The tasty chokladboll, infamously once – and alas occasionally still – known as the negerboll, the humble chocolate ball when translated into English, is one of the most popular of all Swedish confections. As I have previously indicated, the Swedes possess a proclivity towards food days, and the chokladboll had its moment earlier this week: chokladbollens dag fell on Monday, 11 May. Not as prominent as Fettisdagen, marked with semlor on Shrove Tuesday; or Luciadagen, celebrated on Saint Lucy’s Day with lussekatter; or even as the less formal kanelbullens dag, with kanelbullar the chosen foodstuff upon which Swedes present themselves to the world; still chokladbollens dag is the occasion for the eating of an inordinate quantity of chokladbollar. A full listing of Swedish food days can be found at the website of the Swedish dairy company Norrmejerier.
Chokladbollar are eaten routinely at konditorier, but they are especially a favourite of children’s parties. A chokladboll is an easy thing to make. It requires no cooking, only moulding by hand. And the procedure may be modified according to personal preference: while chocolate balls are typically rolled in pearl sugar, desiccated coconut or sprinkles can also be used. This simplicity, this versatility, make the chokladboll a plausible and effortless dessert on those occasions when you think you have no dessert, but would like some.
Ingredients (makes around 30)
- 240g butter
- 160g caster sugar
- 10g vanilla sugar, or a drop of vanilla essence (preferred but optional)
- 50g cocoa powder
- 440g oatmeal
- 3-4 tablespoons of coffee
- pearl sugar, desiccated coconut, or sprinkles for rolling
- Brew the coffee, and allow it to cool.
- Mix the remaining ingredients – the butter, sugar, vanilla, cocoa powder, and oatmeal – in a bowl using your hands.
- Once the coffee is cool, add this to the mixture.
- The mixture should now be sticky enough for you to begin rolling it into balls: a size just smaller than a golf ball is typical, but this stage of the method affords you the chance to experiment, and to fashion your balls to the size of your mouth. If the mixture is too sticky, add more oats. If too dry, add more butter or coffee, or even a drop of cream.
- Roll the balls in your pearl sugar/desiccated coconut/sprinkles.
- Place the chocolate balls in an airtight container, and put this in the fridge for about an hour to firm up. This isn’t absolutely necessary: the chocolate balls may be eaten straight away. But they will taste better firm, with a richer and more consistent flavour; and they can be stored in the fridge or freezer easily for a week.