Thursday, May 10, 2012

Raw Vegan Chocolate Balls- Gluten Free, Sugar Free

A few months ago I went to my first homeschooling get together (and have since been to another terrific one as well, this one hosted by a traditional foodie!) and met some really sweet people, concerned about health. But, although there was food provided in pot luck style, and though the dishes were all made with health, my view of healthy foods and their view of healthy foods in many ways differed tremendously- everything was vegan and full of soy, and on top of that, my gluten sensitivity made me unable to eat anything...
...Everything, that is, but these raw vegan carob flavored balls that this one lady made, which were sugar free and gluten free, which I then noshed on the whole time there.
I asked her what was in her balls, and after hearing "dehydrated, sprouted buckwheat, dates, and carob", I tried to get her contact info, so I could get the full recipe at a later date, but somehow lost that contact information and my chance of getting that recipe in full. I tried googling to find such a recipe, but to no avail, so this is what I came up with myself.
I switched the carob to cocoa powder, since its cheaper, and because I'm not in the camp that believes that cocoa is bad for you- in fact, I've read in many different places about the health benefits in cocoa powder, but if you cut out cocoa, feel free to use carob powder in its place. I'm not a "raw foodie" so don't particularly care if my cocoa is raw or not (not to mention cost), but if you want this recipe to be truly raw, use raw cacao powder in place of the cocoa powder.
I also used sprouted buckwheat in this recipe, but if you're able to handle oats, you can use oats in their place.
This recipe results in yummy chocolate flavored balls free of chemicals, gluten, sugar, and animal products, making these a recipe, like larabars, that are a hit no matter the crowd (unless you're grain free, and even then, buckwheat isn't a grain, but a pseudograin, related to rhubarb and sorrel).
One note- there's a good chance your hands will get really, really dirty when you make these, but it's worth it anyhow!

Raw Vegan Chocolate Balls- Gluten Free, Sugar Free

1 3/4 cups sprouted dehydrated buckwheat (sprouting instructions below) or equivalent amount rolled/steel cut oats
13 3/4 oz (390 grams) date paste or pitted dates
1/4-1/2 cup cocoa powder

1. If you're using buckwheat for this recipe, soak raw (green) buckwheat in water for 20-30 minutes, then wash the buckwheat really well. The water will be very starchy, you'll need to wash it at least 3 or 4 times.

2. Set the buckwheat on the counter in a bowl, and every 12 hours, rinse the buckwheat well, and put back in the bowl. Eventually you'll start seeing little sprouts on the buckwheat.

3. Put the sprouted buckwheat in the dehydrator (here's how to build your own homemade dehydrator cheaply) until hard, or dehydrate in your oven by putting it on the lowest setting with your oven door propped open, until the buckwheat is crunchy.

4. If using oats, skip steps one three. Put your oats/dehydrated sprouted buckwheat in your food processor/coffee grinder, and process until you get small pieces. You want it predominantly pieces the size of bread crumbs or smaller.

5. If using date paste, put the package of date paste in a bowl of hot water to soften a bit before using. If using fresh dates, remove pits, and microwave for a few seconds to soften them, then process into a paste. (Without a microwave soak the dates in boiling water to soften, but this will make your dates wetter, so you may need to add more of the other ingredients to compensate.) 

6. Knead the buckwheat/oat powder and cocoa/carob powder into the date paste, a little at a time, until it is all incorporated into one mass.

7. Take marble sized bunches of dough and roll it into a little ball. 

8. Roll the balls into some cocoa/carob powder so the outside is coated with the powder. This makes them stop being sticky so they don't stick to each other.

Enjoy these little chocolate balls, guilt free, knowing that its made out of all natural, healthy ingredients.

Have you ever sprouted things before? Have you sprouted buckwheat ever? How did you use your sprouted buckwheat?
Does this seem like a recipe you'd try out? If so, would you be more likely to make it with buckwheat or with oats?
Do you avoid cocoa powder and use carob in its place? How do you feel about the whole cocoa/carob debate?

Linking up to Frugal Days Sustainable WaysAllergy Free Wednesday

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