I adore anything hazelnut and chocolate. It's one of those dreamy flavour combinations, a match made in foodie heaven. So Ferrero Rochers are right up my ally, as were those Nutella smothered white bread sandwiches I devoured in my youth. Oh Nutella, what a tasty spread. The neat thing is with a little creativity you can recreate healthier versions of your favourite treats, a case in point being these homemade Ferrero Rochers.
If you haven't tried Ferrero Rochers before, they're a delicous sperhical chocolate originating from Italy, consisting of a inner hazelnut, surrounded by combination of chocolate, wafer and Nutella (yes, they're made by the same company that makes Nutella!), and an outer chocolate shell thats been rolled in chopped hazelnuts. They're fabulous, but do sit in the treat pile (try stopping at just one...).
This version is my healthier take on them, and in all honesty, they're really good! I stuck with the inner hazelnut, made the surrounding centre using a few superstar ingredients to mimic the flavours of the traditional version - hazelnuts, cacao powder, oats and medjool dates, and finished them with a melted dark chocolate shell and chunky hazelnut meal - so they look like Ferrero Rochers too.
From a nutritional point of view, the hazelnuts are a wonderful source of monounsaturated fatty acids, dietary fiber for healthy bowels, and the antioxidant vitamin E. The almond meal, which helps make up the base in these, is another great source of vitamin E and the bone-loving mineral calcium. To sweeten these up I've opted for medjool dates - they have a beautiful caramel flavour, and are a good source of fiber and the minerals potassium and copper, both of which play important roles in heart health.
8 medjool dates
2/3 cup almond meal
1/3 cup cacao/cocoa powder
1/3 cup hazelnuts + 12 whole hazelnuts
1/3 cup oats
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp of water
Outer shell - optional but great
100g melted dark chocolate
1 cup hazelnuts
1. Add all of the ingredients of the hazelnut truffle into a food processer, except the 12 whole hazelnuts. Blend together together for around two minutes - the mixture should look grainy, but stick when pressed together
2. Take tablespoons of the mixture and roll into smooth balls with your hands. Insert a whole hazelnut into the middle, and roll the ball a few times again to smooth over the surface where you inserted the hazelnut. You should end up with around 12 balls. You can stop here and enjoy these as bliss balls! Otherwise continue reading...
3. To make hazelnut meal for the outer coating simply pulse the whole hazelnuts in a food processor/blender until a fine consistency is reached. Try not to over pulse - a chunkier meal is better then a ground one.
4. Melt down some good quality 85% (or higher) dark chocolate. Using two teaspoons dip each ball in the melted chocolate until the entire surface is covered.
4. Using two teaspoons again, roll the chocolate-covered truffle in the hazelnut meal. The truffle will now be in-cased in a chocolate hazelnut shell. Pop the finished balls on baking paper then place in the fridge to harden up.
5. Enjoy! Keep these in the fridge/freezer.