It’s that time of year. You know it, I know it, we all know it. I’m not even going to start on how busy we all are – you haven’t got time to read about it.

So what kind of cray cray person would suggest that you chop up dried berries and roll them into teeny tiny balls – all in the name of making these mini Christmas Pudding Bliss Balls look adorable?

Me, that person would be me. That’s how I roll (terrible unintentional pun, sorry!).

This recipe was published in my monthly food column in the Otago Daily Times last weekend. If I had a dollar for every person who’s stopped me in the street to comment on it, well let’s just say I’d be flying business class these holidays. So here it is for non ODT-reading folks, and if a printable version would make your day – well lookie here!

Christmas bliss balls 3

Christmas Pudding Bliss Balls

These are particularly cute and make a wonderful gift, but they require a little TLC to make. I’ll be honest – they’re fiddly. Don’t start making them late on Christmas Eve unless you’re prepared to still be covered in white chocolate when reindeer hooves thunder across your roof. For the purposes of these photos, I chopped each goji berry in three and rolled the pieces into teeny tiny balls in an attempt to imitate berries; I’m the first to admit that this is probably taking things a step too far.

These aren’t 100% plant-based because of the white chocolate – but if you wanted to make them raw and dairy-free, you could top with a small amount of cashew cream.

Ingredients

Bliss balls

1 cup raw almonds

1 cup mixed dried fruit, chopped (e.g., apricots, raisins, currants, cranberries)

1 heaped tablespoon candied citrus peel

1½ teaspoons mixed spice

½ orange, juiced

1½ tablespoons brandy or drambuie (optional)

½ cup shredded coconut

½ cup cacao or cocoa powder

½ cup fresh dates, pitted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Icing and garnish

100g white chocolate

Dash of turmeric

¼ cup pumpkin seeds

2 tablespoons cranberries or goji berries, chopped

 

Instructions

Bliss balls

Soak the almonds in cold water overnight; drain and rinse well, discarding soaking water.

Combine the dried fruit mix, candied peel and mixed spice in a bowl with the orange juice and brandy/drambuie (if using); leave to soak overnight.

Pulse drained nuts and coconut in a food processor and grind into a coarse powder. Add marinated dried fruit mixture, cacao/cocoa powder, dates and vanilla. Process until mixture resembles fine biscuit crumbs and holds together when pressed.

With damp hands, roll mixture into truffle-sized balls. Place on a tray lined with baking paper, pressing down a little so that the bases flatten slightly. Leave in fridge for at least an hour to set.

 

Icing and garnish

Melt white chocolate in a bowl over hot water. Add a dash of turmeric – enough to change the colour but not the flavour. Remove bliss balls from fridge and spread a small amount of chocolate on the top of each ball. Decorate each one with a few pumpkin seeds and a couple of berry pieces.

Makes: 20 – 30. Store in fridge.

ENJOY! These are edible treats to share. And if you’d like more morsels of beautiful deliciousness, then check out the brand new Nibl recipe ebook – Feeling Peckish – hot off the digital press!

 

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