Chocolate balls: super-easy Israeli kids’ dessert
My fellow Israelis are ridiculously huge fans of desserts involving what are basically soggy cookies.
This may have something to do with the fact that the horrendously misnamed “petit beurre” cookies are absolutely everywhere. These cookies are analagous to the Social Tea biscuits we used to buy back in Canada. They’re misnamed (in Hebrew, “פתיבר” – all one word) because, being pareve, they don’t contain a single drop of butter. I’m sure they’d be a great base for desserts of all kinds, but actually, the pareve ones aren’t a bad substitute.
Perhaps the best-known and most-loved of these treats is Kadurei Shokolad (כדורי שוקולד), literally Chocolate Balls. When I told my kids we were having them, they literally jumped and shouted “yay!” GZ (age 7) was not too thrilled when I told him he’d be making them himself, but he got into it quickly.
These are super-easy to make, and tons of fun to do with kids.
I recommend having a variety of sprinkly things on hand to roll them in. We didn’t; in fact, our sprinkles ran out halfway through, so we ended up coating 3/4 of them in plain cocoa. Which is fine. Icing sugar would work fine as well. So would Demerara sugar.
(I don’t usually like coating things in icing sugar or cocoa because then it falls off on your shirt when you eat it. In this case, after I stored the balls in an airtight container, the cocoa became moist enough that it wasn’t a problem.)
You could usecoconut as well to coat these – in fact, that’s probably a more traditional coating. Except that I don’t like coconut. I read something once that compared eating shredded coconut to chewing on cuticles and that is EXACTLY how I feel. I make macaroons out of the stuff once a year. And I love the taste. I’m happy to use every part of the coconut – oil, milk, cream, etc – except the coconut itself.
I was inspired to make these after I saw a recipe on Couldn’t be Parve a couple of weeks ago. She even used Sabra liqueur, from Israel, and coated hers in blue and white sprinkles to make them super-Israeli. But because of the liqueur and OJ, these would have an orangey taste I wasn’t looking for. I wanted plain, simple chocolate balls.
So I turned to this simple recipe from the Osem website (yup, the company that makes the cookies will also give you recipes telling you how to use them up!).
Basically, you need to turn a pile of cookie crumbs into moist, delicious, chocolatey balls. What do you use to do that? Well, that’s where any differences between recipes come in.
- Shoshana at Couldn’t be Parve uses melted chocolate, Sabra (orange) liqueur, orange juice concentrate, and margarine.
- The good folks at Osem use butter and water.
- Other recipes I saw use milk, which would be good if I wasn’t trying to make these pareve. You could use soy, coconut, or another pareve milk instead. You might be able to use coffee, which would be yummy, too…
I kind of went halfway here. I used margarine, water and a generous splash of dark rum, since I’ve always loved rum balls and have been wanting to make them for a really long time. Next time, I’d use more margarine. And probably make a smaller batch: the Osem recipe asks you to use 500g, more than a pound of cookies. Naturally, since they’re the ones selling you the cookies. Shoshana’s recipe uses a more reasonable 150g of cookie crumbs.
I think these turned out very nicely! They look a little mangy only because we were skimping on the sprinkles so we wouldn’t use them all up.
Here, then, is the “hybrid” Chocolate Balls recipe that I made last week… though I’d probably cut it in half next time.
Official Israeli Chocolate Balls
What you’ll need:
This makes a LOT of balls. I recommend cutting it in half the first time out.
- 500g package of Osem Petit Beurre cookies (or the equivalent in pareve Social Tea biscuits)
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 cup sugar
- Sprinkles, cocoa, grated coconut, icing (confectioner’s) sugar, etc., for rolling
- 100g margarine
- Dark Rum – 2-4 Tbsp. or to taste – or another liqueur you enjoy
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup water (or part coffee, orange juice, or another liquid you like)
How to do it:
- Crush up the cookies to the consistency of crumbs.
- Mix all dry ingredients in a very large bowl. If a child is stirring these together, make sure it doesn’t go all over the place like ours did!
- Add margarine & rum to bowl and stir very, very well.
- Now, drizzle the water in only until mixture, when pressed, holds together and can be pressed into a ball that holds together. Watch for flying clumps as your kid stirs!
- Fill a small bowl with whatever coating material you’re going to use.
- Scoop out a generous tablespoon of mixture and form into a ball. Roll between palms to smooth out the shape.
- As you make the balls, toss them in the “coating” bowl and bounce around until they’re evenly covered.
- Remove balls to plate or pan.
I think these taste better when chilled, but they’re okay at room temperature as well.
You’d think, since we were having so much fun making these, that I would have stopped to take a few pictures of the process. But no… maybe because GZ and I were elbow-deep in chocolate for most of the time it took to make them.
Here are all of them – maybe two dozen? It felt like a lot, I know that.
Then again, it’s Tuesday and they’re all gone… so maybe we made just the right amount.
p.s. I just realized that both this and my last post were inspired by offerings at Couldn’t be Parve. What can I say? It’s a great blog, super-inspiring. Read it, follow it – it’s great!