Friday, April 15, 2011

carob tofu bliss balls recipe


Last weekend I managed to sweet talk Si into looking after the kids for half the day so I could explore the city, solo. To say it was a treat is a severe understatement! What was supposed to be 2-4 weeks of staying with family until we found our feet, has quickly passed into 5 and now 6 weeks… making me even more keen for a little space and alone time than usual. Of course me being me all I wanted to do was head into the city to look for gluten-free flours. Geek I know, but one month of no baking has me hankering for something sweet! 

Thanks to a tip off from the lovely Leigh @ toasted I had a fare idea of where I wanted to head. I originally planned to go to Fremantle to check out Kakula’s sisters but decided at the very last minute to have a quick look at Kakula’s brothers in Northbridge instead. I took the train into the city feeling like a nervous first timer. A far cry from my confident public-transport-guru self of 10 years ago. Stopping at Perth central I hoped off with a vague idea of the direction in which to walk. It turned out all I needed to do to stumble on my destination was to simply walk across the road and look out for the large queue of people crowding in and around a dimly lit warehouse style shop.



Inside I could barely believe my eyes; all my foodie dreams had just been realized! God how I’ve missed the amazing array of food cities offer. Everything from handmade Turkish delights, Australian kalamata olives ($7.99 kg!), large open bags of spices tempting my nostrils, nuts sold freshly shelled or whole, piled high and at the most amazing prices ever to be seen and dried nettle leaves perfect for making my nettle tea. I could have spent a whole day looking around every nook and cranny of this wonderful shop. The cheese cabinet alone almost made me reconsider my mostly dairy-free habits, the coffee roasting machine at the back of the room gently turned and hummed while shoppers frantically packed their baskets. Dried beans, rices, oats 5 different ways. Flours of every kind; quinoa, chickpea, tapioca, brown rice, white rice, almond meal, buckwheat, millet and lupin flour? I’ve never heard of this amazing Australian grown gluten-free flour before and can’t wait to get playing around in the kitchen once more. Spelt flour for a mere $3 something a kilo left me wondering why anybody would use regular flour in this city? It’s over $12 per/kg back home in NZ.



I came home after a little stroll around the ultra cool suburb of Subiaco and got straight into making these lovely little tofu carob bliss balls. I think now would be the time to get a few things clear around here. Yes I am a trained chef, yes I used to cook really flash food for many years, but you know what? That’s not how I cook. I prefer family style rustic and ultimately healthy food over restaurant style food any day. I was brought up with a mother who cooked everything by hand, used carob in place of cocoa and served fresh goats milk instead of cow. We ate lite-licks soy ice cream, if any and lentil shepherds pie not meat.


I have a vague memory of my dad telling me how he used to make bliss balls and sell them in Soul Shoes; the shop he and my Mum owed way back in the 80’s. It was a dimly lit shop, two stories I think? They’d sell Dad’s handmade leather shoes along with hand crocheted and sewn clothes my mum made. It’s funny the things you remember. My only memory from that time was of me sitting behind the counter, on the floor, making trees from used paper towel rolls. I now make these with my kids.


These bliss balls are the perfect alternative to chocolate Easter eggs this holiday season. No dairy, no gluten, no added sugar. I do love my regular baking and adore dark chocolate, but also love making sweets like these. Knowing they contain no “bad” things means you can relax and let the kids go crazy with no risk of any after effects. Ada ate 8 of these the other day and was still asking for more! The tofu keeps them a nice soft texture, while adding a sneaky dose of protein too. You can use cocoa powder in place of the carob, but really I urge you to try the carob. Unlike cocoa, carob powder contains no caffeine and has the added bonus of being a really rich source of B vitamins, calcium and iron.

On the home front, we have found and had our application accepted for a great little house to rent. We’ll be moving in the middle of next week, so stay tuned for baking recipes once more! I tell ya, I’m hanging out as much as you are.

To view more photo's from my Perth wanderings click here.


carob tofu bliss balls
I used a medium-firm tofu. You don't want to use a really firm tofu unless you are happy with chunks throughout the bliss balls and silken tofu would be too wet. Honey, agave or brown rice syrup can be used in place of the maple. And if you really aren't keen to try carob, cocoa powder can be used instead, just use a little less than the carob amount given below.
Makes approx 30 small balls

  • 250g tofu
  • 3/4 cup pitted dates, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2-3 tablespoons carob powder, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 cup almond meal (ground almonds)
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • extra coconut for coating


Pat the tofu dry with paper towels to remove excess water. Place into a bowl and mash with a fork.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix using your hands to evenly combine.

Form into small balls and roll in extra desiccated coconut. Transfer to a container in a single layer and refrigerate overnight. Keeps 4-5 days in the fridge.

22 comments:

  1. oh that recipe looks divine... I am gluten and dairy free so might have to make 'me' some!
    And that shop!! Wow!! heaven. We too are living with family at the moment... 3 months so far and I CRAVE space and time alone.

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  2. your little brotherApril 15, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    good ol' bliss balls aye. always a winner!

    I made those mesquite cookies, easy as...and YUM! the flatmates were happy about it too :)

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  3. Leonie~ I hope you get some alone time soon. It's amazing how much better even just half an hour alone makes you feel!

    Louie~ So stoked you loved the mesquite cookies, amazing flavour aye?! I'm gonna have to track some more down. God you would have loved visiting Kakulas's with me!

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  4. Glad Kakulas made you so happy :-)

    Those bliss balls look like just the ticket for a mama who is frantically looking for ways to limit the impeding chocolate-slide known as Easter!

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  5. Oh this is really exciting - my daughter can't eat salicylates (which means chocolate/cocoa powder is out) so it's exciting to find carob recipes. She also can't eat almond, or dates....so I might try substituting with cashew meal and dried mango (one of the few fruits that don't have salicylates). I need to get more protein into her so this would be perfect!
    Thanks :)

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  6. Yum! Have been looking for healthy sweet things to make and this sounds super easy - right up my alley!

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  7. Hi Emm, I think I commented a while back about Loving Earth who are here in Melbourne and sell mesquite along with a whole lot of other great products. You can definately mail order and if you have difficulty let me know because I regularly go to a shop that sells a lot of their stuff .....

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  8. Wow, that grocery store looks amazing...lucky you! And a delicious looking and healthy treat too.

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  9. Bliss balls - I even love the name! And I deeply envy you for Kakulas! I have just discovered that the Indian grocery just around the corner from me stocks an amazing array of gluten-free flours - why I never thought of them before now, is beyond me! Enjoy your new home (nothing like having some personal space eh?)

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  10. KateP~Yep thanks, I was gonna look them up online :-)Thanks for your offer too Xx

    Janet~Indian stores are fantastic for their array of gluten-free flours. It's where I used to get a lot of my flours from back home. You just have to keep an eye on cross contamination if you are coeliac, and freshness of some of the flours though. But I do love them for finding odd flours like mung dal flour and pea flours, not to mention all the different spices on offer!

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  11. Thanks for the great recipe just in time for Easter. Bliss balls will go down a treat in our dairy free house. Good Luck with the move.

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  12. Sorry a late reply to Michelle~ Cashew meal would be fine and I reckon even ground sunflower seeds would work great too if they are tolerated by your daughter? All the best.

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  13. yuuum! love the photo - beauty mate

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  14. thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! xo m.

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  15. oh god that shop looks amazing ! I bet you didn't know what to get first - and the bliss balls I've tasted similar & delightful ! - looking forward to more sweet posts when you are all settled in x

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  16. yummy!! I've tried making something similar but never with tofu- can't wait to try it :)
    Hannah x

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  17. Great recipe Emma - made these for a vegan pot luck on the weekend. I make bliss balls with just carob, nuts and dates for Isabel to snack on but these tofu ones have the added bonus of more protein and definitely seem more substantial. Have already passed your recipe on to a friend who is suddenly on a very limited diet, she was stoked thanks!

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  18. Hi Emma, love this recipe and so did my 2yr old that I am raising vegetarian so great for the extra protein & iron from the tofu. Do you think these would freeze well? Thanks for your awesome recipes. Cheers Nichola

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    1. I've not frozen them before to be honest, and I'm not sure they would defrost so well or be nice eaten frozen. But I could be wrong. Give one or two a try and see how they go... :-)

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  19. They froze really well - not actually sure how they defrosted as Ronan ate them frozen :)

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  20. Just made these for Christmas (instead of rum/brandy balls I used to make). Ok, I used cocoa; I haven't found carob for sale here - it's hard enough to find tofu! I've made these bliss balls a few times since you published this recipe and every time they've gone down a treat. I make them just because they're yummy and healthier than other things I might make - they're not just for people with allergies! My cheese and bread scoffing French family loved these moist, rich little treats - they win everybody over! - which is handy because I'm living with the French in-laws (a month turning into 5 and have JUST got a place to move into for January! - much like your situation when you posted this recipe). Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and all your family. Rose

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    Replies
    1. Hey that's awesome Rose! Hope you had a great day, Happy New Year to you too xx

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Thanks so much for stopping by, arohanui xx Emm

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