The Red Folder

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Bliss balls, providing perfect happiness in a bite??

Are Bliss Balls healthy?

I first made some little balls of goodness about 9 years ago, when I truly believed the children would eat them as an alternative to baking. I don’t know how to spell the noise the big fat red cross makes when Simon Cowell hits his button, but that’s  what I heard when I presented two hours of work to my two beautiful mini humas.  The boy one would not even try, I resorted to bribery in the end as he refused to even pick one up and the girl one took the smallest rabbit nibble possible. It was unanimous…………….Image result for x

I was to never, ever try to make them eat the yucky brown balls with bits in again.  SIGH.  I pushed the 24 balls around morosely and wondered how I could make anybody eat them, they were after all expensive to make and so very, very healthy.  My husband found them in the cake tin and heroically ignored them for a week and the kids were not fooled when they were reshaped and offered as biscuits, a base for a slice or cunningly disguised as a brownie.  The dog and I took one for the team, in retrospect I was a little heavy on the flax seed and the dog pooped out pumpkin kernels for days.

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Hey guys, come and try these little balls of bliss.

The recipe I used was from one of the Revive Cafe cookbooks, I think, the clever guys behind the still popular and successful  Frooze Ball brand.   It did not matter that these little bites were so popular that they are now sold in hundreds of retail outlets, my two spat them out and did not trust anything brown I gave them for months.

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My favorite, FIG TRUFFLES, here finished with coconut, cocoa powder and left beautifully nude.

 

In response to a  request to offer up a healthy morning tea, I thought about my little brown friends again.  They are after all now very popular and dare I say mainstream.  I scoured the internet and literally found hundreds of recipes from almost raw cookie dough balls to seriously healthy vegan flax, chia and linseed mouthfuls.  I plumped for something with cranberries and pistachios and they were a hit.   We now make them and many variations regularly, offering them alongside more traditional slices and cakes, we can not keep up with demand.  As I was eating a particularly delicious fig truffle – well; we sell them in 3’s and there were 2 left over – I wondered if they were actually any better for you than say a protein or muesli bar, or indeed a piece of fruit.  I remember my dentist saying that dried fruit was not good for tooth health, I swallowed the truffle and forgot about the dentist.

The recipes we have found to be most popular are basically soaked portions of dried fruit, blitzed in the processor with varying additions of nuts, oats, grains, seeds, whole dried fruit, chocolate or carob powder, sweetened with honey and shaped into balls. So I guess I was asking myself is this delicious mouthful actually healthy and good for me too,  as good as a piece of fresh fruit or handful of nuts?

I eyed the second ball of yummy on the board. Hmmm, OK. Dried fruit is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals; it is also high in phenolic antioxidants, which have numerous health benefits; so that’s good, a thumbs up. One negative is that because the water content reduces when drying fruit, obviously volume goes down and overeating is oh so easy.  The guidelines say 1/4 cup of dried fruit a day is good enough for anyone.  Some recipes use 1 cup of dried fruit for just 12 balls so thumbs down.  The drying process often means that the vitamin C value is less in dried fruit but other than that the nutrient content is almost the same as the fresh stuff.  I would say a thumbs up. We know that seeds, nuts, oats are good for us, the good fats, big thumbs up, but some recipes use other fats too and some dried fruits are actually sprayed with sugar, cranberries, for example, ooh thumbs down.  Bliss balls are being delivered to us now commercially, as being better than other sweet snacks, that claim to be healthy, but I am not sure, I thought about the dentist again. Help I was getting nowhere.  I asked Google and the advice is conflicting.  I guess it depends on what your diet is normally like, what brand or recipe you are using and how many you are eating.  My diet is relatively good, I ate the truffle,

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I  think the bottom line is most of us are using bliss balls to fill the need for a no guilt sweet snack that is healthy.  The new market is selling this idea with words like whole foods, natural, raw energy………my advice is, look at the packet and compare the nutritional info with your normal fix of sweet, you might be surprised, I was.   For the record, I think if you can control your urge to eat no more than three at a time go find yourself some healthy recipes online, homemade are healthier than bought.  Keep them in the fridge for that sweet snack attack,  just remember, overeating and too much sugar is not good for your health, whatever way your wrap it up.  Oh yes and clean your teeth after you eat them

I say go roll yourself some balls, just wear gloves as it gets a bit sticky.

I like them, and one is usually enough for me,  I eat the ingredients regularly so it is a nice way to give in to the sweet craving.  I say go roll yourself some balls, just wear gloves as it gets a bit sticky. I have included here the most popular and my favorite (not the most healthy versions). Now if you can find a way to get the kids to eat them please let me know, I tried again this week, at least my daughter said sorry mum, I did try, my son was resolute, nothing that looked like that will ever pass his lip again.

KIDS GIVE THEM ANOTHER GO, they even have their own facebook page now.

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 Lemon and coconut

place the below in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Put mixture in the fridge for half an hour then roll into balls 12 – 15.  Roll in shredded coconut to finish and allow to firm up again in the fridge.  I love lemon so will sometimes roll in a mixture of almond meal and lemon zest like I have done here.

  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • ½ cup ground almonds – I used ground cashews
  • 2-3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon

 

 

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Bliss balls are so popular now, is it a paleo thing??

  Cranberry and pistachio

  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon ground flax seeds
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup shelled pistachio nuts
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips (optional)

Warm the honey then put in processor with the dates,  chia seeds, flax seeds and salt then pulse until smooth and combined.  Do not leave the machine running or you will overheat the mechanics, pulse. The mixture is very thick but you should be able to stir it— if you can not, add another tablespoon or two of honey or a little warm water

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, and stir in the oats, pistachios, dried cranberries, and white chocolate chips until evenly combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Roll into balls. 20 – 30.

Fig Truffles

  • 150g pitted dates
  • 150g dried figs
  • 1/4 pumpkin kernels
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1/4 cup of cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons of good vanilla extract.

Soak the dates in about 1/4 cup of hot water for 30mins.  Put to one side and toast the pumpkin kernels and pecans either by laying them out evenly on a tray and baking for about 10mins or in a dry fry pan on the stove top.  Keep an eye on them they will burn easily. We have made them without toasting and they were fine. Take the hard stem off the figs and chop roughly.  Drain the dates (keep the water) and place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. The mixture is very thick but you should be able to stir it— if you can not, add a little warm date water. Roll into balls about 30 and roll in cocoa powder or coconut if you like.

YOU’RE WELCOME all bliss balls should be kept in an airtight container in the fridge, tip, using disposable gloves makes the whole job much easier.

 

4 thoughts on “The Red Folder

  1. Yum, might try your recipes thank you. Re kids eating them … mine will only eat them if they don’t have nuts in them, they are fine with the seeds. I have a nut-free recipe that they really enjoy, as long as I put enough vanilla extract in them :-).
    But my fave story is about son 2. When he was in Year 6 his teacher told him off for taking “treat food” to school as they looked like the truffles she makes for Christmas. I took great pleasure in emailing her the recipe I used for “Brain Balls”, which I considered the perfect snack for Brain Food Time!!

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    1. Funny, the fig one tastes like there is alcohol in there, and someone came back just to make sure I hadn’t laced them with rum. You should post yours, I’ll try them. I am impressed your boys eat them, mine refuse, even with chocolate in! Do you actually buy them??

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  2. I never buy Bliss Balls … too expensive and not yummy enough!!

    Here is the recipe my boys love … it’s called Delicious Nut Free Chocolate Brain Balls and the recipe is from Wellness by Wendy.

    1/2 c sunflower seeds
    1/2 c pumpkin seeds
    4 medjool dates
    4 T cacao powder (but have also used cocoa powder)
    1 T coconut oil
    1 T maple syrup
    2 t vanilla extraxt
    Coconut to coat the balls

    Place all ingredients except coconut oil into high speed blender. Once combined place into a bowl. Add the coconut oil and mix in, then roll into balls and coat in coconut.
    (NB: I usually just put it all into the food processor as I don’t understand why I can’t add the coconut oil … seems to work ok!).

    Liked by 1 person

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