Last week was Midsummer. It is one of the biggest celebrations in Sweden. In pre-conversion days, it was a time both for fertility and sacrifice. Celebrating the bounty of the land, and the longest day of the year, along with remembering that every day following would be just a little bit shorter.
Midsummer pole. (source used under Creative Commons.)
While Midsummer was last Wednesday, and the celebrations in Sweden happened last weekend, there’s no harm in still marking this time of year with some special foods. A typical feast includes herring, new potatoes, and schnaps, and desserts including chocolate balls. Even though three of the ingredients aren’t native to Sweden (chocolate, coffee, and coconut do not fare well in colder climates), this recipe has become a standard for bringing in the summer.
Eeeeek! But there’s BUTTER in it!
See the blog name? That’s not a worry around here. I’d rather eat something my body can use properly because it won’t make me fat or sick.
Eeeeeek! But there’s SUGAR n it!
Alright, yes I will grant this. Sugar is certainly not the best thing for you to eat. The standard recipe for this actually includes double the sugar. With the loss of my sweet tooth, I don’t notice it. Neither do my co-workers, who ate the majority of what is on the plate. In fact one co-worker said I could never bring it in again. After a little pressing, she amended it to not often.
If you’re going to make any substitutions, please don’t take out the good stuff. Leave the butter. If you can’t tolerate milk products, then I beg you not to replace the butter with some fake margarine thing. Coconut butter might be an option. Sugars can also be altered, though honey and maple syrup would make these way too sticky to be a finger food. If you do use coconut butter or a different sugar (like coconut, palm, etc.), please let me know! I’d love to hear how it turns out.
Chokladbullar/Swedish chocolate balls
1 1/2 sticks (6oz) unsalted butter (I LOVE Kerrygold)
1/2 cup sugar (I used organic cane)
1 1/4 cups oatmeal
1 tsp coffee, liquid
2 tbsp. powdered cocoa
Pårlsocker (Swedish pearl sugar, or other large granule sugar. West coast variation) or coconut flakes (East coast version)
1 large mixing bowl
1 small spoon or melon baller
1 small bowl for rolling
Optional: Before prepping, soak oatmeal for 12+ hours, then dry in a dehydrator at 150F for 12-24 hours or overnight in the over on lowest setting for same amount of time. If doing the latter, turn oats 1-2 times.*
1. Let butter soften in bowl to make it more pliable.
2. Add oats, sugar, and coffee. Mix well until evenly blended.
3. Using spoon or melon baller, make small balls of the mix and coat in either the pårlsocker or coconut flakes. Pårlsocker is the usual covering for people on the west coast of Sweden. I only recently learned that people on the east coast of the country use coconut flakes. Do this if you can’t get the sugar. It’s not a common item on US shelves.
4. Put balls in fridge or freezer (the latter if you’re in a hurry or impatient) until stiff.
5. Enjoy and happy eating!
*Welcome to how my brain works. When I decided to make up a batch of these and post about them, I realized I could include a mention of soaking the oats. This meant posting about the oatmeal, but first writing about two things I love to put on my oats: cripsy almonds and milk kefir
I’m sharing this post at Fight back Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, Seasonal Celebration Sunday, Monday mania, Make Your Own Monday, Traditional Tuesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Real Food Wednesday, and Simple Lives Thursday!