Chocolate Hazelnut Balls

Chocolate’s best friend: the hazelnut. I mean seriously, it’s a match made in heaven. My childhood favorite chocolate: the almighty Ferrero Rocher. Every Christmas I would get one of those giant Ferrero Rocher towers. As time went on and my lactose-intolerance kicked in and the annual tower was no longer. These little guys fulfill my needs with no tummy issues.

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I definitely made these with the intention of having them for dessert. However, I couldn’t stop eating them as snacks. Were there other, more logical things I could snack on to preserve these balls? Yes. But they just seemed like the better choice at the time. They aren’t overly sweet, so you don’t get that nasty sugar rush after eating a couple.

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I ran out of hazelnuts, so I coated some in shredded coconut. Not as good as the crunchy hazelnut coating, but still delicious.

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The perfect bite. The dates add a caramel-like subtle sweetness. The hazelnuts are so wonderfully nutty and rich. Ahhh the power of chocolate + hazelnuts. These are my all-time favorite balls.

Ingredients: (these are approximations) makes about 15 balls

1 cup roasted hazelnuts, +1/4 cup reserved for coating
6 medjool dates, soaked in hot water for 5-10 minutes
2-3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp almond milk (if needed)

Chocolate coating:
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa poweder
1-2 tsp maple syrup to taste
* this makes a very thin chocolate coating which I prefer. If you want it thicker, add in some melted chocolate chips.

Directions:
1. Pulse the hazelnuts in the food processor until fine crumbs are formed. Set some aside to roll the balls in. Add in the dates and process until combined.
2. Add in the vanilla extract and cocoa powder and process again until combined. Now taste the mixture so you can adjust if you want it sweeter or more chocolatey. Now, try and form little balls — if it’s too dry then add in some almond milk (water would probably work to) until they are easily formed.
3. Mix together the ingredients for the chocolate coating. Roll each ball in the chocolate and then into the ground hazelnuts. Repeat with each ball. Place balls in the freezer to set the chocolate. I stored them in the freezer in an airtight container. These lasted a day at my house…yeah they’re that good.

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