Chocolate Salty Paleo Balls

2 Sep

pballs_iconThis is definitely one of my go-to paleo recipes when I need to make something interesting for a potluck or other event, but it comes with disclaimers. First, it is not a recipe I invented out of whole cloth, but rather something that I have adapted from a recipe I first found on Dr. William Davis’s Wheat Belly Blog, and which he originally got from a gluten-free cookbook called The Pure Kitchen by Hallie Klecker. I have been playing around with this recipe a bit over the last couple years, though, and have added some tweaks to it that I would like to share.

The second disclaimer is that they aren’t actually salty, per se, but I have taken to calling them this because I am literally physically unable to pass up an opportunity to reference South Park when it presents itself. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, please review the following:

In mixed company I sometimes refer to them as my “Nutty Paleo Balls,” but–depending on the company–that isn’t necessarily an improvement.

In any event, on to the recipe!



  • 1/4 cup almond flour or meal
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt


  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp UNsweetened pumpkin puree (I really like this brand)
  • 2 Tbsp honey or maple syrup, or preferred sweetener to taste
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  • Chopped pecans (protip: get whatever sized pecans are cheapest and chop them to the size you want in your food processor)
  • Macaroon-sized dry, unsweetened coconut flakes (larger-sized flakes might work too but I prefer these, though they can be a little harder to find in brick-and-mortar stores)


  • Food processor (I held off on getting a food processor for ages and finally broke down and got this tiny 3.5 cup one and it’s ended up being a lifesaver. It is the perfect size for this recipe (for the proportions given) and I also use it for sauces and things all the time. And the best part is it doesn’t take up that much space in the kitchen. I’ll probably do a Tools of the Trade review on it soon.)
  • Bowls of various sizes


  • Put all of the dry ingredients in the food processor and pulse briefly to mix them together


  • Add the wet ingredients to the food processor and blend everything together for a minute or two until a dough forms. It might roll up into a big ball, or it might just be thick and wet. If it seems too thin to you, try adding a little more almond meal



  • Remove the dough from the food processor and put into a bowl. Usually if I am making a big batch of balls I do a couple rounds of dough-making before I start the ball-making.
  • Put the materials you are using for toppings into small bowls.


  • Pinch off pieces of the dough and roll in your hands to form a small ball. Your desired size might vary but I tend to make balls about an inch in diameter since this reminds me of chocolate truffles. Gently roll the ball in one (or both!) of the toppings until it is covered. Set aside.


  • Repeat, alternating toppings as you desire, until all the balls are formed. The proportions in this recipe made about twenty one-inch balls (some may have been eaten before the picture was taken).


  • Refrigerate until serving.

And that’s it! Nutty, chocolaty, and not overly-sweet, these have been a big hit with many non-paleo folk as well (although, APPARENTLY, my boyfriend is not one of them. Not that I’m bitter or anything). They are a sweet treat but are still very satisfying. When I have leftovers after a party, I often pop a couple over breakfast or have with tea as an afternoon snack. Last holiday season I made some little gift-sets with nine little balls boxed in origami boxes I made out of paper shopping bags (getting hella Martha Stewart up in here). There’s also a lot you can do with the toppings. After I took these photos I realized an additional, third topping might be a mixture of cocoa powder and cinnamon, so I’ll probably try that next go-around.

I hope you give them a try, and let me know in the comments if you come up with any new alterations of your own!



6 Responses to “Chocolate Salty Paleo Balls”

  1. Living Grainlessly September 2, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

    I am SO making these.

  2. Josh @ Slim Palate September 16, 2013 at 11:21 am #

    The South Park reference got me and brought back some good memories. Also love the minimal use of sweetener. Right on.

    • Colleen September 16, 2013 at 11:49 am #

      You could probably even get away with less! I’ve used as little as one tablespoon of honey and still enjoyed the results. But my non-paleo friends wouldn’t even come near them so I upped the dose. ;p

  3. Angela October 11, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

    Using sweet potato instead of pumpkin puree, I will let you know how it goes 🙂

  4. tanya December 6, 2013 at 10:30 pm #

    i don’t have any pumpkin so was thinking of apple puree – do you think it will work out the same?

    • Colleen December 11, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

      Possibly, it might be a little wetter and not as firm. If it’s too wet, you might try adding more of the dry ingredients to help it get denser!

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