Add these cacao bliss balls to your day as the ultimate sweet treat. Plus, know that you're not just treating your taste buds, they also pack in a good dose of plant based ALA omega 3's, antioxidants and other feel-good ingredients.
Bliss balls are really just ingredients stirred up together, or put into a food processor and made into bite sized balls. They go by many names like – energy balls, protein balls, bites, bliss balls, or just "Balls".
Regardless of their name, I like to include variations of the following ingredients:
- Fats/proteins: Whole or butter forms of nuts, seeds, or legumes
- Sweeteners: (that double as binders) dried fruit (like dates and raisins), honey
- Flavorings and binders: shredded coconut, chia seeds,
- Functional Ingredients: ashwagandha, maca powder
- Baking dates: I like to use baking dates when making bliss balls because they're more economical, and convenient. Check out the Ziyad brand in the international aisle at the grocery store.
- Walnuts: Contains the most ALA (plant source) of omega-3's of all the nuts. Choose raw and unsalted.
- Cacao powder: is similar to cocoa but it is less processed. Cocoa powder is processed with more heat and may be alkalized, both of which will reduce the bitterness. And we know bitter is a flavor we need more of for healthy digestion!
- Salt: Redmond's real salt or Celtic sea salt are unrefined and provide more potassium, magnesium and iron.
- Chocolates: Choose between mini M&M's, chocolate chips, mini chocolate chips or cacao nibs for a bit more of a crunch!
What if my balls don't hold together?
You can add a tiny bit of water, or, more dates if you don't mind more sugar. Add in about a tablespoon at a time, mixing between additions to ensure you don't over do it.
Too much liquid and they can end up being gummy, or just a liquid mess.
Are bliss balls good for you?
Yes, bliss balls are typically chuck full of nutrient dense foods like nuts, seeds, grains and sometimes legumes - like my Lemon Truffle ones. Plus they're made with natural sweeteners to give you a little benefit beyond just the sweetness.
These recipes don't use protein powder because I like to first rely on real food to increase the protein. But, you're welcome to add some – just be sure to reduce the dry ingredients (or increase the wet ingredients) to keep them held together.
What can I roll bliss balls in?
Anything! Rolling these tiny bites in a finishing ingredient really make them presentation worthy. Try:
- Arrowroot powder
- More minced walnuts
- Drizzled chocolate
- More cacao powder
- Shredded coconut
How do you use baking dates?
I love using Medjool dates in bliss balls because they're sweet and help bind. But sometimes it's not worth buying whole dates if you're just going to pulverize them. Check out Ziyad baking dates, which are considerably cheaper and ready to use.
Baking dates are much more dense, so you can't go cup for cup. I find that a 2:1 ratio (whole dates : baking dates) usually works, give or take. So, if a recipe calls for 1.5cups whole, pitted dates, you can sub in ~¾ cup baking dates.
A note on functional ingredients
Bliss balls are a great vehicle for functional ingredients, like adaptogens. Adaptogens help us adapt to, and manage chronic stress (lifestyle changes still required!) Maca powder would be a great add to this recipe, since it typically blends well with cacao.
Chronic stress is a real issue and is correlated with many of the leading causes of disease including cancer, coronary heart disease, accidental injuries, respiratory disorders, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide.
Note that I do not recommend including adaptogens when serving kids (or yourself for that matter) unless you've previously discussed this with your health care provider.
What do they taste like?
These guys are both sweet and salty, so if you like salted chocolate, these are your new bestie!
I love the combination of walnuts and chocolate. We know walnuts are great for us (they have the most omega 3's of all the nuts), buuttt, they're not my favorite by themselves, they're a little astringent from the tannins and catechin content.
Enter cacao and salt, and you've got yourself a winning combo.
How long do bliss balls last in the fridge?
These healthy fat and energy packed balls can last up to ten days in the fridge in an airtight container, or longer in the freezer (but they won't)! 🙂
Cacao Bliss Balls
- Measuring Scoops & Spoons
- Microwave Safe, Glass Mixing Bowl
- Mixing Spoon
- Food Processor
- Cookie scoop or large spoon
- 1 cup walnuts, raw & unsalted
- 1.5 cups packed pitted dates, about 15 dates, or ¾ cup baking dates*
- ¼ cup cacao powder, raw
- ½ teaspoon espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup mini chocolate chips**
- Add all of the ingredients, except your chocolates, to the food processor and blend until a cohesive mixture forms, around 1 minute.
- Scoop into large 1 tablespoon servings using a cookie scoop, or regular spoon. Shape into balls.
- Chill for 60 + minutes and enjoy!