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Coconut Cacao Balls | Less butter & more taste

by Saara

The inspiration to make coconut cacao balls came from no other place than visiting Ikea. Does your Ikea store also sell those fika treats after the exit? Very sneaky. Well, I was able to resist the temptation to get a sweet fix in the middle of the day but when the cravings persisted the next day too, I had to bake them myself.

The traditional coconut cacao balls consist of only oatmeal, butter, sugar, cacao powder and coconut flakes. I like to make them a bit healthier by using fresh dates to build the dough instead of butter.

This old-school candy is such a simple and quick treat. Coconut cacao balls are no-bake and they only require 30 minutes to set in the fridge before serving.

no-bake cacao coconut balls recipe

Do you know where this no-bake treats originate?

Since coconut cacao balls were a popular treat in the kids parties growing up in the 80s, I somehow used to associate them as “retro homemade candy”. However, cacao balls are a much older tradition.

I was also under the impression that coconut cacao balls are a Swedish thing. And without a doubt they are, but at the same time in the 1940s a recipe was also published for consumers in Denmark.

Nevertheless, it was the war times that made this treat a popular bake. Flour was hard to get and back in the day oatmeal did not have the hyped status it enjoys today.

In Denmark, this raw candy is called havregrynskugle and in Sweden the recipes go by the heading chocolad bollar. Actually, the 1943 published recipe originally called them Barnens negerbollar and the chocolate balls name switch took decades to change. I’m glad that many companies are now aware and leaving racist product names, brands and marketing tactics in the past.

Oatmeal balls, chocolate balls, cacao balls and coconut ballswhich is the right name?

The beloved child has many names and I guess your choice of name for them depends on the hero ingredient. To me personally, the main kick is the coconut and I can still vividly remember the scent when my sister made these in the kitchen. I was very little and mesmerized by smelling the sweet coconut first time.

No-bake Coconut Cacao Balls | Recipe

The recipe yields 15 balls. To make the balls gluten-free, use naturally gluten-free oatmeal. Vegan coconut cacao balls are equally easy. Depending on the juicyness of the fresh dates, you can use oil to finalize the dough’s consistency instead of ghee. I like to use raw cacao powder.

no-bake cacao coconut balls recipe

Coconut Cacao Balls

Print recipe
Makes/Serves: 15 balls Prep Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat


  • 100g oatmeal
  • 9g unsweatened cacao powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • 22g sugar
  • 65g pitted fresh dates
  • 2 tbsp cold strong coffee
  • 40g coconut flakes


  1. Measure the dry ingredients in a bowl. Set the coconut flakes on a plate and set aside.
  2. Cut the fresh dates into half and remove the stone. With a hand mixer, blend the dates with strong coffee until soft and smooth. If needed, use small amount of ghee or oil to balance the consistency.
  3. Combine all ingredients together and knead until you have a consistent mass. You can use more ghee/oil and almond flour to fix the final consistency if needed. The very fresh dates you don't have to stress this.
  4. Divide the dough into 15 equals bits and roll each into a ball with your hands. Roll the balls in the coconut flakes and set on an airtight storage box when ready.
  5. When the balls are all ready, transfer them into the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.


Store the balls in the fridge, good for up to 2 weeks.

Did you make this recipe?
Tag me on Instagram @myvintagecooking

Do you have memories of cacao balls when you were a kid?

As I mentioned earlier, to me coconut cacao balls are like a healthy substitute for candy or a treat for kids’ parties. I was very surprised to find out that statistically, people are interested in these during Christmas time! Well, I guess the coconut flakes make them wintery and festive so why not. :D

I don’t make these often but when the coconut fever hits me big time, this recipe is my saviour.

I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Love, Saara

Interested in vintage candy recipes? Why not try 1910s marshmallows, they are perfectly fluffy and soft. Click the recipe from below

Vintage marshmallos recipe 1918

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