If you’re a Ferrero Rocher fan like me, we both know how easy it is to demolish half the box in one sitting. Whilst there’s a time and place for the real deal and restriction should not be encouraged by anyone (!) – I am always experimenting in attempt to make more sustainable, healthy treats that don’t compromise taste, and I think these hit the spot!
With a crunchy chocolate hazelnut shell, a moist nutty filling and of course the hazelnut in the centre these dairy-free, refined sugar-free treats are bite-sized balls of bliss – in every way!
I made about 25 of these “Ferrero” bites, but my limiting factor was that I ran out of hazelnuts & of course the final quantity depends on the size you make each ball! More ground hazelnuts can be used, however I tried to stick to this quantity as nuts are expensive – but add more if you love a hazelnut kick!
- 2 cups dates
- 1.25 cups ground roasted hazelnuts
- 1.25 cups roughly chopped roasted hazelnuts
- ~1/2 cup whole roasted hazelnuts
- 1.5 cups ground almonds
- 4 tablespoons of cocoa (or, if you want to add cacao powder, substitute one tablespoon of cocoa for one tablespoon cacao)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 125g of chocolate (I used half a block Whittaker’s dark Ghana)
- ~1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Optional: natural sweetener such as maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar etc.
Chop the dates into small pieces using scissors and add to a bowl. Add boiling water, fill until all the dates are just submerged. Leave them to soak for at least 10 minutes.
If you are using whole roasted hazelnuts, place just over 1 cup (I used 1.25 cups to be exact!) in a food processor and blend until you make a fine crumb. Do the same with roasted almonds to make 1.5 cups if these aren’t already ground.
Empty these ground nuts into a bowl.
Using another 1.25 cup of roasted hazelnuts, blend in the food processor but stop before they are too fine – these will be the crunchy pieces on the outside! Set aside.
Add the finely ground almonds and hazelnuts back into the food processor and add the cocoa or cocoa-cacao combination. Next add the salt and ensure all the dry ingredients are evenly mixed.
Add the dates and the water they are soaking in into the processor and blend into the dry ingredients until few or no date chunks remain.
Add the vanilla essence.
If desired, 1/4 cup of maple syrup (or alternative sweetener) can be added to sweeten the mixture – but usually I find I don’t need to add this much as the dates are so sweet themselves!
Once the mixture is well blended and smooth, set aside.
Melt the chocolate with 1 tablespoons of coconut oil in the microwave or on the stove, being careful not to burn it!
With the bowl of roughly chopped hazelnuts and the other with melted chocolate next to each other, roll small balls of the date-nut mixture in your hands – adding a whole hazelnut into the centre – then pass through the molten chocolate and finally roll into the ground nuts.
This is a messy but delicious process and the final product is well worth it! Rub coconut oil into your hands if the mixture is very moist and sticks to you!