Wednesday 18 September 2013

Paleo Protein Chocolate Bliss Balls

Yeah, yeah, everyone and their dog has their own version of these bits of heaven. I do too.

I tried a few recipes and came up with one that we really like. Mine varies slightly from the standard in that I don't add any coconut oil. I find they stick together just fine with the ingredients I use.

The upsides for cutting the coconut oil are that they are less oily at room temperature and they are lower calorie (very important when you can't resist popping just one more into your mouth). If they are too oily and you dust them with cocoa or cacao powder, the powder quickly soaks up the oil, turns to mush, and pretty much disappears.

The downside is it can take a little more work to make them stick together. Well, suck it up princess, those CrossFit hands should have no problem squeezing them into dense little balls.

Make 'em! 
What you will need: 

Food processor
Plate to roll the balls in goodies

10 medjool dates, pitted
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pecans
2 scoops of chocolate protein powder
1/4 cup almond butter
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla

Ingredients to roll balls in; whatever takes your fancy: cocoa or cacoa powder, cacao nibs, shredded, unsweetened coconut flakes. We like white chia seeds for the crunch and the contrast in colour. 

Optional: Soak dates in warm water for about 5 minutes, then drain. I find that the balls are much easier to form if you do this. 

Throw everything (except what you are going to decorate them with) in the food processor. Process until nuts have disappeared and the mixture looks like a fine crumb. It will start to stick together at this point and you will need to scrape down the sides several times as the mixture no longer falls down to the blades.

Place about 1 tablespoon of the mixture into the palm of your hand. Squish it together firmly so it holds together then roll into a ball. Place on a plate. Repeat until the mixture is all used up. Once all the mixture is in balls, roll each ball in the coating of your choice. Makes about 25 balls. Store in the fridge and preferably out of sight so they are out of mind. Otherwise - gone.

Brownie points if you use organic and soaked/dried nuts.
Use whatever combination of nuts you like the best.

Nutritional analysis: (because I needed to know how much per ball)
Calories: 100; carbs: 9.5g; protein: 4.2g, fat: 6.2g

What do you think? Got a favourite recipe? Anything you would add to make these even better?

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Easiest Mayonnaise Yet! Stick Blender Paleo Mayo

Those of you who know me know I've still been on  a quest to find an easy, infallible mayonnaise recipe. Well, achievement unlocked.

I've tried the blender method (this is how my Mum taught me to do it as a kid), the beater method (which I outlined here), and the food processor method (FAIL!). All of these are either too time consuming or too likely to refuse to become mayonnaise.

The other issue I've had is in finding the perfect combination of oils so that the mayo is healthy but also tasty. Damn Hellmamn's for their toxic, delicious tasting stuff!

Olive oil, even the light tasting stuff, was still too olive oil-y tasting. Even in smaller amounts. And let's face it, if I'm going to get all "wish-upon-a-star-y" about mayo, I want it to be creamy white coloured, not green. That also lets out avocado oil. *****UPDATE UPDATE - I found some avocado oil that wasn't green (!) so I've updated the recipe to reflect that.*****  Pure coconut oil had a weird texture and was way too solid in the fridge. Pure macadamia nut oil? Sure if you've won the lottery. Butter was just too buttery.

So, as you have probably figured out because I'm posting this, I researched and researched (and researched some more cuz that's what I do) and tinkered around until I perfected the easiest, fastest, most foolproof and most importantly, yummiest mayo recipe yet. Drum roll please...

I present to you, Stick Blender Mayonnaise!

*all ingredients should be at room temperature
1 egg yolk
1 tsp water
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
dash cayenne pepper
dash white pepper

3/4 cup avodado oil
1/4 cup macadamia nut oil

Weapons of emulsification:
Stick blender
Small jar that is just bigger in diameter than the stick blender head (I use a jar that once held 500 mls/2 cups of almond butter) 

*All ingredients should be at room temperature.
Add first 8 ingredients to jar (everything except the oils).
Pour oils gently on top. Allow previously added ingredients to settle back to the bottom (if disturbed) and the oils to rise to the top.
Gently insert the stick blender into the jar all the way to the bottom. Stick blender is OFF while doing this. 
Allow ingredients to settle once again if they have been stirred up.
Holding blender on the bottom of the jar, turn it on. You should see mayonnaise happening around the blender head almost immediately.
Keeping the blender head at the bottom of the jar, let it rip for about 10 seconds, then slowly pull the blender head up the jar to incorporate the rest of the oils.

That's it!

If it made mayonnaise (of course it did, it's foolproof) I find the mayo at this point is pretty forgiving. If there is any oil on top or spices on the bottom that didn't get incorporated, take a spoon and mix them in. Then take the stick blender to it one more time for a few seconds to get it all nice and blendy.

Throw a date on the jar, put it in the fridge and enjoy! Makes just over 1 cup. (I know the mayo looks yellow in this picture but that's just the lighting. It really does look like the first picture in the blog. I'll get a better picture soon.)

If you don't yet have a stick blender in your culinary arsenal then you should definitely get one. Even if it were only useful for making mayo the minimal investment would be so worth it. But you will find yourself grabbing it for so many things. Check them out on Amazon. Oooh, shiny!

NOTES: Ive made this mayo now maybe about 50 times and it has refused to emulsify on me twice. I rescued one batch easily by just starting over with the egg/lemon juice/water parts and then adding the non-emulsified mayo back in as the oil portion.

The other batch stubbornly refused to become mayo even after 3 yolks. I eventually admitted defeat and bunged it in the fridge overnight. The next day I tried again and this time I won the battle of wills. Mayo was mine! Four egg yolk mayo but oh well, delicious!

More details here on how to rescue broken mayonnaise. Substitute stick blender for beater.

We make this may with double the amount of lemon juice because that's how my family likes it.  If you aren't sure about the level of tang, start with the posted 1 tablespoon instead. You can always add more later on. 

Also, you can make this will 100% avocado oil, still tastes delish!

Got a favourite mayo recipe? First try? Let me know how it goes!