Recently I ran a survey asking my lovely readers about their eating habits because I wanted to start creating new recipes that suited how you like to eat. When it came to snacks, I wasn’t overly surprised to see chocolate rated as one of the most preferred types of snacks, and that chocolate is regularly eaten as a snack. But I did also notice that nuts and fruits were popular choices too.
So I decided to create a recipe that combined these three popular choices: chocolate, nuts and fruit.
These Chocolate Hazelnut Bliss Balls are based on the simple flavour combination of chocolate and hazelnuts. I chose this combination because I know that Nutella is a firm favourite of many people. But, to put it quite simply, if you’re trying to make healthier choices it’s better to keep Nutella out of the house altogether. That’s because Nutella is essentially a jar filled with sugar, oil and other ‘fillers’, with only the tiniest amount of hazelnuts, milk and cocoa.
That’s why I wanted to create a snack that gives you the flavours of Nutella without overdosing you on refined sugars. Of course that has to be a better option! And when that snack also gives you a proper dose of healthy hazelnuts and adds in the nutrition (and natural sweetness) of dried fruit, you’re onto a winner. So if you like Nutella, or other versions of hazelnut chocolate, I’m sure you’ll love these chocolate hazelnut balls too.
Why is this a healthier option?
- They contain fruit, nuts and cocoa … there’s nothing unhealthy in there.
- These balls will contribute to your daily fruit intake and provide you with some good healthy fats from the hazelnuts.
- Between the dates and the hazelnuts, they provide a nice little fibre boost to your day.
- The cocoa, natural sweetness of the dates, and natural hazelnut oils can squash a chocolate craving – which really is just for sugar, cocoa and fat anyway.
- 1 cup hazelnuts
- 1 and ½ cups dried dates (I like to halve them first)
- 2 tbsp cocoa
- 3 tsp water (approximately)
- For rolling: 1 and ½ tbsp extra cocoa
- Preheat oven to 180C. Put the hazelnuts on an oven tray and roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray for another 10 minutes. Don’t bother removing the skin from the hazelnuts – it will get finely chopped by the food processor anyway.
- Set your food processor up with the chopping blade. Put the roasted hazelnuts in the bowl and process for about 40 seconds or until it becomes a fine meal. Add the dates and process for another 30 seconds, then add the cocoa and blitz until all mixed up. Make sure the cocoa doesn’t get trapped under the blades or it won’t be mixed in properly. Now blend in enough water to make a fairly sticky dough that can roll into balls.
- Roll teaspoons of the mixture into balls and then roll each ball in the extra cocoa.
- These bliss balls will keep in the fridge for at least 1 week (if they last that long).