I’ve never met someone who didn’t love Nutella. There’s also noone I’ve met who doesn’t acknowledge that it’s not the healthiest thing in the world.
For those who crave the creamy hazelnut-tinged divinity on their tongue but don’t want to trouble themselves with the ‘diet starts tomorrow’ excuse, I came up with this solution.
Dense, creamy AND still good for you, these No-tella Balls hits the sweet spot and nourishes you with healthy fats, protein, natural sugars and antioxidants. Dates and hazelnuts both also help to boost your brain power! So even though they’re perfect to present at dinners or as gifts this Christmas season, they also are an ideal snack to bring to work once the holidays are over.
Hazelnut paste can be found in baking supply stores, but it is much cheaper if you roast and blend them at home, and this way you know what goes in it too. I’ve used a milling attachment that came with my blender, and if I blend long enough, the hazelnuts turn into a smooth paste on their own. If your own blending attempt is not as successful, feel free to add in some vegetable oil as you go along. If you choose to get store-bought paste, make sure to read the label to see if there’s anything that doesn’t sit well with you, like emulsifiers or added sugar.
Creating energy balls is one of the easiest things to make when you’re starting out a plant-based lifestyle. They have given me great staying power on the days that I find hard to get through… including my 8-hour kungfu training schedule in China!
In this recipe, apart from roasting the hazelnuts, pretty much no cooking is involved, making it a wonderful food project with the kids.
I’ve used buckwheat flour because its earthy flavour complements the other ingredients. However, feel free to replace this with oat flour or coconut flour.
Coating the balls with confectionery sprinkles adds a whole lot of festive cheer. I have read that traditional sprinkles that have a shine to them contain Confectioner’s Glaze, which is made of bugs! Matte-coloured sprinkles will help you ease your worries, or if you like the sweetness of the balls as they are, coating them with shredded coconut or ground peanuts is also just as tasty.
If you wish, keep some extra hazelnuts aside to place in the middle of your balls. This would make it an extra nutty treat!
Have fun rolling these delightful balls and serving them to your guests. Chances are high that they’ll be asking for more!
Wishing everyone a Mindful Christmas.
Makes 15-18 balls
Time needed: 20 mins (60 mins if roasting hazelnuts)
16 Bam Dates
1/4 tsp Pink salt
1/3 cup Buckwheat flour
1 tbsp Soybean powder
1 tsp Vanilla paste
1/3 cup Cocoa powder
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Coconut oil
1/2 cup Roasted hazelnuts + 1/3 cup if you wish to put hazelnuts in the middle of your balls
2 tbsp plus 1 tsp hazelnut paste
For dusting (options):
Matte coloured sprinkles
Cocoa Powder with a pinch of Cinnamon powder
Preheat oven to 340 degrees Fahrenheit or 170 degrees Celsius.
Roast hazelnuts for 30 minutes, turning them every 8-10 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Take 1/2 cup hazelnuts and blend until it becomes a smooth paste.
Add paste and all other ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix together evenly.
Pull mixture apart into small pieces and roll into bite-sized balls. If you are placing hazelnuts in the middle, press a hole into the ball with your thumb, place hazelnut inside, and roll up ball again to conceal.
Coat balls with dusting of choice.
Balls can be eaten immediately, or left to cool for an hour in the fridge before serving.
Balls will stay good up to 4 days in the fridge.