I love trying something new. And I have to admit that I had never heard of these delicious little treats before until I read an article about an authentic Danish bakery in downtown Los Angeles. It’s called Hygge, which according to the article is pronounced “hyoo-geh” and means to focus on relaxation and enjoyment — living the good life with friends and food. I suppose it’s the Scandinavian equivalent of “la belle vie” or “la dolce vita.”
I haven’t yet had a chance to visit this place, but it’s on my list of things to do the next time I’m in downtown LA. I grew up in the Upper Midwest, where Scandinavian culture was very prevalent. So although not of Scandinavian descent myself, I remember well coming home from school to a snack of sugared and buttered lefse, which is a Norwegian flatbread that is pretty much exactly like a tortilla except made with potatoes and milk or cream as a base. It’s delicious.
I’ve also had my share of lutefisk, a kind of gelatinous preserved fish that many dislike, but to me is just a vehicle for a huge amount of butter, so no complaints here. And when I make it back during the holidays, I always request that we have a good Swedish potato sausage. It’s among my favorite things of all time.
Well, anyway, at the end of the article on the Danish bakery Hygge, there was a recipe that caught my eye. Chokladboll? Hmmm. I don’t remember ever seeing that at Ikea. But a little research and I was sold. A very simple recipe, and no baking at that. Don’t get me wrong, I love to bake, but in the heat of August I can be tempted to forgo turning on the oven. If you can mix up some cookie dough, you can make this recipe. In fact, it’s actually simpler than most cookie doughs.
So, with just a few minutes of work in a food processor, you can make these adorable little chocolate balls. You can serve them just like cookies. They’re perfect as an afternoon snack with a coffee or tea. In fact, although I followed the recipe and kept things traditional, next time I might substitute the coffee for a nice Earl Grey tea to mix it up a bit.
For my final pitch — it’s chocolate. It’s pretty much guaranteed to be delicious. Maybe they deserve to be an American tradition as well as a Scandinavian one. Try it out.
- 3.5 cups (315 g) rolled oats (quick oats are nice, but use what you have)
- 1 cup (225 g) sugar
- ½ cup (64 g) cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. (5 ml) vanilla extract
- 10 Tbsp (142 g) butter, room temperature
- ½ cup (118 ml) coffee or black tea
- Shredded sweetened coconut for rolling
- Add the oats, sugar, and cocoa powder to the work bowl of your food processor (depending on your processor’s capacity, you may need to halve the recipe and make it in two batches). Pulse to combine.
- Now add the room temperature butter along with the vanilla extract and pulse again to combine.
- Continue by adding the coffee. Now pulse until the mixture comes together.
- Empty the contents into a bowl, and stir to make sure that everything is well combined. Refrigerate for one hour, which will make it easier to work with the cocoa mixture.
- Remove the cocoa mixture from the refrigerator, put some shredded coconut in a another bowl, and begin shaping the cocoa mixture into balls a little smaller than a golf ball. (A small disher or scoop is nice here but certainly not necessary.)
- Roll the balls in the shredded coconut to coat.
- Keep your chokladbollar in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where they’ll keep nicely for up to a week.