Coconut + Cayenne Cacao Balls

After a long summer vacation to Europe, complete with gelato, pastries and wine at every meal, my husband and I decided to go on a strict paleo detox upon our return home. These days I continue to try and keep sweets to a minimum but when I do crave a little treat these gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free truffles, with no added sugar, are the perfect answer. They’re so tasty I almost forget that they’re actually good for me.



These cacao balls (am I the only one who can’t say “cacao” without thinking of Portlandia?) were originally inspired by Oh, Ladycakes’ Raw Cacao Truffles. I modified the recipe a little to include coconut, followed up with a sexy bite of cayenne. If you’re dubious let me reassure you that sweet and spicy is a perfect combination. In food and in life.


Here’s the recipe:

2 cups raw almonds
1/4 cup cacao powder, plus more for coating
1 cup coconut flakes, divided
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne, depending on how badass you are
12 medjool dates, pitted and soaked for 15 minutes
1/4 cup coconut milk, full fat and from a can OR water

In a food processor fitted with the S blade, blend the coconut flakes until they’re in small enough flakes to work for coating the truffles. Set aside 1/2 cup for coating – leave the rest in the processor. Add the almonds, cacao powder and salt to the blended coconut chips. Blend into a fine meal. Add the dates and pulse until combined. Add the water and pulse until a batter starts to form. Using a small cookie scoop, drop the batter onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and freeze for 25-30 minutes. Remove from freezer and roll into round balls, then coat half the truffles with cacao powder and the other half with the ground up coconut chips – you can sprinkle additional cayenne on top if you can handle it. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week, or the freezer for long-term – or eat all of them immediately, if you so desire. Serve chilled.

Yield: approximately 24 truffles



Kathleen Shannon is an art director turned free-spirited champion for the small creative entrepreneur through her business show co-owns with her sister, Braid Creative & Consulting. Her don’t-just-dream-it-do-it style pervades everything from her clothes, to her home, to her food. She’ll follow a whim from painting larger-than-life stripes in her living room hallway, to trekking the foothills of Mount Everest – just to have a good story to tell.

  • Beth

    November 3, 2012 at 1:35 am Reply

    These look so delicious and easy to make. I have the same thing with the word cacao. haha!

  • Karen

    November 9, 2012 at 4:49 pm Reply

    How much water do you use? Didn’t See it listed as an ingredient, but saw that it was in the directions.

  • Joanna

    November 10, 2012 at 11:15 am Reply

    It says water in the directions, but I’m pretty sure it’s referring to the coconut milk. Also the cayenne pepper should probably be added with the salt.

  • Audrey @ GlutenFreeVeganLove

    February 26, 2014 at 10:39 pm Reply

    Mmmm… Love chocolate and cayenne! Will try adding some next time I make chocolate balls. Thanks!

Post a Comment