Coco Cacao Balls!
When I was eighteen years old, living in a white adobe house in Southern New Mexico, I was obsessed with raw desserts (in other words: with art). We had a farmer’s co-op right down the street, and I would walk over every morning to pick out fresh fruits, veggies and raw nuts. I had a popular little food blog that I would update religiously, with a new experiment every night. I had roommates and classmates and yoga students as my taste-testers, and no one objected to free treats in class!
I haven’t made many raw desserts since. I lived in New Mexico for a full four months, the longest chunk of time I’ve spent anywhere since moving to Philadelphia. It was my first little kitchen, and, though temporary, a haven of creative energy for me. Making these little balls made me reflect on those days, and the delightful similarities of then and now. I was on university exchange at the time — studying art, film photography, theatre and dance; teaching yoga in the desert; blogging like crazy. It was a joyous time of creative expression and self-discovery. I wistfully dreamt about becoming a real artist. Maybe I could really do this all my life? But, after that semester, I returned to my medical studies (in between travelling for yoga) and put those thoughts aside…
I’ve been hungering since then for raw, physical making. The shaping and sculpting of wild messy materials, of the desires coiled up in my heart. As I ground and shaped these balls, I felt a very primal, childlike joy re-kindle in me. My inner artist is alive, and she is stronger and wiser than ever.
I hand-ground all my nuts in the tiniest mortar and pestle (🙄), so this took me waaaay longer than it really needs to take – BUT, now I know it’s possible without a food processor! lol! This dessert literally came out of blood, sweat and tears (I was crushing the nuts so hard that I banged my finger on the mortar and pestle and started to bleed, which made me cry…) but really, this is one of the simplest and most classic raw desserts that you’ll find on pretty much every raw foodie’s blog.
I love these balls because you really can’t go wrong – I’ve never made the same ones twice, and it’s a constant ongoing experiment of whatever’s in my cupboard. All you need is something sweet and sticky (dates, honey, etc) – and something rich and filling (I love pecans + macadamia nuts best!)
THE SIMPLEST INGREDIENTS
- 1:1 ratio of dates to nuts. Seriously. So easy.
- Whatever fun spices and additions you’d like!
WHAT I USED
(measurements totally approximate – most of it was mix and lick and taste and see!
- 8 fresh Medjool dates
- 1/4 cup pecans
- 1/4 cup macadamia nuts
- 1/4 cup shredded coconuts + more for decor
- 3 tbsp cacao powder
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- glob of local honey from the hood
- gogi berries
- Grind all nuts in a food processor (or, if you’re still living in ancient times like me, crush ’em by hand!)
- Un-pit (de-pit?) dates and chop in food processor (or use a knife and cut them into teeny weeny pieces)
- Toss all ingredients in a large bowl and mix ‘er up!! (I love the feeling of squishing dough between my fingers, but you do you.)
- Once fully mixed, shape chunks of the big globby ball into cute little balls.
- Dip in shredded coconut (optional) because it’s pretty.
- Add gogi berry hearts! (totally not optional)
- Feed to someone you love! (most definitely not optional)
Enjoy, beloveds!! And a challenge for you: if you’re not already in the practice of artist’s dates, set aside one hour this week to do something purely creative, all by yourself. Cooking, painting, dancing, whatever – heck, it can be taking a walk in nature and creating a collage of sticks you find! May your heart be nourished and happy and full. Loving you always! ♥