These are a healthy, nutritious version of a much-loved family favourite recipe I’ve been having ever since I can remember. Peanut Butter Balls are the original favourite and for every time we’ve had a holiday, they’ve always been the first to go. I get requests to make them all the time by my family in the UK and while they have always been delicious, they are made with an unhealthy amount of icing sugar. I wanted to make a healthy version but equally delicious and what a better time of year than now for Valentine’s Day?
These are made with homemade nut butter (I chose to make a hazelnut pecan blend) over peanut butter. They actually make these nut butter balls taste a bit more like a healthy Ferrero Rocher! As peanuts are quite prone to mold and contamination, I tend to favour other nuts over them. Of course, if you really love peanut butter, substitute that. Make it yourself with organic peanuts or buy a high quality peanut butter. Whichever you choose will taste great with chocolate.
Instead of using icing sugar to sweeten and make up the bulk of these I have made my own version using coconut sugar. You can simply add coconut sugar to a food processor and blend well until very fine. I keep a small quantity of this available to use in place of icing sugar if needed. For the most part I’ll use sweeteners such as maple syrup, honey, dates, etc. Feel free to use more maple syrup in these instead of coconut icing sugar if you like. I’d start with two tablespoons as it also acts as a thickener.
And if you haven’t made your own chocolate, you don’t know what you’re missing! Raw chocolate is phenomenal and you don’t ever have to feel guilty about it because the real stuff is pretty good for you. The combination of both the nut butter and chocolate is amazing and I guarantee you will love these. These make approximately 18-20 nut butter balls. So you can make some for your husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, someone special, and keep some behind for yourself!
1 cup hazelnut-pecan nut butter (or other nut butter of your choice)
3 tbsp coconut icing sugar
2 tbsp coconut flour
1 tbsp maple syrup
½ cup puffed brown rice (I used Rude Health’s; you can use some organic rice krispies)
½ cup cocoa butter
2 tbsp maple syrup (honey, date syrup)
½ tsp vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
3 ½ tbsp raw cacao
Add the nut butter, coconut icing sugar, coconut flour, and maple syrup to a medium sized bowl and mix until combined. Add in the puffed brown rice. Set aside in the fridge for about 20 minutes to firm up. When you’re ready, take the mixture from the fridge, make ½ tablespoon balls, and set on a lined baking tray. You can then pop these back in the fridge for a couple of hours, or just pop them in the freezer for another 20-30 minutes.
While the balls are setting in the fridge/freezer, make the raw chocolate. Add the cocoa butter to a double boiler on a low simmer to melt. Add in the maple syrup, vanilla, and sea salt. When all is combined and melted, take it off the heat and whisk in the raw cacao. Allow this to stand to the side for 10-15 minutes so it’s not too hot when you dip the nut butter balls.
When you’re ready to dip the balls, remove from the fridge/freezer and dip them into the chocolate with a dessertspoon until completely covered, then let them set on a lined baking tray.
You can let these set in the fridge and then dip them again if you have some chocolate leftover. Dish them up on a pretty plate to serve or box them up as a lovely gift for someone to enjoy. Spread the love of chocolate with those around you and have a Happy Valentine’s Day! x