Sunday, March 17, 2013

Coconut-Almond Crunch Balls

Ever since I was introduced to the concept of "low carbohydrate density" nutrition I've been on a mission. The goal: to create a low-carb, low-sugar, grain-free and, most importantly, delicious dessert.

The low-carbohydrate density diet aligns beautifully with the evolution-based diet that I recommend. It eliminates flour and sugar, includes but minimizes whole grains and fruits, and emphasizes vegetables, seeds, animal protein (not necessarily meat—think pastured eggs and raw goat cheese) and healthy fats like coconut oil. The benefits of avoiding refined grains and sugars include improved blood sugar balance, yeast control and intestinal comfort (i.e. reduced gas and bloating, a big bonus for IBS people like me). However, there isn't much to offer the sweet tooth contingent. Hence my mission.

I started off very simply: grated carrots (carrots are sweet, right?) mashed with nut butter and cinnamon. (I told you it was simple.) I know: not exactly blog-worthy—but it's darn good, trust me!

Anyway, in terms of a real recipe worth sharing, I am proud to present these adorable Coconut-Almond Crunch Balls

They're made with naturally sweet raw coconut butter, and naturally sweet raw almond butter, with only a hint of concentrated natural sweetener added. (I used agave, but maple syrup would be scrumptious, too.) The crunch comes from homemade Buckwheat Crunchies (soaked, sprouted dehydrated buckwheat groats), which I had on hand from a previous dehydrating day.

Buckwheat Crunchies are REALLY easy to make (instructions below). But if you don't have a dehydrator or the time, consider substituting finely chopped almonds. (Alternatively, forget the crunch aspect altogether and use this recipe, sans crunchies, to make creamy Coconut-Almond Truffles instead! Guaranteed they would be totally yummy, too.)

P.S. This dessert is gluten-free. I know buckwheat sounds like it must be related to wheat, the mother of all gluten-containing grains, but it isn't. In fact, buckwheat isn't even technically a grain. It's a fruit! Read more here.

Coconut-Almond Crunch Balls

1 cup raw coconut butter
1 Tablespoon raw coconut oil
1/4 cup raw almond butter
4 Tablespoons agave or maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt or fine sea salt
1 cup buckwheat crunchies
shredded coconut for coating - about half a cup

In a food processor fitted with the S-blade, process coconut butter, coconut oil, almond butter, agave or maple syrup, vanilla and salt until a smooth dough is formed. Transfer to a medium bowl and use a soft spatula to gently mix in buckwheat crunchies.

Use a teaspoon or the spatula, and very clean fingers and hands, to separate out small chunks of dough. Roll and press them into little bite-sized balls, or medium-sized balls if you like more of a mouthful.

Roll each ball in shredded coconut and set aside until all the dough is used up. You'll get about two dozen balls or more, depending on their size.

If you prefer a flatter profile, that works, too.

I recommend eating Coconut-Almond Crunch Balls at room temperature for best flavor, but do store them in the refrigerator to keep firm and fresh. Miraculously, these balls hold their crunch for at least two weeks! (It wasn't easy to keep them around that long—hence the miracle—but I wanted to be sure my Crunch Balls lived up to their name over time, before going public with this recipe.) Enjoy!

Buckwheat Crunchies
To make these, you will need a dehydrator and a supply of raw buckwheat groats, which can be hard to find. I ordered a five-pound box directly from my local food coop.

To begin, soak two cups of buckwheat groats in four cups of water for eight hours or overnight.

Drain and rinse very well, several times, to thoroughly remove slippery foam. Allow soaked buckwheat to sprout in a strainer for 12-24 hours (as pictured below), rinsing at approximately six-hour intervals so that the soaked buckwheat doesn't dry out prematurely. (If sprouting overnight, you don't need to wake up to rinse your groats; just loosely cover strainer with a clean damp towel at bedtime.)

Spread sprouted buckwheat in a single layer on mesh dehydrator sheets and dehydrate at 110 degrees for 12 hours, or until very crisp.

Store crunchies in an airtight glass jar. Use in place of dry cereal (delicious with coconut milk!) or in recipes that call for crunch, such as my delectable Coconut-Almond Crunch Balls. ♥


raechel said...

These sound delicious! I love buckwheat. : )

diana allen, ms, cns said...

Thanks, Raechel, they really are! I can't wait to make them again and try some new flavors...lemon vanilla will be next :)

Matthew Prineas said...

Just made these -- used the chopped nuts instead of buckwheat. Really delicious!

quincy Leah said...

Yum, I can't wait to make these!

diana allen, ms, cns said...

You'll have to let me know how they come out, Leah. Thank you for visiting eat to evolve!

diana allen, ms, cns said...

Matthew, glad the chopped nuts worked out! A more toothsome bite sounds nice, too. :~)