Sometimes you just don't feel like chocolate. Kidding. But sometimes you feel like you need to break your ties with the highly addictive, soul-warming stuff. Healthy treats with a base of cacao sit well with most people as chocolate is a comfortable flavour that is highly popular. I bet we are all guilty of chowing down on one too many Caramello Koalas or Freddo Frogs as young ones and having healthy treats that can partly take us back there means mentally, our cravings are much more satisfied.
The mental craving is just as important to consider as the physical craving when you're trying to change your habits. The mental craving may be the one that sabotages all your efforts. If you were always given a tub of ice cream after dinner when you were growing up then disassociating yourself from that nightly ritual can be hard because maintaing the ritual takes you back to those days, days you may not want to let go of just yet. The good news? You don't have to let go of it entirely. If you love your treats ritual then go for it, have your treats but make sure they are of two criteria: 1. Craving worthy - these treats need to be so good you think about them more than you think about chocolate or ice cream 2. Nutritionally sound - whilst they satisfy your craving, they also need to satisfy your body's nutrient needs.
That is how these balls came to life. With a summer craving for my mum's lemon tart, something had to happen before the craving took me out and shoved a lemon pie down my throat. Lemony deliciousness, much like chocolate, is a familiar flavour whether you liked it in the form of lemon slice, lemon meringue pie or the old-fashioned lemon tart. If you love it, you crave it. These lemon and coconut raw balls take you to that place where you are putting your fork into that piece of pie. However, unlike pie, they take you there in confidence that you will get to eat another one tomorrow. Oh hell, you can even eat one daily and you'll be nothing but commended on your efforts to up your nutrient intake and be a smart-snacker. No guilt, no hard-feelings, just 'yum'.
Now let's talk about the nutrition of these balls. Healthy fats sing strong in this recipe. This means they are good as a 3pm snack as they will curb sugar-cravings and sustain your energy until dinner. These balls are also a good addition to iron-requiring diets. Cashews are a good source of iron and by eating one of these balls you will be contributing around 10% of the iron your body needs per day. The smartest part is that the lemon provides vitamin C- the vital nutrient needed to enhance iron absorption. Food is smart.
So if you're breaking up with chocolate, love lemon flavoured desserts, get a 3pm hankering or need some more iron in your life then give this recipe a go. I promise you will not be disappointed.
makes 10 balls
1.5 cups cashews (or macadamias)
1.5 cup desiccated coconut
1-2 lemons, zested and juiced
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil, soft but not melted
1 tsp vanilla essence
A pinch of rock salt
- Add the cashews to your food processor and quickly blitz them up until they are closer to the texture of tiny rocks.
- Add the remainder of the ingredients and blitz until the dough has come together. Do not over mix as the cashews will turn into butter.
- Roll your mixture into balls and coat in more desiccated coconut (coating optional).
- Place the balls in an airtight container and put them in the fridge to set for 2 hours to overnight.
- Store them for up to 5 days (if they last that long).
- If you really like lemon and want to bring out the flavour more, add 2 lemons. You may need to add a bit more coconut to counterbalance the extra juice but that's as easy as sprinkle in more until the mixture comes together and holds.
- If you over mix your dough add more coconut and place the mix in the fridge for 10 minutes or so to harden it up. Once it is able to be handled, get rolling.