These are sweet, satisfying, healthy little nutty balls that whizz up so easily in the food processor. Using dates, flax meal and ground almonds as a base, you can really experiment with the rest of the ingredients that you add. Sometimes I might throw some goji berries into the mix, some maca or lucuma powder (popular in raw food recipes), or a handful of crunchy pumpkin seeds or cacao nibs.
Really try to use medjool dates if you can – they’re the sweetest, most succulent dates you can buy, and to me they have a slight maple-syrup flavour.
You can buy ready ground flaxseeds in a health food store, but it’s far better (and much cheaper) to buy a packet of organic linseeds and grind them yourself in a coffee grinder or power blender. Once ground, flaxseed should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge to stop the oils in the seeds from going rancid.
It’s better if you use the flax meal within a couple of days, or just grind as and when you need it. This also ensures maximum nutritional content, as these little seeds are packed with those all-important Omega-3 essential fatty acids and lots of other vitamin/mineral goodies.
These little choco-almond bon bons make a great tea time snack, and are useful if you’re trying to wean yourself off refined sugar. They’re sweet, but also contain fibre and protein, so they make an ideal healthy snack for kids.
Choco-almond bon bons
8 medjool dates (or 10-12 if they’re not medjool)
Half cup ground almonds (have some extra to hand)
A third cup ground flaxseed (have some extra to hand)
One tbsp tahini
2 tsp raw cacao powder (or you could use cocoa instead)
2 tbsp honey
A few drops of natural almond extract (optional)
A few drops of natural vanilla extract (optional)
A third cup almonds, toasted then coarsely ground
Soak the dates for around an hour in warm water until softened (set aside the soak water). Add to the food processor with the ground almonds, ground flaxseed, tahini, honey and cacao. Also add the extracts if you wish. You will need to add a little of the soak water as the processor is running to help the mixture bind into one large ball. You’re aiming for a firm, slightly sticky dough. If you overdo the water, simply add a little more flaxseed or ground almonds.
The beauty of this recipe is that it’s pretty flexible. You can add things and take things away, and it will still turn out OK. Just be prepared to adjust a little to achieve the right consistency (I think that’s why I’ve never been much of a conventional baker. You really can’t play around much with the quantities in a cake or bread, as you’ll probably end up with a flop).
When the choco-almond dough is thoroughly mixed, remove from the processor and shape into small balls (around 10-12) with your hands.
Separately, coarsely grind the toasted almonds, spread on a plate and roll the balls over the nuts until evenly covered.
And there you have them. Delicious choco-almond bon bons to enjoy guilt-free.