Chokladbollar (Chocolate Balls)

Spring greening equals spring cleaning. While you transition your home for the summer, it’s also a great time for some organization. This year, while I’m doing deeper dusting and vacuuming, I’m doing a deeper dive, too. This year, I am Swedish Death Cleaning.  

What exactly is Swedish Death Cleaning? A good way to sum it up is a way to declutter and renovate the soul. It’s a way to enhance your life by asking, “What do we want to be surrounded by? What do we want to tell the people in our lives while we’re still around?” It’s a therapeutic process that celebrates both life and death, and it’s all about minimalism, clutter, and most importantly here, living your best life. 

All of that cleaning and organizing can leave one a bit peckish and and in need of a little something sweet to soften the edges of parting with some of your belongings. Luckily the Swedes have thought of this, too, because they have a wonderful coffee custom known as fika. Both more involved and more relaxed than a typical American coffee break, fika is a time to reset and reconnect with your friends, colleagues or family members. It’s a chance to sit back with a hot beverage and a snack and enjoy the company of others.

As you clean and organize, fika is a part of the process. The break is important so that you can reflect and get a fresh perspective on things, and is also helpful so that you can integrate all the new information that resurfaces when you are going through your house and reorganizing. You work at a slower pace, have a fika, and then you work again. This helps you to be more methodical and keep your energy, to stick to the process and do things correctly.  

What’s essential to a Swedish fika isn’t just coffee, it’s what goes with it. There are a variety of iconic recipes like Kanelbullar (Cinnamon Buns), Kladdkaka (Sticky Chocolate Cake), Mazariner (Almond Tarts), Smákakor (Small Cookies) and Chokladbollar, a Swedish word that literally means “chocolate ball.” You can make this fun and easy treat very quickly, and with just a few simple ingredients you’ll be enjoying them in no time. Chokladbollar are perfect for pairing with coffee and are just the thing to enjoy with your own Swedish fika. 

Somewhat truffle-like, rich and chocolatey, this is officially the best thing I’ve eaten since Christmas. Swedish friends, you know what you’re doing. Mere words cannot describe the delicious perfection of these tiny treats. But let me just say, they are heavenly. No baking required, no electric mixer needed, all you need is a bowl or two and a spatula. They’d be fun to make with your kids, too. Here’s how to whip some up yourself. 

Start with butter that has been sitting at room temperature. It needs to be quite soft, but not melted. The recipe also calls for caster sugar, which is finely ground granulated sugar. It has a little grit to it, and is not as fine, or powdery, as confectioners’ sugar. You can make it at home using granulated sugar processed briefly in a blender or a food processor. 

You can find finely shredded, dessicated coconut in the baking aisle. It is unsweetened, but still has a hint of natural sweetness. It is not the same as flaked or shredded coconut, which is often sweetened and has larger flakes. Toasting adds a lovely flavor to your coconut and it complements the chocolate well. To do this, place your coconut in a frying pan and warm over medium-low heat, stirring the coconut frequently until it lightly browns.

Sometimes Chokladbollar are finished with a coating of pearl sugar, a type of specialty sugar that is often used in baking in Scandinavia. You could also use other decorative sugars that you might have on hand, such as sanding sugar, sparkling sugar, or other coarse-grained sugar, or try using decorative sprinkles. I went with the coconut, lightly toasted, and I highly recommend it. Chokladbollar can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator or freezer, making them a convenient treat to have on hand. 

Repurpose, revise and get more joy from your cleaning and your life. Embrace fika and take it one bit at a time. 

Chokladbollar (Chocolate Balls)

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons strong coffee, cooled
  • 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 1/3 cups rolled oats 
  • pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup desiccated coconut, or pearl sugar

Add softened butter, caster sugar and vanilla extract to a large bowl and mix together until well combined and smooth. In a small bowl, combine strong coffee and cocoa powder and mix into a paste. Add chocolate paste to butter mixture, mixing well until thoroughly combined. Add rolled oats and salt; stir well combined. Transfer bowl to refrigerator and chill until mixture firms up enough to roll, at least 10 minutes. 

Using clean hands, roll into balls, setting aside on a plate as you work. Roll balls into coconut (or pearl sugar) until they are fluffy and fully covered. Place Chokladbollar in refrigerator for 1 hour to firm. Keeps one week, stored airtight and refrigerated. Freeze up to one month, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored airtight. Thaw in refrigerator before serving.  

Donna Ferguson

Donna Ferguson

I love to cook, garden, and write about all the things in Vancouver and the Northwest that make life so great.

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