Growing up, my family would give and receive many many boxes of Ferrero Rocher chocolates, and later Raffaelo, the white coconut version. It was our go-to chocolate around the holiday season.
And for me, the crunchy bits of hazelnuts and decadent, smooth chocolatey cream hold so many fond family memories.
Now, as a Holistic Nutritionist, I’m always making healthier versions of sweet favourites. And recreating a decadent Ferrero Rocher ball with quality ingredients was a no-brainer. I will be honest though, before writing this article, I could have guessed some of the terrible ingredients in these delicious little balls but even I was blown away by how many ‘no-no’ ingredients are found in Ferrero Rocher.
Did you know that Ferrero Rocher contains wheat? If you have a gluten or wheat sensitivity or allergy, or are hosting guests who do, these little treats could lead to gas, bloating, eczema, loose stool, digestive discomfort and down the line, even things like arthritis, Hashimoto’s and other auto-immune disorders. Arg, no thank you!
Less surprising, is the dairy in the form of milk solids and whey, another top allergen; as well as soy lecithin, modified palm oil and artificial vanilla flavouring. Ack!
Lecithin is used as a binder in many foods. Quality foods typically use lecithin derived from sunflower seeds and non-GMO soy. Unfortunately while hard to find out, most likely the lecithin in Ferrero Rocher comes from GMO soy beans, something that is not only bad for our body, but also bad for the environment. (If you’re unfamiliar with GMO’s or genetically modified organisms, check this out.)
Speaking of the environment, palm oil is another truly devastating product for animals, people and the planet. Palm oil, a type of vegetable oil, comes from the palm fruit, grown on the oil palm tree. In order to satisfy our enormous need for this type of oil, we are destroying vital rain forests, losing precious animal habitants and subjecting local people where the palm oil fruit is grown to major human rights violations and child labour. (You can read more about this here.)
None of theses are ingredients I want to put in my body, nor am I willing to put up with the health risks that come with them and their impact on our planet.
These Decadent Ferrero Rocher Knock Offs are not only gluten-free (duh!), if you use Enjoy Life chocolate chips, they are also dairy-free and vegan. They contain antioxidants, good fats and natural sugar with anti-bacterial properties (perfect for the winter) in the form of raw, unprocessed cacao powder, raw coconut butter and raw honey.
They are the perfect, guilt-free treat to keep you satisfied and nourished this holiday season.
Decadent Ferrero Rocher Knock Offs
Makes 18 balls
For the balls:
1/4 cup raw honey
1/2 cup cacao powder*
1/2 cup coconut butter (I like to lightly heat the butter in the jar to make sure it’s all combined before using)
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts + 1/8 cup for sprinkling
2 tbsp hazelnut butter
Small pinch of pink Himalayan salt
Small dash of vanilla powder
For the coating:
3/4 cup chocolate chips**
1 tsp coconut oil
- Mix all ingredients for balls together. Use your hands if necessary to make sure everything is evenly combined.
- Using a flattened tbsp size measuring spoon, scoop the dough onto a tray. You will have 18 balls. Don’t worry too much about making the balls perfect just yet.
- In a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil together.
- While you are waiting for the chocolate to melt, roll the balls into well formed circles and place in the freeze for 3-5min.
- Using a spoon, gently dip each ball and cover with melted chocolate.
- Place each ball on a tray or rack (this will allow excess chocolate to drip down).
- Sprinkle with additional chopped hazelnuts and allow to set for about 10-15mins in the freezer before serving.
*An important note about the difference between cacao and cocoa. Cacao powder is make by cold-pressing raw cocoa beans. This keeps all the antioxidants, enzymes and minerals in the powder. It is the purest form of ‘chocolate’ and is full of magnesium, zinc, iron and fibre. Cocoa, on the other hand, is make by roasting cacao powder at high temperatures. This does diminish some of the enzymes and antioxidants; however, the more important issue is that many cocoa powders are blended with sugars and milk solids. That is why they make such a deliciously sweet and creamy chocolate milk or hot cocoa.
**I use Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips. Not only are these little chips vegan, I love using them because they have no added *crap* like soy lecithin, artificial flavour or milk solids. They are made of cocoa mass and brown sugar only.
Coconut butter, different from coconut oil, is sometimes also called coconut manna. Before measuring the coconut butter, warm it up by placing the jar in a small pot of warm water. Then give it a good stir. The coconut oil tends float to the top while the manna settles at the bottom. If you don’t mix it well before measuring, you won’t get the right consistency for the balls.
The ingredients for the balls will form a nice, easy-to-work-with mass. Roll the dough into balls about 1 tablespoon size big and place in the freezer to harden before rolling in the melted chocolate and sprinkling with chopped hazelnuts.