I hosted my first Fika event in Malmö, Sweden...
This past February, my friend invited me to host a Fika at her workplace to test out my latest chokladbollar recipes. I ended up making about 7 different kinds of chokladbollar! I was pretty nervous because it would be the first time testing out my recipes on people I did not know personally. Nervous and an overachiever: I just kept blending, testing, and rolling until I ended up with so many different kinds.
1. Peanut Butter and Chocolate
This was messy! I was inspired by the American Reese's pieces peanut butter cups and concocted this version as a chokladbollar. When you melt chocolate with butter, make sure the chocolate does not burn and stir a lot! You can alternatively make a water bath and put the chocolate pieces in a small mixing bowl and melt the chocolate this way. Often times in commercial kitchens, pastry chefs will do it this way. I like dark chocolate so I used dark chocolate for this particular chokladbollar. After you have finished rolling the balls you can dip each ball in the chocolate peanut butter mixture or pour it over the balls. I recommend using little cupcake paper cups to keep the liquid mess at a more manageable state because you have to store it in the fridge for about an hour before serving. The combination of peanut butter and chocolate appeals to those that love salty and sweet.
I have since updated this recipe and love it with some crushed hazelnuts as a topping sprinkled on top.
2. Classic Chokladbollar with coconut
I always make the classic for gifts, events, parties, and even just when I get the urge to make something in the kitchen at home. Nothing beats the classic! It is still my favorite chokladbollar. Going shopping in the nearby Swedish grocery store called ICA (all over Sweden), it was quite a large shop and it was a bit overwhelming to find all the ingredients. I am quite specific with my ingredient requirements: ecological and good quality. Luckily the standards for ingredients are pretty high in Sweden so one can always find quality ingredients. I used oats that were a little too big for this event though and wished I could find smaller, more finely milled oats but it was a bit of a "Lost in Translation" moment for me while I was shopping. Even though I can read Swedish pretty decently, there is still a lot for me to understand and learn! The classic chokladbollar was the selection for many of the Swedish purists that stopped by for their afternoon Fika.
3. Araksbollar (with Japanese whisky)
Before coming to Sweden, I made a batch of whisky chokladbollar because I liked the Nikka Japanese whisky I had for making slightly boozy balls. Though the event was a Fika, I knew that it was a Friday early evening so everyone would be in good moods and looking forward to their weekend. For this recipe, I swapped out the coffee for Nikka Japanese whisky and added a tiny dash of cinnamon to the mixture. Chocolate sprinkles and chopped hazelnuts were my toppings for these whisky chokladbollar but you can also just roll them in dark cocoa powder for a more dark chocolate flavor profile (I made these again about a week later with cacao as my topping). At the Fika event, these whisky balls were snatched up very quickly! I remembered there were none left halfway through the event. I usually make rum balls but started experimenting with different kinds of alcoholic spirits and Bourbon or Whisky really added a level of tastes that elevate and complement the cocoa and chocolate within the chokladbollar mixture. And who does not love a bit of boozy balls to end their week?
4. Hazelnut chokladbollar
Hazelnut and chocolate, what a winning combination of flavors! You are probably thinking about a certain Nutella spread. A while ago when I started creating different chokladbollar, I used Nutella to give the balls a little more flavor to it but I did not like how oily the jar became if you left the opened jar on the countertop. The separation of the oil and the actual chocolate was actually a bit gross for me and I sought to find out why it was separating. I found that each jar had contained a lot of palm oil and thought about the environmental damage to the rainforests in Indonesia with all the deforestation to make room for palm oil plantations. Palm oil is found in a lot of processed foods and I tend to avoid it as a personal preference because it did not add to the flavor and years of suffering through months of "haze" in Singapore from the deforestation. I could not keep supporting the demand for palm oil. I have found better alternatives for hazelnut chocolate spreads that were better quality and had more hazelnut and chocolate in them resulting in tastier balls! The hazelnut chokladbollar recipe I made for the Fika event swaps out half of the butter with a palm-oil free hazelnut chocolate spread.
5. Marzipan stuffed chokladbollar
I used to love eating Marzipan chocolates as a child for the almond sugary sweet flavors. I had a favorite German bakery that we would frequent in Jakarta to get the best cakes and marzipan chocolates. It had been years until I could eat marzipan again because it is often times cloyingly sweet and overpowering. When I lived in Brussels for a short period of time, marzipan chocolates were quite a popular treat during Christmas season. I discovered marzipan again after traveling to Copenhagen and Vienna that had more of an almond essence taste rather than just sugar. As an ode to my childhood, I created marzipan stuffed chokladbollar and rolled the balls in dark cacao powder to offset the sweet flavors for the Fika event. Most of the people that tried these balls were a bit hesitant at first because of similar experiences with marzipan being too sweet. The marzipan I used was found in the aisles of the nearby ICA supermarket in Malmö.
Tip: roll the marzipan in small balls before stuffing them inside the chokladbollar just before you roll the balls in cocoa.
6. Dairy-Free Classic Chokladbollar (with Coconut jam)
I am quite lactose-intolerant these days to products with large amounts of milk and cream in them so I was seeking to make classic chokladbollar without using any butter. In Singapore, there is a coconut jam that is called kaya and quite popular as a spread for toast. People would go to local coffee shops that serve coffee and order a kaya toast for breakfast. The jam is made with egg yolks, coconut milk, and sugar with a bit of pandan leaf flavorings. During Christmas, I hosted a Fika event in Singapore and created these kaya balls in lieu of butter as an experiment to good results so I decided to test them out for the Fika event in Malmö to see what the reactions would be. I was surprised that the response came out so well! Butter was swapped out with Kaya jam and the earthy leaf flavors from the pandan in the jam created an extra special added layer to the chokladbollar.
7. Vegan classic chokladbollar
I had been experimenting with creating a totally vegan version of chokladbollar that had a lot of flavor but did not contain any butter or dairy products. After quite a bit of research, many people had been using coconut oil in lieu of butter. I was not too thrilled about just using coconut oil since the flavor is a bit bland to me. For the Fika event in Malmö, I purchased coconut oil and coconut cream to give a more distinct coconut taste to the chokladbollar. As I was adding these two ingredients, the smell of the coconut cream reminded me a bit too much of savory Thai coconut curries which was a bit off-putting. After tasting the first ball I rolled, the taste came out ok. I felt the recipe still needed quite a bit of tweaking and perfecting. As a topping, I used both pearl sugar mixed with a bit of hazelnuts. However, the response from my lovely guests was that they did not even realize that these were vegan chokladbollar! So that was a good start on my journey to perfecting vegan versions.
I have since created 3 different kinds of vegan chokladbollar that I'm proud to add to my recipe book ranging in sweetness and ingredients.
Some photos from the event...
Tack så mycket till The Ground, Allie, Ivan, and all who came to the event!! :-)