Sweet treats and Good eats!

Since beginning this path to live Gluten Free, I've been terrified to bake. Why, you may ask? Because every single fundamental thing you were taught in science class, and home economics does NOT apply here. Allow me to explain.

Being Gluten Free means no wheat. No wheat means... no flour. No flour? How can you bake without flour?!? Exactly! That's what I said? YOU CAN'T! But, alas, I was wrong. Though it does take practice and patience. I don't have much patience, so thank God my husband does! Otherwise, we'd never have a sweet treat again. Ever.

It's different, having to get used to baking with Almond Flour and Coconut Flour. The texture and consistence is so far from what regular wheat flour is it's astounding. But, they are flavorful and when something comes out right - it's down right delicious. So, because I've been too scared to bake (at least until this very weekend) - I was mainly dipping as much stuff in melted chocolate as I could get my hands on.

We prefer dark chocolate in our house. The darker, the better. I find that the really dark chocolates, like 85-88% dark cocoa, have this strong coffee taste that I love. Probably because one of my top 5 favorite things in life is coffee. So the bonus of having chocolate that TASTES like coffee? Yeeaaahhhh buddy.

BJ and I have been doing a lot of reading on line regarding Paleo living and Gluten Free. I'd say we're probably about 80% Paleo, but I'm living 100% Gluten free. Snacking is a hard factor, especially considering my favorite form of snack was something with bread in it.

While skimming thru Pin Interest, I was looking at all these paleo / gluten free snacks people had posted. Someone had made these date & nut dipped chocolate balls. I knew I had to make them. But I knew I had to mess with the recipe - because, well, I just can't leave anything alone. It's just my nature. Don't hate.

I began with 1 small log of goat cheese, 1/2 cup whole dried dates (or dried prunes if you prefer), 3/4 cup whole shelled walnuts, 1/4 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened, your choice), and a drizzle of honey. I threw it all in my Ninja blender - and pulverized the hell out of it. It should look something like this:

Ones your mixture is well incorporated, wet your hands a bit (this mixture is sticky!!!) Start rolling the mixture into bite size balls, and set on a plate or a wax paper covered cookie sheet. Place in freezer so the balls can firm up and not fall apart when you dip them in the melted chocolate.

Meanwhile, toast up some additional coconut in a dry pan on the stove top. Don't walk away from this - or you will burn the coconut. You must watch it. Like a hawk. Stir it every 20-30 seconds to ensure the coconut is starting to brown, but not turn black. This will take a good 2-4 minutes. Do not set the heat too high. Medium should be a good temperature to begin with. Once the coconut is done, set aside on a plate to cool. Then begin chopping up chocolate to melt down in the microwave (or stove top if you want to deal with that whole double boiler thing!). Every 30 seconds, remove chopped chocolate and stir, keep doing this until almost fully melted, and then continue stirring until it is completely smooth with no lumps.

Once the chocolate is melted, remove the nut balls from the freezer. (Please, if you have actual nut balls in your life that are living breathing organisms, do not stick them in the freezer for any period of time.) Drip the nut balls one at a time into the chocolate, then set on a wax paper covered baking sheet to set. First, sprinkle each with a bit of the toasted coconut. Repeat with remaining nut balls. Allow to set in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes, then they are ready to eat!



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