Dreamy chocolatey Ferrero Rocher inspired protein bliss balls that are vegan, gluten free, dairy free, a source of protein, and packed full of nutrition with my favourite organic superfood – cacao powder. I’ve even included 5 little known benefits of cacao powder! These Choc Hazelnut Protein Bliss Balls are perfect for a healthy on-the-go treat, lunchbox or office snacks, and Easter gifts.
Since returning from 2 months travelling through the USA and Cuba with my partner Flynn, I’ve hit the ground running with catching up on work (I’m currently organising our biggest foodie event of the year!), spending time developing and shooting new recipes that I’ve loved sharing with you, and of course catching up with friends and family that I missed whilst we were away.
Just as a little back story for those who don’t know, I started a new career late last year as Public Relations & Events Coordinator for Cobram Estate who are Australia’s number 1 and highest quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I was super excited to jump on board with this incredible team as they are so passionate about evidence based health and nutrition education. I’m currently organising our super exciting annual Olive Harvest event (read about it and the health benefits of EVOO here), as last year before I began working for Cobram Estate I was invited as a food/nutrition blogger and fell in LOVE with the companies philosophies and values.
Anyway, back to the bliss balls! These have been my life saver recently as I’ve been flat out and had not much time to eat or prepare meals, and needing quick on the go snack options. Also I’m just someone who needs to eat regularly… or should I say likes to eat… either way I’m not much fun hangry! Want to know why I love chocolate?
5 Little Known Benefits of Cacao Powder
- One of the highest plant-based sources of magnesium, the most deficient mineral in the Western world. Magnesium helps boost energy but helping to turn glucose into energy, combating fatigue.
- 20x more antioxidants than blueberries. Antioxidants absorb free radicals that can cause damage to our tissues, potentially leading to diseases.
- Mood boosting! Cacao boosts levels of bliss chemicals, serotonin, tryptophan, and phenylethylamine which triggers the release of endorphins.
- The highest plant-based source of iron with 7.3g per 100g. Note this is non-heme iron (heme iron found in animal meats is better absorbed by our body), however if you eat non-heme iron foods with foods containing vitamin C, you significantly boost the absorption rate of iron. High Vitamin C foods include strawberries, kiwi fruit, raspberries, oranges, red bell peppers, and broccoli (raw, as heating destroys vitamin C).
- May help protect against heart disease and improve circulation. Cacao contains an abundance of antioxidants including anti-inflammatory flavanols as well as polyphenols which help reduce ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol.
Choc Hazelnut Protein Bliss Balls
These Choc Hazelnut Protein Bliss Balls are super quick to make using only a few natural ingredients. Feel free to skip the protein powder if you don’t have any, I’ve tested both and it works with or without. I just like to bump up the protein in my snacks. I’ve also tested these with my fussy work crew and they were given the thumbs up! And even a comment of “these are next level”. What a compliment!
Time for you to dive in and make these next level protein bliss balls…
Enjoy! ♥ Tris
Choc Hazelnut Protein Bliss Balls (vg/gf)
- 1 cup dates, soaked in hot water for 5 mins then drained
- 2/3 cup hazelnuts, plus extra 10 whole hazelnuts for the center of each ball, and more for rolling (optional)
- 1/4 cup cacao powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch sea salt
- optional – 1 scoop (2 heaped tbls) vegan protein powder (I use PranaOn) + 2-3 tbls water
- 50g dark chocolate + 1 heaped tsp coconut oil, melted together
- crushed/chopped hazelnuts, for rolling in
- Add all ingredients into a food processor. Blitz for a couple of minutes until well combined. Mixture will form a dough and stick together.
- Roll into Ferrero Rocher sized balls, sticking a whole hazelnut into the center of each ball.
- If making the coating, freeze balls for 5 minutes while preparing the chocolate. If not, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- To make the coating, melt chocolate and coconut oil in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Roll each ball in the chocolate then through the crushed nuts. Refrigerate to set.