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


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Place hazelnuts on sheet tray and roast until fragrant and the skin begins to peel off, around 5-10 min.
  3. Meanwhile, soak the dates in hot water to soften (around 10 min).
  4. Remove peel from hazelnuts by placing them in a clean dish towel and rubbing them.
  5. In food processor, add half the hazelnuts and process until very fine, bordering on hazelnut butter.
  6. Add cacao powder, salt and pulse to distribute.
  7. Add remaining hazelnuts and pulse until coarsely chopped to desired texture.
  8. Add dates and pulse until forms a dough.
  9. Taste and sweeten to preferred flavour.
  10. Refrigerate for 30 min.
  11. Form balls.
  12. Enjoy!

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.


Bacio Balls Nutrition Label

Nutrition label calculated using MyFitnessPal

References :

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


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