegan milk chocolate or cocoa powder if you find cacoa too bitter for you, chocolate chips or a vegan protein powder if you want to increase the protein content.  You could even try adding some flavours like caramel, orange or mint flavourings.

Once all the ingredients were well mixed and combined I then took the mixture and split this into 6 sections and began to roll this between my hands to shape them.  I placed some tin foil in a baking tray although ideally you would have some baking parchment to stop these sticking, and for 3 of the 6 I rolled in some coconut before placing into the fridge for a couple hours to allow them to firm up slightly.

As you can see I then served these up later with a big dollop of Swedish Glaze vanilla ice cream which was delicious.  They are really great on their own or with a big old cup of tea.  I love how versatile they are, and how easy they are to make and a heck of a lot cheaper than buying the pre made ones.  I can't wait to start experimenting with more flavours.

Have you made your own balls before? There I said it!