Ten-Minute Allergy-Friendly Chocolate Raspberry Bliss Balls

Recipe for delicious chocolate raspberry bliss balls, packed with extra protein and no junk | Sacraparental.com

 

‘Ten minutes’ as in that’s how long these bliss balls will last before you’ve scoffed the whole batch. Oh, and also they take about that long to make.

Very occasionally I write up a recipe on this blog, mostly because I’m feeling so flipping proud of myself for having developed something.

I don’t loooooove cooking or baking. If someone were prepared to do it all for me, I would happily never cook again. But that someone has not yet appeared in my life, sad to say, so cook and bake I do.

How does this kind of post fit in a website on social justice, parenting and spirituality?

Without being too earnest about it, my preferred way of moving through the world is to pay attention to each little part of my life and make deliberation choices about what I do.

So for someone who doesn’t delight in food preparation, these are the other values that come into play when I’m involved in it:

  • being efficient and quick so I can spend time on other things
  • choosing fresh, unprocessed ‘real’ food that will give us what we need to live well and change the world for the better
  • catering for some specific dietary needs in our family
  • being conscious consumers, supporting ethical businesses, considering factors like whether products are fairtrade, free-range, organic, local and so on.
  • cooking in such a way as to include the kids (Sometimes! I’m neither a saint nor a martyr about this)
  • trying to do things cheaply where possible so we can spend money on other things
  • trying to limit animal products, to minimise (though I can’t say eliminate) our family’s exploitation of animals
  • thinking about our friends with allergies and other dietary needs, and cooking accordingly, as an expression of inclusive hospitality
  • aiming for a combo of maximum deliciousness and maximum healthiness

I don’t achieve big ticks in each of those boxes with every forkful, but they’re the things on my mind when I decide to carry on with a recipe or pursue a different way of making something.

 

Recipe for delicious chocolate raspberry bliss balls, packed with extra protein and no junk | Sacraparental.com

 

This is why I’ve posted on food things in the past.

I’ve written about smoothies, because they’re a great way of getting good nutrients into just about any person with a mouth.

 

Smoothies NYG

 

One of the hardest parts of church life for our family is feeling excluded when food that is unsafe for some of us because of allergies is part of a shared meal – or even communion.

So I like sharing recipes that will work for a variety of dietary needs, allowing all sorts of guests to be included. Check out, for instance, these cranberry ninja cookies.

 

chocolate bean cake

 

My progress in incorporating those values has been a gradual one. I’ve shared some of my progress and tips in posts about learning to cook regularly with more legumes and different grains.

 

chocolate bean cake (1)

 

And when I heard about lactation cookies (THEY DO NOT CONTAIN BREASTMILK) I went in search of some science and decided they were worth making, for myself, and sometimes for friends (if there were any left over – again, not a saint.)

 

Everything you need to know about lactation cookies - science and recipes | Sacraparental.com

 

Which brings us to my latest experiment.

We now live in Thailand, where baking and roasting is not a usual method of cooking. Our kitchen has two gas burners and no oven, so my repertoire of ‘baking’ has taken a hit.

I discovered the world of ‘no-bakes’, as American friends call them, through Mel Wiggins’ fabulous recipe for chocolate lactation cookies that don’t require an oven. They’re basically oaty fudge, and they’re wonderful!

Inspired by the example of several friends, most notably Angela of The Sugar Trade, I have hardly ever baked with actual sugar in the last few years, so I am thinking of Mel’s cookies as an occasional treat rather than a recipe in regular rotation.

I realised the other day that bliss balls must be the answer. I scrolled through Pinterest in search of a recipe that fit my criteria: low sugar, high flavour, more reliant on grains than nuts (to keep the fat levels down a bit), dairy-free and super easy.

Oh my goodnesss, there are a lot of bliss ball recipes out there! None of them were quite what I was after, so I took the elements of each that suited me and turned them into this recipe, which has gone down very well in our house and beyond. At the bottom of the post I’ve included links to the recipes I found most helpful.

The key to its success is the protein punch of chickpeas (garbanzo beans). It makes them a bit creamier and fudgier, and means that nutritionally, they’re covering more bases. I’ve done two batches with different amounts of the fruit, and they work pretty much however you want to do them. It’s a very forgiving mixture, so add or subtract according to your own preferences and the contents of your cupboards, and enjoy.

Back to that list of values from earlier. This recipe seemed worth sharing because of how it met those criteria, so let me show my working:

  • My four-year-old was genuinely helpful in making these. With his London Buses apron on, he got all the ingredients out, helped measure them into the food processor, did all the pulsing, and then rolled the balls with me. It was the most successful kitchen helping I’ve done with him (in terms of my blood pressure!)
  • From a natural learning perspective, that meant that he engaged in reading, problem-solving, mathematical measuring and conversions, fine motor skills and teamwork.
  • I haven’t found any fairtrade cocoa in Thailand (still looking!). If we were making these from our pantry supplies in New Zealand, most of the ingredients would come either from Trade Aid, our local organic shop, or a bulk bin shop, to minimise packaging. I’m sorry to say I haven’t managed to source many baking ingredients here that contribute any of those good things. It’s on my mind.
  • On the other hand, these balls are replacing (non-fairtrade) chocolate in my daily life at the moment, so making these is cheaper, healthier, and reduces the money I’m sending to dodgy chocolatiers (because there’s no fairtrade chocolate available here and I’m not virtuous enough to go cold turkey.)
  • The recipe is vegan, so there are no animal products.
  • It’s good for everyone currently in our lives here, in terms of dietary requirements – dairy-free and gluten-free if you use gf oats. I’ll make them without nuts when a nut-allergic friend returns from overseas in a few months.
  • From a nutrition perspective, I really like what every ingredient (though one online analyser warned about the alcohol content from the vanilla essence!) contributes. There’s protein from the chickpeas, whole grain fibre and heart benefits from the oats, a range of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from the dates and raspberries, good fats from the nuts. The cocoa helps make them rich enough that you don’t actually inhale the entire plate in one go.
  • They’re yum! The four-year-old said he didn’t like them – but only after he’d eaten SIX, so I’m taking that with a grain of salt, and he approved of the second batch, which had more raspberries.

 

Recipe for delicious chocolate raspberry bliss balls, packed with extra protein and no junk | Sacraparental.com

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Protein-Packed Chocolate Raspberry Bliss Balls

Ingredients: plain list

Makes about 40 small balls

2 cups rolled oats

1.5 cups/1 can cooked chickpeas

8-16 dried dates (a quarter of a cup or so)

.5 cup almonds

4 tablespoons cocoa

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

1-2 cups raspberries (frozen or fresh)

 

Recipe for delicious chocolate raspberry bliss balls, packed with extra protein and no junk | Sacraparental.com

 

Ingredients: with notes and substitutions

2 cups rolled oats

  • Vary the amount at will; I’ve made these with 1.5 cups and 3 cups.
  • Substitute any other grain or nut. I read one recipe where someone made bliss balls with cooked quinoa.

1.5 cups/1 can cooked chickpeas

8-16 dried dates (a quarter of a cup or so)

  • I made the first batch with 16 dates and the second with 8. It’s all about how sweet you want them.
  • Remember the dates are spread over 40 balls, so it’s not a huge amount per ball.
  • People who are aiming for very low fructose: I reckon proportionally dates are still fine in this recipe, and they add all sorts of other nutrients, like fibre and iron, but if you’d rather not go near them, you can substitute your sweetener of choice, and just add or subtract some of the oats to get the mix to the consistency you want.

.5 cup almonds

  • Any nuts will be fine, and you can start with them whole or ground.
  • You can omit the nuts entirely.

4 tablespoons cocoa

  • Or more or less to taste.
  • Choose fairtrade cocoa if you possibly can. Sadly, in Thailand I haven’t found any.

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

  • You could flavour these any way you like. Almond essence, lemon juice and peel, peppermint essence, ginger (with pears instead of raspberries, perhaps) – whatever you have on hand that sounds yummy.

1-2 cups raspberries (frozen or fresh)

  • Or other fruit! Lemon and blueberry? Pear and ginger? Apple and cinnamon? I bet all of those would work. Just add or subtract some oats to make the mixture rollable, depending on how wet the fruit makes it.

 

Recipe for delicious chocolate raspberry bliss balls, packed with extra protein and no junk | Sacraparental.com

 

Method

Basically, just blitz everything in a food processor, then roll into balls.

The dates and nuts can be a challenge for some food processors. If you want to be careful, this is the order I would do it in:

  1. First blitz the oats into a flour-like powder
  2. Add the chickpeas. Blitz again.
  3. Add the dates. Blitz the heck out of the mixture, and scrape down the sides.
  4. Add cocoa and nuts.
  5. Add vanilla essence and raspberries (or other flavourings and fruit)

When it’s all one smooth dough, scoop out spoonfuls and roll them into balls.

Optionally, you can then roll the balls in something else delicious:

  • shredded coconut
  • cocoa
  • chopped nuts
  • other ideas?

But honestly, I ain’t got time for that :)

I developed this recipe by combining different elements and ideas from several others, including these:

Angela Humphrey’s Orange Cocoa Balls

Emily Butler’s Raspberry Coconut Paleo Bliss Balls

Happy Healthy Mama’s Peanut Butter Energy Balls

If you’re new to Sacraparental, feel free to follow us on Facebook (for daily links and resources), Pinterest (check out my Allergy Queen and Brilliant Breakfast Ideas boards for starters) and Twitter, or sign up for email updates in the box at the top right.

And if you’re in the market for surprisingly healthy treats, do check out some other recipes I’ve raved about:

Surprising Chocolate Bean Cake

Cranberry Ninja Cookies

New Year’s Guide to Smoothies

New Year’s Guide to Gorgeous New Grains

Lactation Cookies

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8 comments on “Ten-Minute Allergy-Friendly Chocolate Raspberry Bliss Balls”

  1. Frank Reply

    Yum! I need to make these! I’m yet to find a Bliss ball that my kid likes, but these might do it.
    I’m far too lazy to roll things IMHO balls, so I’ll just press it into a tin and cut into squares.
    Do they need some extra fat I’d you don’t use the nuts? I’m wondering about adding some avocado.

  2. Heather Reply
    • thaliakr Reply

      Excellent! Thanks for all of that info!

      I’ve seen Frey chocolate, but not cocoa – but I’ll keep an eye out for it now.

  3. Maria Reply

    Hi. Just wondering how much weight you give to buying fair trade vs buying local when living in Asia? Here in Manila most fair trade products (esp for western-style baking/cooking) would be via bigger companies, and often imported or foreign owned. Whereas my locally bought items are def not fair trade, but my purchases greatly benefit the local economy, and small business owners i live alongside. Hmmm i dont have any great answers here, but wonder how you make these choices too? And another thing, we heat up a giant pot on our gas cooker, then can bake cakes, bread in it on a tray. Heats the house up, so not something we do often but nice for when a home made birthday cake is in order.

    • thaliakr Reply

      Great questions!

      Yes, I agree that it’s a matter of weighing up the factors.

      I’m in Thailand, where I’m pretty sure we don’t grow any cocoa, so I think chocolate is still a special case for me: if it’s not fair-trade or UTZ certified, it very likely involves child labour, slave labour, and so on. Other products made/grown locally don’t have quite such extreme problems, and yeah, benefit our neighbours, so all of things are factors for me.

      Good tip about the pot! We have friends with ovens, so that’s probably our occasional solution, until I can get my head around buying a bench-top mini oven…

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