Nut and Chia Cocao Balls
Nut and Chia Cocao Balls
Being a parent of teenage children can only be described as a rollercoaster of an emotional ride. I’m not sure I have ever experienced such an array of feelings in any one week, perhaps any one day or hour, at an earlier time of my life. This week I took my only son to start at Bristol University. Living in a house with two teenage sisters he has seen a lot of goings on in recent years and has coped admirably. He has been a constant, charming, unfailingly humorous presence. Not that he has been a saint, I hasten to add, far from it. It’s just that his easy going approach to life has been a welcome port in a teenage storm. I’m missing him dreadfully and in order to distract myself I have taken to the kitchen. And French lessons, but more of that another time.
So, here is a recipe for a handy little snack. Chia seeds are packed full of protein and omega 3 fats, ditto nuts which also contain magnesium which as we all know is better known as nature’s tranquilizer. If you’re doing a lot of sport, or you’re stressed, or worse still both, make sure you are getting enough magnesium. I’ve used both cocoa and raw cocao (no, I don’t know why the spelling is different, but trust me it is) in this recipe and the taste is pretty much identical. If you need it be sweeter you could add a squirt of agave syrup, brown rice syrup or date syrup but if you’re trying to tame that sweet tooth I’d urge you not to.
For those who are interested raw cocao contains less than 1% sugar and is highly nutritious. It’s high in reservatrol, an antioxidant, which you may recall is also found in red wine. It’s neuroprotective, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, lowers blood pressure and blood sugar levels. And get this, prevents weight gain.
1/2 cup cashews
1 cup dates (I think Medjool best but it works with others)
2tbsp chia seeds
3 tbsp cocao powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
A little extra cocao powder for rolling
You want to give yourself a little extra time as I find it’s best to soak the nuts before starting the recipe. So, measure the almonds and cashews and put them together in a bowl, cover with water and leave for a 3 – 4 hours. Not only will this activate the nuts, but it will cause them to swell and become slightly stickier which is helpful in this recipe. Activating nuts in this way increases their nutrient value and helps break down the compounds that makes them difficult to digest.
Once soaked, rinse the nuts well, put in a food processor and blitz until they are nicely ground – they don’t have to be a paste/powder but you don’t want them chunky. Now add the remaining ingredients and process until the mixture starts to form a sticky paste. Once it’s reached this stage stop the machine and taking a tablespoon or so at a time, in your hands, roll out each ball. A decent gobstopper size is about what I’m thinking of. You can dust them immediately with some cocao powder or chill them for a bit and do it then. I tend to keep them in the fridge, and you should too, particularly if you have a warm kitchen, or (stop the press) it’s a warm day.