Dark chocolate is one of those indulgences that you can allow yourself to have – free of guilt, might I add! – when you’re following a Paleo lifestyle. This is primarily because it lacks the dairy products found in milk chocolate, and the unsweetened varieties have virtually no sugar. This being the case, it’s also pretty bitter-tasting to anyone who is accustomed to the lighter stuff… but let’s just suffice it to say that I am a dark chocolate fiend. And I take full advantage of the fact that I can still eat it. I also happen to love coconut. And pineapple. And the delightful intermingling of all three flavors together. And today I had a bit of a sweet craving, which led to some interesting things in the kitchen…
For some crazy reason, I really wanted a small bite of something that reminded me of a pina colada. A little coconut, plus a little pineapple. And it had to be covered in dark chocolate, because there’s absolutely no other alternative (duh!). So the brainstorming began, and off to the grocery I went. And I ended up finding some dried, unsweetened, unsulfured, baby sweet pineapple, specifically for this mission. (Side note: I didn’t even know baby sweet pineapples existed until last week, when I saw some in the produce section. And lo and behold, it turns out that the dried kind are the perfect ingredient for this recipe!)
To make these decadent little bites of tropical paradise, you have to blend the pineapple pieces in a food processor along with some unsweetened shredded coconut, raw honey, a bit of palm shortening, a pinch of tapioca starch, and coconut oil. Lots of coconut oil. The coconut oil is absolutely essential in this recipe, and cannot be substituted – not just to maintain the flavor profile of the final result, but because it hardens when it gets cold and therefore is the glue that holds these babies together!
Once everything is chopped and blended together pretty evenly, you’ll have to squeeze what looks like a very loose but semi-sticky “dough” together with your fingers and palms into golf-ball sized little spheres. The coconut oil will melt and drip all over as you do this, but I promise, it does hold its shape once you set it down. Don’t worry if they’re not perfectly round (did you see mine??), they’ll still taste the same!
After you’re done rolling, you’ll have to freeze them for about 15 minutes to get them really cold, before you can dip them all in freshly melted Baker’s unsweetened dark chocolate. (You can definitely use a different kind if this is too bitter for you, but I think the sweetness on the inside of these bites is a nice complement to the bitterness of the chocolate.) Right after dipping, when they’re still sticky, would be a good time to sprinkle them with whatever toppings you’d like. The chocolate will then need to harden up a bit before you can handle them, so a final jaunt into the refrigerator will be required. I left mine naked for a few photos, took a bite out of one because I couldn’t wait any longer to taste it, and then finally decided to sprinkle them with some simple coconut shreds (shown in cover photo at top).
These indulgent little confections are not at all difficult to make and they look fantastic when they’re done, especially if you decorate them with extra goodies! These would even make an awesome DIY foodie gift… if you can avoid eating them first, which will be pretty difficult. And on that note, you should probably make some extra… you know, “just in case”…
- Line a small baking sheet or plate with parchment paper.
- In a food processor, pulse the shredded coconut and baby sweet pineapple pieces together until evenly mixed.
- Add the coconut oil, raw honey, and palm shortening. Pulse thoroughly until combined.
- Add the pinch of tapioca flour, and pulse again until combined.
- The "dough" will be very loose but sticky at this point. Gather a chunk of it with your fingers and squeeze it together tightly in your hand (coconut oil will drip out, but that's okay). Shape it quickly and gently into a golf-ball sized little sphere. Place on the parchment paper.
- Repeat with the rest of the "dough", for approximately 8 balls.
- Place baking sheet into the freezer for 15 minutes.
- During the last 5 minutes of freezer time, begin melting the chocolate according to package directions, either in a small bowl or a double boiler.
- Remove the baking sheet from the freezer. Gently lift and place each ball (one at a time) into the melted chocolate. Use a fork to carefully roll it around. Once the ball is completely covered in chocolate, use the fork to gently lift it out of the chocolate, and allow the excess to drip off for a few seconds.
- Carefully place the chocolate-covered ball back onto the parchment paper. Sprinkle with any desired toppings, or leave them plain.
- Repeat with the remaining balls.
- Place the entire sheet of chocolate-covered bites into the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes before handling or eating.
- Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
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