Cook this: coconut, cacao & raisin bliss balls

Let me preface this post with the following statement: I hate the term “bliss balls.” I hate the idea of only eating “clean.” I hate that there are people out there who think a protein ball or a bowl of blended frozen banana is a proper substitution for a chocolate chip cookie. I think people who refuse to eat carbs or fat or chocolate or burgers are complete lunatics. Not saying that I’ve got my shit completely together, especially when it comes to food (working in the health and fitness industry for 10 years has messed me up more than I ever thought possible and left me an anxious and disordered eater). All that said, I didn’t know what else to call these little balls, and apparently the correct term is a “bliss ball,” so that’s why we’re here.

NOW, food. I came to make these little guys because:
a) my stomach hates me and is allergic to goodness only knows what these days
b) I had some left over vanilla protein powder that has a bit of lactose in it, so it’s no longer good for use every day in my morning oats and chia puddings, so I’ve started to use it in baked good, like these cookies.
c) they’re healthy, so I can have more than one
d) they’re a great little quick nibble when I need something between getting home from work and dinner time to stop the grumbling stomach and hold me over, or after dinner with a cup of tea when I’m still a bit hungry but don’t actually need a heap more food
e) they can easily adapt to special diets – gluten free, lactose free, refined sugar free, low FODMAPS, easy!
f) they’re actually really delicious

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You’ll need (makes around 25 of them):
– 200g golden raisins
– 1 tbsp golden or maple syrup
– 2 tsp vanilla extract
– ½ cup rolled oats
– ½ cup shredded coconut, cashews, almonds, or any nuts you prefer, really
– ¼ cup vanilla protein powder
– 2 – 3 tbsp toasted cocoa nibs
– vanilla protein powder and/or cocoa powder to roll the balls in

 

And then:
1. Place the raisins in a bowl and cover with very hot (almost boiling) water. Leave them to soak for 5 minutes, then drain them and pat them dry with paper towel.

2. Put the raisins, syrup and vanilla extract into a food processor, and process until the raisins start to break down a little.

3. Add the oats, coconut and protein powder, and process until they all come together into a sticky ball.

4. Take the mixture out of the food processor and place it into a bowl with the cocoa nibs and mix together well.

5. Roll teaspoons of mixture into balls, and then roll in the protein powder/cocoa powder to coat.

6. Place the balls on a baking paper covered plate/tray and rest in the freezer for 5 – 10 minutes, then transfer to a plastic tub and keep in the fridge for up to a week (if they last that long).

 

Cook this: Vanilla, chocolate & orange cookies 

I’ve been trying to work out what exactly it is that’s been making me so sick lately; so far, we know that lactose is out, I can’t stomach large amounts of gluten too well, onions and garlic are no longer my friends, and for some bizarre reason, quinoa and beetroot have become mortal enemies! That sucks. Throughout the investigations, I’ve also discovered that I really don’t get enough protein in my diet, so I’ve started adding some protein powder to my morning oats and afternoon chia pudding (in lieu of regular yoghurt, I’m making an almond milk and berry chia pudding, which is actually amazing and a little addictive!). My beautiful baby sister recommended the Musashi SLM protein, which I loved the taste of, but was still causing my stomach problems because of the lactose in it. I switched it up to the Amazonia raw protein isolate, which isn’t as sweet and delicious, but a hell of a lot better for me; it’s got a lot more protein, a lot less sugar, and my stomach is a LOT happier with it!

Anyway, I’ve still got a bit of the Musashi stuff left, and with my Nonnas in my head (these ladies do not waste a THING), I thought I’d use it to boost some cookies I was baking – I figured that I’m always going to want a cookie to go with my cup of tea before I go to sleep because I’m a 20-something year old nanna and it’s how I roll, and if I’m going to eat a cookie anyway, I may as well get some extra protein in there! I also figured that a little bit of lactose spread out over a batch of cookies wouldn’t be too bad, and I had a win there too – happy days! They’re not too horrible for you if you’re watching yourself around the treats, coming in at around ___kJ per cookie, and they can be manipulated into whatever you want them to be, too – replace the cacao nibs and orange with cashews, sunflower seeds, caramel chips, dried berries, whatever you feel like!

 

Ingredients:
– 100g butter, softened
– 30g honey, warmed up for 10 – 15 seconds in the microwave
– 20g brown sugar
– 1 tbsp vanilla extract
– 1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
– 50g protein powder (I used the vanilla Musashi SLM)
– 100g plain flour
– finely grated rind of one orange
¼ to ½ toasted cacao nibs (depends on how many you want in there!)

Method:
This is pretty much the same as the cacao, walnut and whiskey biscuits

1. Preheat the oven to 150°C and line two oven trays with baking paper.

2. Use electric beaters to cream the butter, honey, sugar, vanilla and OJ for 5 – 6 minutes, until it’s very pale and creamy.

3. Gently fold in the flour and protein powder, then the orange rind and cacao nibs – we’re trying not to knock out too much of the airiness from the electric beaters here!

4. Roll heaped teaspoons of dough into balls, flattening them slightly as you place them on the oven trays and bake for 25 minutes, until they start to turn a light golden colour around the edges.

5. Let them cool completely on the tray – they’ll store well for around 5 days in an air-tight container.