21 November 2015
Last month I was in Sweden with my mother and spent the most beautiful autumn days in my mother's hometown Alingsås in Västergötland.
On most days I got up early in the morning and I was strolling around the picturesque town with its beautiful old wood houses. In the afternoons my mother and I hopped on our bikes and rode to the woods or to a nearby lake. Spending time in nature in Sweden is my favorite activity: it makes me so happy and calm. Nowadays one is surrounded by so much noise everywhere and it is hard to find a place where you are only surrounded by the "noise" of nature and I appreciate this silence a lot.
On our nature outings we packed thermos flasks - one filled with coffee (for my mother) and one filled with tea (for me) - in order to keep us warm, sandwiches (our favorite is Finnish dark rye bread) with Swedish cheese hushållsost and thinly sliced pickled cucumbers and cakes or pastries from a bakery. Every day my mother and I went to a bakery or pastry store and bought cakes or pastries which we indulged in the afternoons. We ate a lot of Swedish classic pastries and one of them were chokladbollar, chocolate balls, which I have not eaten for many many years and it must more than a decade that I made these balls myself. Making these chocolate balls are very simple: all ingredients are mixed together, balls are formed and rolled in shredded coconut or pearl sugar. It is a very popular recipe among children because it is so simple and it does not require any oven.The classic chokladboll consists of oatmeal, sugar, butter, raw cacao and vanilla. I made my own version of chokladbollar by reducing the amount of sugar and replacing it with dates, maple syrup and toasted almonds which give the chocolate balls more flavor and at the same time make them a little bit healthier. The classic chocolate balls are either rolled in pearl sugar or shredded coconut. I prefer the latter one, hence my chokladbollar - in the photos - are rolled in shredded coconut.
Makes 14 to 15 chocolate balls
75 g / 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft
25 g / 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
15 g / 2 tablespoons raw unsweetened cacao
50 g / 1/4 cup dates ( I use medjool dates), pitted and chopped finely
75 g / 3/4 cup quick oats
75 g / 1/2 cup toasted almonds, chopped, *see my note below
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon strong coffee, cold
1 teaspoon maple syrup
2 - 3 tablespoons shredded coconut or pearl sugar
Using toasted almonds, instead of raw almonds, makes a big difference (in my opinion). I toast almonds as follows:
Preheat the oven to 175 °C / 350 °F.
Place almonds on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Bake almonds for 10 to 14 minutes until the almonds have a golden color.
Let almonds cool completely.
Stir butter and sugar until creamy. Add cacao powder and mix until well combined.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
Form the mixture into little balls, 2.5 cm / 1 inch in diameter. Of course you can make bigger or smaller balls if you wish.
Place the dessicated coconut on a plate and roll the balls in shredded coconut or pearl sugar.
Store the chokladbollar in an air-tight container in the fridge.