Pascale's Kitchen: Chocolate balls

The classic recipe for chocolate balls calls for cocoa powder and melted butter or margarine, depending on whether you want the balls to be dairy or parve. 

Chocolate balls (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Chocolate balls
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

This week, I attended an event where there were children. Among the dishes that were served were chocolate balls. I was quite surprised when I saw a few of the children take a bite of one of the balls and then immediately make a face showing absolute revulsion. 

When I asked someone what the balls were made of, she replied that they were “healthy balls.” They did not include cookies or chocolate like the classical chocolate ball recipes do. Instead, they included ingredients such as dates, nuts and other healthful ingredients. 

For more of Pascale's recipes, click here>>

As I wrote last week, when I’m hosting guests, I make an effort not to serve dishes I haven’t tried out at least once. And it’s important to prepare food that is appropriate for each group of guests. 

If I were to prepare chocolate balls for children, then in addition to the healthful version, I would have also prepared balls using a more classic recipe. 

There are an endless number of interesting ways to make chocolate balls, many of which I’ve included in my weekly column over the years. Preparing chocolate balls is the best way to use up leftover cake or cookies that no one wants to eat. All you have to do is add the cookies or cake to the bowl of a food processor and blend them. Alternatively, you can use any kitchen utensil to crush the cookies or cake by hand. Then, all you need to do is add the other ingredients, mix and form the balls with your hands. 

Healthy tahini and chia balls (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)Healthy tahini and chia balls (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

The classic recipe for chocolate balls calls for cocoa powder and melted butter or margarine, depending on whether you want the balls to be dairy or parve. 

You can also use sweet cream with bittersweet chocolate or any chocolate spread you desire.

The combination of the cookie or cake crumbs with the melted chocolate forms a mixture that is perfect for rolling balls, which can then be covered with coconut flakes, sprinkles or crushed nuts. 

Recently, healthful versions of chocolate balls have become much more popular. The role of parents is to try to provide our children with healthful food, so making alternative versions of our kids’ favorite treats is a great way to introduce our kids to healthful snacks. 

The healthful versions of chocolate balls are usually made with dates, carob powder and chia seeds in place of chocolate. Instead of using butter, the healthful version uses coconut oil; and instead of cookies, it calls for finely ground nuts. Instead of covering the balls with candied sprinkles, you can roll them in coconut flakes, sesame seeds or chia seeds.

Following, you’ll find the classic recipe, as well as two versions of healthful balls. One is based on dates, and the other on tahini and chia seeds. 

Classic chocolate balls with icing

Makes 20 balls.

Ingredients:

  • 300 gr. dry cookies of any sort, leftover cake or biscuits
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 150 gr. butter or margarine, softened
  • 100 gr. chocolate, broken up into squares
  • 1 Tbsp. chocolate liqueur
  • ¼ cup walnuts, finely chopped 
  • 1/3 cup dairy or parve milk at room temperature

Toppings:

  • Chocolate shavings, colored sprinkles or coconut flakes

If making for adults, you can add:

  • 1 shot glass of espresso
  • 1 Tbsp. whiskey or 1 Tbsp. brandy
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

Hazelnut and chocolate spread: 

  • ½ cup dairy or parve whipped cream or mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup cocoa powder

Add the cookies or leftover cake to the bowl of a food processor and grind until very fine. 

Pour the ground cookie crumbs into a large bowl, then add the sugar and cocoa powder. Mix well. Add the softened butter, then mix well. 

Pour the milk into a small pot and heat over low heat. Add the chocolate and continue mixing until all the chocolate has completely melted. 

Next, pour the chocolate into the cookie crumbs and mix well. Add the ground walnuts and mix again. If the mixture is too soft and the balls cannot retain their shape, put the mixture in the fridge for an hour, then take it out and form balls with a diameter of 3-4 centimeters, or whatever size you want.

Place the chocolate shavings, sprinkles or coconut on flat plates and then roll the chocolate balls in whichever topping you want. Then, place each ball in a paper cupcake holder. Store the balls in the fridge. 

To prepare the adult version: Instead of using cocoa, use chocolate spread, whipped cream, espresso, whiskey or brandy and salt. Mix all the ingredients together. You can add some more whipped cream or chocolate spread if necessary. 

Form balls, then roll them in the cocoa powder and then place them in paper cupcake holders. 

Level of difficulty: MediumTime: 1 hourStatus: Dairy or parve

Chocolate and date balls

Makes 20-25 balls.

Ingredients:

  • 500 gr. dates, without pits and mashed
  • 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder or carob powder
  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. water or juice
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup roasted sesame seeds
  • ½ cup whole roasted walnuts

Topping:

  • 1 cup roasted sesame seeds or coconut flakes

Add the mashed dates to a pot and heat over low heat. While continuously stirring, add the cocoa or carob powder, honey, sugar, water, lemon juice, ginger, cloves and cinnamon. 

Add the sesame seeds and walnuts and mix well. Cook while continuing to stir for 5 more minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool a bit. 

Place the sesame seeds on a plate. Take a bit of the mixture and prepare balls with a diameter of 2-3 centimeters. Roll the balls in the sesame seeds, then store them in the freezer. 

Level of difficulty: EasyTime: 30 minutesStatus: Parve

Healthy tahini and chia balls

Makes 12-15 balls.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp. walnuts or pecans, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. roasted peanuts, finely chopped 
  • 5 Tbsp. raw tahini
  • 2 Tbsp. halva (optional)
  • 4 Tbsp. silan
  • 5 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • ¾ cup sunflower seeds, chopped
  • 1-2 Tbsp. water, juice or milk
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ginger
  • Pinch of ground cloves

Toppings:

  • ¼ - ½ cup ground nuts, candied nuts, sprinkles, coconut flakes, and any other treat

Add all the ingredients, in order, to a large bowl. Mix well. 

Take a bit of the mixture and form balls with a diameter of 2-3 centimeters. 

Roll the balls in one or more of whichever topping you’ve picked. 

Place the balls in paper cupcake holders, and store in the fridge until serving.

Level of difficulty: EasyTime: 30 minutesStatus: Parve

Translated by Hannah Hochner. 

www.pascalpr.co.il