Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year!! I thought I would kick off 2017 with a nutritious and delicious breakfast recipe. These bliss balls make a wonderfully light but satisfying breakfast, especially for those mornings, when you’re on the go, or for when you need a quick healthy snack. Because they have been baked, instead of being raw, it also gives them a wonderful light and chewy texture. The sweetness comes from the dates and sultanas, with the light tartness from the dried cranberries and dried apricots nicely balancing out the sweetness. However, there is no added oil or sugar in this recipe. I’ve also made them a little larger than regular bliss balls because, after all, they have been made as a breakfast alternative. They maybe small, but eating a just couple of these will sit with you for quite some time.
I use a combination of nuts, puffed amaranth and quinoa cereals, as I do in my recipe for Double Choc Ginger Bliss Balls, because it gives a lighter texture. I also choose to use organic sulphur free apricots, which are very dark brown in colour, instead of the bright orange you would normally see in supermarkets. As well as being better for you, they also have an amazing flavour, which is almost caramel like.
In this recipe I’ve used coconut crunch, which is a new ingredient that I haven’t used before. I bought it from my local health food shop and it’s very reasonably priced. Coconut crunch is simply air-dried coconut flesh. The drying process takes place after the extra virgin coconut oil has been extracted. It has a rich nutty coconut taste, a crunchy texture and is it’s highly nutritious, being rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals.
I highly recommend wearing disposable gloves when rolling into balls, as it stops the mixture from sticking to your hands. As I’ve mentioned previously, there is no added oil in this recipe. So to make a firm bliss ball, you will need to firmly squeeze the mixture together and then shape them into a ball. However, I’ve found depending on the moisture content of the dates you are using, will dictate the end result of how the moist or dry the mixture turns out.
To make them a little more extravagant, you can also dip these in a gluten and dairy free white chocolate, which does also change the overall flavour. However, if you wanted to keep them refined sugar and soy free, you can simply roll them in the desiccated coconut before baking. Either way, they are simply delicious!
88g (3.1 ounces or a firmly packed ½ cup) natural almonds
88g (3.1 ounces or a scant ⅔ cup) raw cashews
100g (3.5 ounces or firmly packed ½ cup) sultanas or muscat raisins
90g (3.2 ounces or approx. 6 medium sized) Medjool dates
40g (1.4 ounces or ⅓ cup) dried organic cranberries
60g (2.2 ounces or approx. 6 medium sized) organic dried apricots
6 tablespoons amaranth puffs
4 tablespoons quinoa puffs
2 tablespoons (30ml) coconut crunch (I use this brand)
4 teaspoons (20ml) desiccated coconut (I use this brand)
2 teaspoons (10ml) psyllium husk
⅛ teaspoon (0.625ml) salt
Rolled Coconut Option
18g (0.6 ounces or 3 tablespoons) extra desiccated coconut for rolling the bliss balls
Approximately 120g (4.2 ounces) gluten and dairy free white chocolate (I use this brand)
Preheat the oven to 140C and line a tray with baking paper/parchment.
Add the almonds and cashews to a food processor, then blitz until finely chopped.
Next, add the sultanas, dates, cranberries and dried apricots. Then blitz again until finely chopped.
Now add the amaranth puffs, quinoa puffs, coconut crunch, desiccated coconut, psyllium husk and salt. Then blitz further, until everything is well combined.
Wearing disposable gloves, take approximately 39g (1.3 ounces or ⅓ cup) of the mixture and shape it into a firm ball. The day of this photoshoot, the dates I used were a little dry, which made the mixture have a semi-dry consistency. So it did take a little time and patience to form them into balls. I found the easiest way to do this is by tipping the measured amount of mixture into a small container, then squeezing the mixture against the side of the container until it comes together. That way you can shape and roll it easier into a firm ball. However, on other occasions when I’ve made these, and the dates I used were soft and moist, the mixture was much easier to roll into firm balls. Once rolled, place the bliss balls on the prepared tray a few centimetres apart.
If you are chocolate dipping the bliss balls, skip the next step and go straight to baking, before following the recipe option further below.
Otherwise for the standard recipe, and once the bliss balls have all been rolled out, you then roll them in desiccated coconut, before baking them.
Bake for 18 minutes, allowing them to cool completely on the tray, before storing in an airtight container in the pantry.
Chocolate Dipped Option
If you are chocolate dipping the bliss balls, make sure they are completely cool before you start. You can microwave the chocolate until melted or you can melt the chocolate the old fashioned way. Heat some water in a small saucepan and place glass bowl over the top (make sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Once the water has boiled, turn it off. Add the chocolate to the bowl and stir frequently until melted.
Pour the melted chocolate into a small jug/container and allow it to cool for a little while. I found that if the chocolate was too warm and runny, the coating on the bliss balls was very thin and it just pooled around the base, instead of them having a nice even coating all the way round.
Place the chocolate dipped bliss balls onto a tray lined with baking paper/parchment. Allow them to set completely before eating. You can speed up this process by placing them in the refrigerator.
Recipe by: The Gluten & Dairy Free Bakehouse
Note: all recipe oven temperatures shown are for a fan forced electric oven. Please refer to the below guide to help you adjust your oven accordingly. This recipe is shown in bold.
Oven Temperatures Chart
130C = 110C fan = 250F = Gas mark 1
150C = 130C fan = 300F = Gas mark 2
160C = 140C fan = 325F = Gas mark 3
180C = 160C fan = 350F = Gas mark 4
190C = 170C fan = 375F = Gas mark 5
200C = 180C fan = 400F = Gas mark 6
220C = 200C fan = 425F = Gas mark 7
230C = 210C fan = 450F = Gas mark 8