Chocolate Balls Recipe or the Poor Man's Chocolate Truffle -- From Repurposed Chocolate Cake Crumbs

I hate food waste. And it's a big problem around my house, because there's a lot of food that I make for my family that I can't eat, and if they don't want to eat the food, I sometimes end up throwing it out if I don't figure out a clever way to repurpose it.
I had this chocolate cake that I made a while ago and unfortunately when I made it, I made a triple batch and I overcooked it somewhat, so that it ended up being too dry and crumbly. My kids ate it, but it ended up making a big mess, and a lot got left over. And it just sat out. I was loathe to throw it out especially as there was so much of it, but no one wanted to eat it either.
So it just sat there.
And I tried to figure out what to do with them, to think of a clever way to repurpose it.
Some people suggested using it as a topping for ice cream or as a way to decorate a frosted cake. Another suggestion was trifle. Other people suggested mixing it with heavy cream and make an oreo pie.
But the simplest idea, the one that I knew I'd go with, was chocolate balls. Also sometimes referred to as the "poor man's truffles".
How do you do it?


You take your chocolate cake or other left over cake or cookies, and you crumble them up small. Yes, this even works with stale cake or cookies.
Depending on what type of cake or cookies you have, you can add cocoa powder and/or sugar to it, or you can leave them out if you are working with a chocolate cake that is already chocolatey enough or sweet enough. How much of those do you add? To taste! It's all up to you, there's no right or wrong answer here. Of course you can even leave out the cocoa, and make balls from whatever other flavor your cake or cookies were. They just wouldn't be chocolate balls then. They'd be vanilla balls or cinnamon balls or whatever else you want to call them.

You then add a liquid, a little bit at a time, to moisten it, kneading it all the while.
You can add just plain water. I decided to add diluted apple juice. Chocolate liquer or rum are other options. I was told by a friend that a little peanut butter also works.

You add enough liquid so that when you mix it in, you get a nice workable dough texture. Depending on how dried out your cake/crumbs are, you'll either need to add more or less liquid.

 Yes, I know, looks nasty, like something I won't refer to by name. But just sharing to show the texture.

Roll it into little balls, around the size of a cherry tomato.

Take a container and fill it with either desiccated coconut, ground nuts, or sprinkles.  Place your chocolate ball inside the container, and roll it around until it is completely covered and no longer sticky.

Repeat this with the rest, until all the dough is used up and they are all covered.

That's it. Super simple. My 4 year old daughter, Rose, helped me with these. This is a fun activity for kids to do together with their parents, or even on their own if they're a little older (and you don't mind a bit of a mess).

Enjoy popping these into your mouth, with the knowledge that you were able to turn what otherwise might have headed into the garbage, into a delicious treat.

Ever had chocolate balls before? What do you put in them? Does this look like a recipe you'd try?
What would/do you do with leftover cake, cake crumbs, or cookies?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. Great idea! I just found a bag of homemade cookies in back of my freezer. Gonna try this!

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