I love raw cacao nibs.
Yesterday I was trying to think of what I could make with my stash of cacao nibs (which I got for my birthday), and I decided they'd be great in bliss balls. When you need a 'pick-me-up' type of snack, these are just perfect. The mixture of dates, nuts and raw cacao make these balls like mini 'high protein power bars' - but they're much better for you than commercial power bars!
So do you know why these are called 'bliss balls'? Because raw cacao just makes you feel so good!! Know why? It's not just the delicious taste... Raw cacao contains "naturally occurring phytochemicals like theobromine (considered an aphrodisiac), phenylethylamine (PEA – released when we fall in love), and anandamide (the ‘bliss' chemical)." (Quoted from the Power Super Foods website - you can order your raw cacao nibs here!) There's some more info about raw cacao with my recipe for Treat Balls, which are another version you might like to try.
I ground up the raw cacao nibs in my Thermomix, then added the other ingredients, including a little Rapadura to balance the slightly bitter taste of raw cacao. After making half of them into balls, I decided they'd be nice with a little bit of 'crunch', so I added some more walnuts and cacao nibs to the rest of the mixture. Yum! My favourites were definitely the crunchy ones, but the smooth ones were pretty good too. So take your pick - crunchy or smooth. :) Enjoy.
1. Grind up in Thermomix on speed 9 for 15-20 seconds, or until fine:
- 85g raw cacao nibs
2. Add and grind on speed 8 for 5 seconds, until dates are chopped up:
- 250g fresh dates, deseeded (eg. Honey or Medjool dates)
- 20g Rapadura
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 Tbspn vanilla extract (preferably a good, organic one!)
3. Add walnuts and grind on speed 9 for about 1 minute, or until mixture comes together and is smooth:
- 230g fresh walnuts (make sure they're not old and bitter!)
You could also use pecans if you'd rather.
4. If you like these smooth, go ahead and roll them into balls. If you like them with a bit of 'crunch', add the extra walnuts and raw cacao nibs and mix in on speed 5 for a few seconds, until roughly chopped:
- handful or two of walnuts
- handful of raw cacao nibs
5. Roll into balls and keep in the fridge.
I was really glad to find some of these still left in the fridge when I got home today from a demo - I desperately needed energy! Hope you like them :)