Raw balls are all the rage at the moment it seems. The raw food movement is an enticing one which I have lofty dreams of one day incorporating into my day-to-day eating. My skin will glow like someone half my age, my gait will be sprightly and full of zest, my general demeanour will be that of someone who is grasping life by the (raw) balls. But until that time comes I will continue to eek tiny amounts of many a dietary movement into my life in what appears to be my own melting pot style of eating.
I’ve realised that I’m in the ‘everything in moderation’ culinary camp. Make it wholesome, delicious and full of goodness and I’ll be all over it like a rash. I like food too much to put any longterm restrictions in place and fortunately I don’t suffer from any food allergies or intolerances which might hamper my general grazing style of eating. I’ll put goodness in wherever I can but ingredients have to be accessible and methods not too complex. I think that’s why I’ve developed quite the obsession for a plethora of raw ball variants which now fill the fridge on a weekly basis. Guilt-free sweet treats which are quick and easy to make, readily available to munch away on when in need of a pick-me-up. I’ve even found a combination which The Threenager will eat with gusto, further deepening my respect of these little nuggets of goodness.
Two of my favourite, truly ‘raw’ ball recipes come from the beloved Petite Kitchen blog. Eleanor’s lemon and coconut truffles are to die for and her ginger cookie dough truffle recipe is the one I tweaked slightly to pander to my fusspot daughter’s tastes (* if you’re interested to see what works for my daughter take a look at the bottom of this post for my version of Eleanor’s recipe).
My truffle recipe below is not strictly raw as I like to toast the coconut and sesame seeds for an intensified flavour base. They fall slightly more into the ‘treat’ truffle category as I’ve included one of my all-time favourite sweet ingredients…halva. Halva is a dense, crumbly dessert made from sesame seeds, tahini, sugar and vanilla. It’s the stuff of obsession for me. It’s incredibly intense, in all the right ways. Cloyingly sweet with hints of savoury, it’s an explosion of flavour for your mouth and unbelievably moreish. My favourite way to have halva is with a degree of subtlety, it’s wonderful as a background flavour as it can be overwhelming served neat. You can find halva in any good delicatessen – I buy mine from either Nosh or Farro foodstores. Make sure you get plain halva (vanilla) and not one of the many available fancied-up types with such things as rosewater or pistachio added.
INGREDIENTS (makes approx 15 truffles)
1/2 cup ground almonds (almond meal)
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1 cup desiccated coconut – lightly toasted
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp coconut oil (gently melted by placing jar into bowl of hot water)
85g halva – crumbled
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup sesame seeds – lightly toasted, to coat
1. Place all ingredients except the sesame seeds into the bowl of a food processor. Blitz for 1-2 minutes until a paste forms, not unlike cookie dough. You will need to scrape the sides down a few times to make sure all the ingredients are being well incorporated.
2. Squeeze spoonfuls of the mix (20g approx per ball) between your hands to compress into a solid mass, then roll around between your palms to form into tidy balls.
3. Tip the toasted sesame seeds into a shallow bowl and roll the truffles in the seeds to coat well.
4. Place in an airtight container and leave in the fridge for 2-3 hours to firm up. Store in the fridge and consume with 5 days.
* DATE & CACAO TRUFFLES (adapted from this recipe): place 1 cup of pitted dates (soak for 10 minutes in boiling water, then drain well), 1 cup of ground almonds, and 2 tbsp of cacao powder into a food processor. Process briefly to incorporate then add 1/3 cup peanut butter, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 2 tbsp of extra virgin coconut oil (gently melted by placing jar in a bowl of hot water). Process again, scraping the sides down a few times, until everything is well blitzed and one homogenous mass. Roll into balls, approx 20g each, then store in the fridge.