Are you looking for a sweet snack that’s both delicious and wholesome? Your search is over! These aronia bliss balls are jam-packed with nutrients to keep you energised throughout the day. Plus, they have a wonderfully zesty berry flavour that’s sure to leave you feeling satisfied!
The rise and rise of healthy snacks
Long gone are the days when a snack meant nothing more than a bag of crisps or a chocolate bar! Today, consumers are far more interested in reaching for something that’s both delicious and nutritious when they’re feeling peckish. The value of the healthy snacks market worldwide is growing year on year. In fact, it’s estimated to reach an amazing 152.5 billion US dollars by 2030.(1) There are many potential explanations for this growth. These range from changing lifestyles to greater concern around harmful medical conditions like obesity and diabetes. Whatever the reasons are, it's a trend that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. There are plenty of causes to celebrate this increased interest in clean eating, natural foods and healthy snacks. Firstly, it means there are more on-the-go options available for those who are vegan, health-conscious or have food intolerances. Secondly, it’s led to a wealth of wholesome and tasty new recipe ideas to try at home. Perfect for those of us who enjoy getting creative in the kitchen! From savoury vegetable muffins to nutrient-rich versions of classic recipes like millionaire shortbread, nowadays we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to healthy treats. However, one type of nourishing snack that’s received a lot of attention recently are versatile and bite-size bliss balls. There are all sorts of different yummy bliss balls recipes you can try. So, here at Erbology, we thought it was high time we added our own to the mix! As you’ve probably guessed, our recipe has an extra special ingredient that makes these bliss balls even more nutritious: aronia.
What are bliss balls?
If you’ve never heard of bliss balls before, at this point in the article you might be a bit confused. In essence, they're exactly what they sound like – little spheres of happiness! To be more specific though, bliss balls are small yet nutrient-dense snacks that you can easily whip up at home. It’s impossible to say who first invented them or when, but they’ve certainly become a popular option in recent years. And with good reason. Sometimes referred to as energy bliss balls or energy balls, they don’t require any baking or a long prep time. The best part is that you can flavour them pretty much any way you like. That makes it super simple to personalise your bliss balls recipe to suit your tastes. Perfectly round and bite-sized, bliss balls are a convenient snack to take to the office, gym, or on days out. The majority of bliss balls recipes feature some mix of dried fruit, nuts and seeds. This means they’re bursting with plant-based protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, fibre, and plenty of key vitamins and minerals. Therefore, despite their miniature size, bliss balls are a highly satisfying snack. If you make them our way, bliss balls are also free from any nasty preservatives or other additives. This ensures that they’re a guilt-free means to indulge your cravings for a little something sweet!
Our aronia bliss balls recipe
So, what is our way of making bliss balls? Let’s dive into the recipe! We recommend creating the base from a blend of raw pecan nuts, dried cranberries, dried goji berries and chia seeds. This will form the bulk of the bliss balls, and give them a smooth, rich texture. The cranberries also add an invigorating tart taste, with a beautiful hint of natural sweetness. One of the fantastic things about this bliss balls recipe is how much freedom you have. Don’t be afraid to mix it up by swapping some pecans for other nuts like almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts. Each combination will bring a slightly different flavour and texture to the finished bite. Whichever nuts you choose, there are a wealth of good reasons to include goji berries alongside them in your bliss balls. These tiny red fruits really pack a punch in terms of nutrients. Also known as wolfberries, research indicates that they may help to protect against age-related eye diseases.(2) This is thanks to the high level of antioxidants they contain. Goji berries are also rich in vitamins A and C, which can both assist in supporting the immune system.(3) Interestingly, studies suggest that consuming goji berries may have psychological benefits too. These include increased energy, better mental acuity, improved mood, and higher quality of sleep.(4) So there really is no reason not to embrace them in your diet! Finally, although they may be small, chia seeds certainly earn their place in our bliss balls. These nutritional powerhouses are rich in all sorts of minerals, including phosphorus, magnesium and calcium. They’re also high in fibre, which helps to keep your digestive system in top condition. In addition, chia seeds are a great source of plant-based protein.
Boosting your bliss balls
To this wellness-enhancing base, we recommend adding the zest from one lemon. This gives your bliss balls a bright and refreshing note of citrus. Lime and yuzu both make fabulous alternatives if you want to try something different. Versatility truly is the name of the game when it comes to creating bliss balls! The vanilla powder brings a soft sweetness and comforting scent to this bliss balls recipe that we just love. Be sure to choose a pure variety that’s made solely from vanilla beans, as some also have added sugar. The flavour from vanilla powder tends to be more intense than vanilla extract, so you only need half a teaspoon. After blending the ingredients into a mix of fine crumbs, adding the oat milk helps to bind them all together. Along with the liquid sweetener, it ensures your bliss balls won’t fall apart when you shape them. We’ve given you the option of raw honey or agave nectar in the recipe, but maple syrup is also a good choice. Of course, as the name implies, it’s the aronia powder that steals the show in this bliss balls recipe. Not only is it responsible for their vivid red colour, aronia will give your bliss balls a vibrant fruity flavour. Even better, it takes their nutritional value soaring to yet greater heights.
All about aronia
Aronia is a type of shrub that grows natively in North America, but is now cultivated around the world. This is largely thanks to the increasing popularity of its berries. Aronia berries are small, round, and deep blue-black in colour (similar to blueberries). You’ll sometimes hear them referred to by the slightly intimidating nickname ‘chokeberries’ due to their distinctive mouth-drying taste. However, it’s their wellness-boosting powers that are most worth taking note of. Research indicates that aronia berries offer a wide range of health benefits. To begin with, they’re rich in compounds called anthocyanins. These are a type of pigment that gives the berries their gorgeous deep purple colour. In addition, anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants fight free radicals, protecting our cells from the damage they cause and helping to prevent chronic diseases.(5) There’s also evidence to suggest that aronia berries are good for heart health. Consuming them may help to lower blood pressure and relax the tissue of the arteries, improving blood flow.(6) Some studies have even found that aronia might have cancer-fighting properties.(7) Aronia berries are also a fantastic source of vitamin C. This has a crucial role to play in our immune system, helping the body to fight infection and wounds to heal more quickly.(8) They’re additionally high in iron, which the body requires to make haemoglobin. This is a protein in red blood cells that enables them to transport oxygen from the lungs all throughout the body.(9) People have been harnessing the power of aronia in traditional medicine for generations. For example, some Native Americans used it as a remedy for colds.(10) Yet despite this, the berries are unfortunately still a rare sight in our supermarkets. As such, getting it in powder form can be a handy alternative – especially when making bliss balls.
Introducing our fabulous aronia berry powder
Here at Erbology, we make our Organic Aronia Berry Powder purely from dried crushed aronia berries. This gives you the maximum health benefits with no unwanted additives. We source the berries directly from small, sustainable farms in Eastern Europe. They’re hand-picked during the annual autumn harvest season, then frozen to ensure they stay fresh without the need for preservatives. Our team then pulverises the berries into a fine, bright pink powder in small batches. It takes approximately 6kg of berries to make 1kg of aronia powder, which gives you an idea of just how concentrated it is! Once ready, we pack our powder in environmentally friendly amber glass jars to ship out to you at home. You can then recycle or reuse them once they’re empty. As you might expect from its stunning colour, aronia powder has a tangy berry flavour with a burst of sweetness. In addition to bliss balls and other snack bars, you’re able to use it in all kinds of recipes. For example, stir it into a smoothie or breakfast bowl to start your day with a vibrant fruity kick. Alternatively, add a spoon to a cookie or cake mix to give your baking an extra dose of nutrients. You can also sprinkle some on top of whatever you create for a bold pink finish! Don’t feel restricted to just using aronia powder in sweet recipes though. It can also add a fantastic fruity twist to savoury soups and stews. The only real limit is your imagination!