With Valentine’s day around the corner, and a waistline to maintain (New Years resolutions, hey?), what better way to indulge then having this healthy treat?
Reminiscing on my travels in Italy, one gelato flavour always stuck with me: bacio. The Italian word translate directly to kiss. Technically, it’s their equivalent of a Hershey Kiss, though with a rich chocolate hazelnut flavour (like gianduja but with crunch).
Additionally, nuts are great sources of MUFAs and PUFAs and low in saturated fat. Indeed a review and meta-analysis conducted in 2015, associated tree nut consumption with decreased BP, potentially lowing the risk of CVD. Additionally, another review and meta-analysis conducted in 2015, associated tree nut consumption with decreased total cholesterol, LDL-C, ApoB and triglycerides. Finally, a 2016 meta-analysis associated a hazelnut-enriched diet with decrease LDL-C, with sustained HDL-C levels. So all the more reasons to enjoy these hazelnut power balls!
Ingredients (Makes 36 small balls):
- 1 1/2 cup hazelnuts
- 1/2 cup dates
- 1/4 cup cacao powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Sweetener of choice, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Place hazelnuts on sheet tray and roast until fragrant and the skin begins to peel off, around 5-10 min.
- Meanwhile, soak the dates in hot water to soften (around 10 min).
- Remove peel from hazelnuts by placing them in a clean dish towel and rubbing them.
- In food processor, add half the hazelnuts and process until very fine, bordering on hazelnut butter.
- Add cacao powder, salt and pulse to distribute.
- Add remaining hazelnuts and pulse until coarsely chopped to desired texture.
- Add dates and pulse until forms a dough.
- Taste and sweeten to preferred flavour.
- Refrigerate for 30 min.
- Form balls.
Store in airtight container and keep refrigerated up to a week. If the batch is too large for your liking, the treats can be stored in freezer up to 3 months.
Nutrition label calculated using MyFitnessPal
Del Gobbo, L. C., Falk, M. C., et al. (2015). Effects of tree nuts on blood lipids, apolipoproteins, and blood pressure: systematic review, meta-analysis, and dose-response of 61 controlled intervention trials. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 102(6), 1347–1356. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.115.110965
Mohammadifard, N., Salehi-Abargouei, et al. (2015). The effect of tree nut, peanut, and soy nut consumption on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 101(5), 966–982. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.114.091595
Perna, S., Giacosa, A., et al. (2016). Effects of Hazelnut Consumption on Blood Lipids and Body Weight: A Systematic Review and Bayesian Meta-Analysis. Nutrients, 8(12), 747. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8120747