In a global world, Sweden has but traces of its culinary traditions left. All cultures evolve, and there’s nothing bad about it, really. Sure people still eat falukorv, but I think pasta is far more popular. When it comes to sweet toothed people, their caloric intake might not have changed, but its sources sure have. We still eat semla once a year (it’s a wheat bun with marzipan and whipped cream), and if you’re celebrating someone’s 60th birthday, you might be served princesstårta. Not to forget dammsugare and Wienerbröd. All those traditional Swedish baked goods are becoming less common as time goes by. Today, croissants can be found in every corner of Stockholm, and when people go to 7Eleven they are welcomed by brownies, doughnuts and other French and American creations. But there are two things that Swedes can’t seem to let go of… The kanelbulle and chokladbollar (Swedish chocolate balls). No matter how modern the coffee shop is, and no matter how hipster the clientele has become, chokladbollar and kanelbullar are found there, on a plate by the counter. For good reasons, they are both good inventions.
And you know what the best thing about a traditions chokladboll is? It doesn’t need an oven! My version, however, is dipped in melted chocolate, but you can skip that step if you don’t feel like turning on your stove. This recipe yields about 8 balls hence 8 portions if you’re careful about your caloric intake. If you’re not, then hey… all 8 for you, right?
Ingredients for 8 Swedish chocolate balls
- 30 g of cold brewed coffee (espresso works great, it’s about 3 tablespoons)
- Chocolate bar (I use about 200 grams for this recipe, that was enough to cover all 8 balls)
- 100 g of butter (that’s about one stick, if you’re one of those “stick of butter” measurers. Make sure to leave it in room temperature for about half an hour, so it softens)
- Scraped out seeds from 1 vanilla pod (or a pinch of dried vanilla powder, if you use that instead)
- 130 g of sugar (that’s about 1 1/3 dl)
- 120 g of oatmeal (that’s about 3 dl)
- 20 g of cocoa powder (that’s about 3 tablespoons)
- Pinch of sea salt flakes (Ok, you still want grams? About 1/4 g)
- Finely cut coconut flakes
This is how you prepare Swedish chocolate balls
- Start by making some really strong coffee. I’m using one of those Italian mocha brewers, sometimes called “espresso brewer” by people who don’t give a shit.
- Start with the chocolate melting. To be sure not to burn it, use a water bath (bain-marie, if you fancy French)
- Now things get quite easy… Combine the butter, vanilla, oats, sugar and cocoa powder. I use a hand mixer, but you can use a spatula, a spoon or even your hands if you prefer that. It’s still quite dry.
- Add 2 tablespoons of coffee and a teaspoon of whisky. If you don’t like whisky, you’ll still like this. It doesn’t really give a whisky flavor, it just enhances the chocolate, by adding subtle malt and smoke nuances. If you love whisky, by all means, add some more to get a more “adult” taste. Mix thoroughly.
- Take a pinch of sea salt flakes, crush them with your fingers, and put them in the mix. Now combine thoroughly. The reason I do this now, is because I like the taste of a salt flake on my tongue while eating chocolate. If you don’t like that sensation, you can use smaller grains and add it from the beginning instead of in the end.
- Make about 8 balls. I use rubber gloves, they keep the mix from sticking to my fingers.
- Dip the balls, one by one, into the molten chocolate, and then roll them in the coconut.
- Let cool in the fridge for about half an hour, so the chocolate coating sets, and you have 8 wonderful Swedish chocolate balls. The traditional recipe doesn’t call for whisky nor the molten chocolate coating. You’d simply stop at the coffee, and then roll the balls in coconut.