Ask any Swede what the first treat they learned to make as a kid was, and they will answer “chocolate balls” (well, actually, they’ll probably say ‘chokladbollar’, which is not really that different sounding than the English translation). Chocolate balls are the ubiquitous dessert in Sweden, the one that everyone knows how to make, and you can find a version in every bakery, convenience store, and grocery store in the country. They hold the same cultural significance as a brownie does in North America.
Sweet, chocolatey, with a hint of mocha, coconut and a smooth mouthfeel, chocolate balls are the ultimate comfort food. I distinctly remember my mom making these during most heart-wrenching breakups my sister and I went through as teenagers. Every Swedish family has their own variation of the recipe, and ours came from my dad’s grade 4 cooking class textbook – yes, kids took cooking class in Sweden in the 50s, and yes, he STILL has that cookbook. The page has been taped back in several times, and is dotted with butter smears and chocolate splatter. Over the years, it has become a “little of this, little of that” recipe for me, and I can make it with my eyes closed, with whatever we happen to have around.
I’ve made several tweaks to this recipe, reducing the amount of sugar and adding in some extra protein and fibre. This is the recipe I bring along to potlucks, and whip up when friends visit. I still hold to the Swedish custom of fika, offering coffee and sweets when visitors pop by. While the list of ingredients seems long, these come together quite quickly. If you can measure ingredients, stir with a fork and roll dough into a ball, you’re golden.
Tell me if you try these, and especially if you have ever had the traditional Swedish chokladboll! I’d love to hear how you think mine compare!
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 4 tbsp cacao powder
- 1 tbsp maca powder
- 1/3 cup dates
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1.5 tbsp strong coffee
- 1 tbsp collagen powder
- 1/2 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1 cup oat flour just use regular organic oats, and grind in a coffee grinder or blender until it's a flour-like consistency
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar or 4 tbsp finely shredded coconut optional
Soak dates in hot water for about 30 minutes. Remove from water, and blend in a blender with about 1 tbsp of the date water. You want a nice thick syrup - so add more water if necessary.
Using a fork, cream together butter, coconut oil, cacao, maca, vanilla, maple syrup, date syrup and coffee. Blend it together well.
Add the collagen, coconut and oats, and mix it together with a fork. Make sure everything is very well incorporated. This should be a tight batter, that holds together well when squished. If it's really wet, add more oat flour.
Stick your bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes or so.
Once the batter (mix? dough?) has chilled, roll small spoonfuls in your hands to form small balls.
Pour the coconut sugar, or shredded coconut, into a small bowl. Toss your chocolate balls, 2 or 3 at a time, in the sugar or coconut.
1. To save time, make your date syrup in advance. It will store well in the fridge for a week or so.
2. You can substitute more coconut for the butter if necessary, but know that the butter adds a great depth of flavour to these!
3. You absolutely do not have to roll these in sugar or coconut, if you don't want to. I rarely do, unless I'm trying to impress someone!
4. These balls can be stored in the fridge for a few days, and the freezer for a few weeks. Although, I really can't understand why you wouldn't eat them all at once!