A few years ago, I stumbled on this recipe for raw brownies from the amazing My New Roots blog, and it Changed My Life. That’s not an exaggeration: up until that point I hadn’t realised that sweet treats didn’t have to be full of things that were bad for you – namely, processed sugar (and guilt).
Sugar is not my friend. It’s horrible for my skin and makes me feel emotional and crazy. It took me a long time to figure that out but having cut it out of my diet lately (bar the odd *cough*Haribo binge*cough*) I’ve noticed a big difference in how I feel, and – total wowsa – my acne is loads better. I’m not saying that’s directly linked to refined sugar, but avoiding it seems to have made a real odds. So, boring as it may seem, I tend to avoid it.
These balls and the brownies they’re adapted from are refined sugar free, and made from less than 5 ingredients. I’ve made them so many times over the years and they are SO GOOD, but I’ve altered the recipe a bit because new things are also good.
They’ve morphed into these truffle-y, rich cardamom spiced balls of goodness: perfect for whenever you need something chocolate-y and sweet, and if you’re avoiding refined sugar, they’re a WIN. (And even if you’re not, they’re still good).
Raw Chocolate Pistachio and Cardamom Balls
Ingredients (makes about 12)
1 cup walnuts
1 ½ cups Medjool dates, pitted (make sure they’re pitted otherwise OUCH)
½ cup raw cacao
½ cup raw unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped
pinch sea salt
1tsp cardamom (or ½ a tsp if you’re into a subtler taste)
- Blitz the walnuts in a high speed food processor until they’re finely ground.
- Add the cacao, salt and cardamom. Pulse to combine.
- With the motor running, add the dates one at a time through the feed tube until you have a mixture resembling cake crumbs. It should form a dough when squeezed, but if it doesn’t, add a few more dates. Remove the date mixture from the food processor to a bowl.
- Add the pistachios to the food processor and pulse until chopped however finely you’d like. I like them quite small, so there’s a bit of bite but not too chunky.
- Add the chopped pistachios to the date mixture and stir to combine. Put the mixture in the fridge to chill for half an hour or so, this will make them easier to handle.
- When you’re ready to assemble them, take a heaped teaspoon or two and roll the mixture into balls (you can make them whatever size you like, but they are quite rich so I find this size works.) Roll in cacao or more chopped nuts, if you fancy. Marvel at your creations and try and give some away.
I halved the original brownie recipe quantities as the raw ingredients are quite dear.
You can use regular cocoa instead of cacao, as it is expensive, but if you’re going for a treat that’s also good for you it’s a no brainer. Cacao is a source of iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous and zinc, and antioxidants (according to the NHS.)
I really don’t like having balls in my title, but there you go.