Quite rightly, the government recommends cutting down on sugar. So when craving a sweet, chocolatey, treat what are we to do? Eat a bar of 100% dark chocolate, of course. Which leads to two problems: first tracking such a thing down and second, enjoying it, since mostbars taste awful. A few months ago, I rather unexpectedly ended up cooking dinner for a couple of friends; I decided on the mains easily, then suddenly realised most people like a pudding and, being gluten, dairy and sugar free, this presented me with a problem. I stumbled across this recipe:
- 110g mixed nuts
- 6 tablespoons organic cocoa powder
- 200-250g pitted dates
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 100g 100% dark chocolate, plus a couple more squares.
- Place the nuts and cocoa powder into a food processor and whizz them up until the nuts are in tiddly bits. Add the dates and vanilla and continue to whizz up until the mixture gets sticky.
- Shape the mix into balls or small sausages, depending upon how sticky the mixture is. Put each onto greaseproof paper lined tray and then put this into the freezer for 5 – 10 minutes.
- Whilst your balls are freezing, melt the chocolate in a bowl placed in hot water.
- Remove your balls from the freezer and roll each one in the melted chocolate, allowing the excess to drip off. Then put them back on the greaseproof paper and leave to set.
- I think they should last for ages…..but I’ve never tested this out because they don’t seem to exist for very long.
If you use pitted dates, these are not as moist as unpitted ones and you will need the full 250g; the drier mixture is harder to shape, so the balls will be sausage shaped; when I made them at Christmas instead of a Christmas pudding (two of the party of four do not like Christmas pud) I called them Christmas Turds, since it was impossible to get them into ball shapes. However, I made them again this Easter using unpitted Medjool dates and the mixture was very sticky indeed, so we all enjoyed our Guilt Free Chocolate Balls.
I have not sourced a 100% chocolate bar locally, so have used 90% instead. Irritatingly, a 100g bar of chocolate is not quite enough – you end up scraping your last few balls around the chocolate bowl, messing them up a bit and leaving bits of your ball bare.
Although this recipe has no added sugar, especially if you can find 100% dark chocolate – the balls will taste just fine – it still has to have about a million calories per ball! But they are delicious and the good news is they won’t be around for very long.