Paleo Choc-Chip Cookie Balls
Delicious, Crisp, Crunchy... Little Chocolate Bursts...
Hands up who's done a bit of over indulging the last few weeks during the holiday season? (Mine is raised...)
If you're anything like us, you need a healthy alternative to get back on track after a (semi) controlled binge, such as over Christmas. I actually made these chocolate chip cookie balls for Christmas but they are so good I just had to make them again; albeit a bit healthier version this time; to help us recover from the sugar addiction that the festive season can reignite.
I made them with organic unrefined cane sugar and milk chocolate chips for Christmas, but this time I made them with honey and dark chocolate chips instead and I preferred them to the first batch. Unfortunately I did not take great photos (we were in a rush to get to the in-law's for Christmas) and I didn't do a chocolate drizzle on the current batch, so I'm using the Christmas pics. Ho hum...one of my resolutions is to learn to use my camera more effectively and take better photos :-)
We are normally a family of snackers, so it's important to have healthy alternatives around, especially during a time when familial and friendly peer-pressure can get pretty high. But the standard options of fruit, nuts, plaintain crisps and sometimes little cupcakes aren't quite enough at times like this. We need hardcore paleo snacks to help forget the taste of the not-even-remotely-paleo-but-at-least-grain-free cheesecakes, triple chocolate mousses, potato crisps, ice cream, chocolates and alcohol that saturated our Christmas-and-New-Year period!
These little cookie balls are crisp and crunchy, delicately sweet, nutty and the little bursts of chocolate throughout create a very un-paleo taste experience. On the auto-immune paleo diet these are not allowed, and I don't think you can quite recreate the kind of texture without the ground almonds. But once you have re-introduced almonds, you can certainly make them without the chocolate chips!
But seriously, who can resist something as gorgeous as a CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE BALL?!?! Especially when delicately sat in a tiny pink petit four case... sigh... And I do believe that a little bit of what you fancy does you good. Unless you're a big time sugar addict or in the very early stages of the auto-immune protocol, in which case I completely retract that statement. But honestly, even my husband who doesn't care much for paleo alternatives to most things (to him it's the real deal or nothing... I hang my head in despair) agreed that they were pretty good. Result!
These are a saving grace when the kids are begging for more sweets and I've ditched the last of it.
So without further ado, here they are!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Balls
Egg free, grain free, refined sugar free and can be
Combine the following dry ingredients in a bowl:
150g ground almonds (or other ground nuts of your choice)
1/2 cup arrowroot flour
1 tbs gelatine
3 tbs coconut flour
1 tsp each of cinnamon and allspice (optional - gives a Christmassy taste, especially if you use orange extract instead of the vanilla. Cinnamon is also very good at regulating blood sugar)
Melt 130mls of butter, ghee or coconut oil slowly over a low heat and stir in 1/4cup of honey or 1/3 cup maple syrup till thoroughly combined.
Add 1tsp of vanilla or orange extract
Mix butter/honey mixture into the dry ingredients until well combined and then add 100g of the very best dark chocolate chips you can get your hands on. If nothing else I try to get fairly traded varieties. (Yes that is milk chocolate chips in the picture, these photos were taken when I made the first batch at Christmas...)
Carefully compress small palmfuls and roll into little balls before placing into petit four cases on a cookie sheet or, if you don't have cases, just place onto a wax paper-lined cookie sheet. They do not spread out or change shape in any way so you can pack them quite closely together, as long as they have about a centimetre between them to allow even cooking.
Bake at 180C (or 160C in a fan oven) for about 10-15 mins, checking often after about 8 minutes as they brown quickly once they start to. When they are just golden on top remove from the oven and cool on the tray. At this point they become fair game to any passers by so be careful to keep them somewhere out of sight until you're ready to drizzle some more dark chocolate onnatop, which I highly recommend. I'm not a bad influence... your arm is just flexible :-)
Give these babies a whirl and you won't be sorry. And if you find a way to make them better, let us know! Experimentation is the spice of life... Please share these around for other paleo folk to enjoy!