Sunday, February 8, 2015

Fridge Chocolate Balls

I have, over the years, become increasingly suspicious about having plastic tools in the kitchen. Plastic is relatively soft does not age well, it seems to crumble after a few years, and it makes me worry about getting those crumbles into my food. I have gotten rid of most of it by now. I am, though, rather fond of plastic bags, which are disposable. As long as plastic is properly recycled (which we do) and not put in garbage dumps or ending up as huge plastic islands in the sea, I am fine with it.

Lately, I have replaced my Melitta filter holders, which were plastic and had to be replaced every so often because they started to change colour and crack. On Ebay, one can still get the oldfashioned filter holders in china ware and aluminium. I got one of each at real bargain prices, the china one doesn´t even look used at all. Very happy with that. I hear that aluminium is supposed to not be good for cooking in, but I use it for my cold brew coffee (haven´t tired of that, love it in combination with milk - makes a very potent cafĂ© au lait).

When I´m feeling the urge for something sweet and chocolaty, I often make these candy balls that used to be called negerboll when I was a child. I am pretty sure the name had nothing to do with African-Americans at all, but was probably a loanword meaning "black ball". However, in the 80´s, as we became more culturally oriented towards the Americans rather than other Europeans, the word became increasingly offensive. Now, it´s impossible and in my cooking book from 1994 it goes by the name Chocolate Balls. I have seen similar recipes in England called Fridge Balls, which is rather apt, I think. Whatever, it is a great recipe.

Take 100 grams of butter, room temperature soft, mix with 150 ml sugar, then add 1½ teaspoon vanilla sugar, 3 tablespoons cocoa, and 500 ml rolled oats. Splash some water, coffee or liqueur (I favour arak, but citrus is also good) to make it stick together enough so that you can make balls of it. Personally, I make half a batch as I can´t leave a single one for the next day, and I just fridge them for a bit as they are. You can also roll them in pearl sugar, shredded coconut or stick a toothpick in them and dip them in melted chocolate, which makes them prettier if you plan on offering them to guests. I pretty much keep them all to myself, haha!


  1. Words are strange. I once heard an absolute meltdown over the use of the word "niggardly", which has absolutely nothing to do with race or color. It got ugly, but ignorance is an ugly thing :(

    I have a recipe which seems similar. We call them "mice" -no idea where the name came from. I'll have to post it sometime. Mine aren't shaped into balls but are just dropped onto a plate.

    1. I used to be very upset about the falling out of favour of the word negerboll, but I have mellowed. There are more important things to worry about, I guess. I think many were (and are) upset because this was one of the things we did in pre-school, something we associate with childhood, innocence, and pretty girl-teachers. I still remember taking my first batch home to mum, treating my siblings to something I had almost "cooked" myself. It doesn´t take much to make six-year-old very proud! ;-)

      I hadn´t heard "niggardly", but my translation dictionary has. I guess words come and go all the time, and every generations looses and adds some. Meanings shift too, like the Swedish word "spendera" which means to use money, but has, because of the more recent influence from English, also come to be used in connection with time, "spendera tid", which still sounds very odd (a direct translation of "to spend time", really) to my ears, but my eight years younger sister uses it like that without a thought.

      I´d be very interested in "mice". When those chocolate urges assaults, one must have a plan! :-D

    2. "Niggardly" is a perfectly good word, though, and I do resent the ignorance of some people who don't understand their own language. Try as you might, you cannot avoid offending the ignorant no matter what you do; and I wish folks would check the facts before unleashing their wrath. I'm in favor of avoiding offense, but I'm also in favor of education.

    3. I absolutely agree. But in the conflict between those who take offence and those who advocate education, we are on the loosing side. "Niggardly" is probably as dead and discarded a word as "negerboll" and we just have to live with it. [shrugging]

    4. Actually, it's had an upsurge in use here as people learn what it actually means. And, of course, in comedy routines. Much discussion revolves around how to handle the need to be polite, and the desire to avoid seeming racist at all costs. So if you use a word without meaning any offense and someone takes offense out of ignorance but insists their feelings of being offended trump your intent or the facts, where does that leave you? Apologies are often seen as an admission that your original comment was racist. People have lost their jobs over this. We can abandon "niggardly" easily enough, it's true, but there'll be something else folks are upset about tomorrow. I think the discussion over this word has helped the conversation, but the stupid part of it still hurts. You never know when some perfectly innocent (and innocently meant) word will be taken wrong and you'll be accused of being a horrible person for using it. I'd just rather not have a history of words being abandoned because people who don't know any better refuse to be corrected. There's enough actual racism to fight without getting distracted by unrelated words. -But I'm still fighting word use battles as a 70s-era feminist, so what do I know ;)

    5. Well, talking about feminism, in Sweden we have of late a new gender in our language. The word for he is "han", the word for she is "hon", the words for it is "den" or "det". But now, we have the word "hen" which can refer to a male, a female or a person who does not identify with either. This is an invention by the feminists and the hbtq-folk (to avoid offending women when you can mean a person of either sex, and offending queers that identify with neither).

      It has had much success among journalists, and as you know, they are the main shapers of language. I bet there are already youngsters who do not know this word hasn´t always existed, but it was no more than five years, I´m sure, that I heard it for the first time. As you can imagine, this greatly offends those who wish to safeguard the Swedish language (and often refer to the lack of education). But, you know, even the husband, who disliked this much (while being a great supporter of women, he has come across feminist scientists who use "herstory" instead of "history" in academic work and that is well over the line for him) in the beginning, has started to cave.

      Yes, it is easy enough to offend. Some who innocently and unconsciously do, get more trouble than they deserve, but times they are a-changing and perhaps we have to think of it as part of being educated to keep up with them.

    6. I'd love a new word, a neutral singular pronoun, as I oppose a strictly binary view of gender. Here we've taken to his/her or to use of "their" even for a singular case. I don't like "herstory" as an alternative for "history" because I think it misses the whole point, but I like it as a word for a feminist perspective on a subject. I just wish the conversation were more informed. Here "hen" is a female chicken lol

    7. Being offended by "history'" is pretty much the same thing as being offended by "niggardly", from where I sit. I know women offended by being called "pretty" (or the Swedish equivalent) as they feel it is disparaging and reducing. You can´t win, it´s all about how words have been used, by whom, in what context. Language is not a natural science - and the natural sciences are not as exact and positivist as they used to be, look what´s happening in physics!

      A few years ago, pre-school teachers wanted a new, positive word for the female genital, and someone came up with the word "snippa" as an equivalent to the male "snopp" (which is non-offensive). It has been in the Swedish Academy´s book of words since 2006, and without it, this song (aimed at 6-year-olds in a television series about the body - they made songs about all body parts) could not have been made:
      I´m quite proud of it!

    8. "Being offended by "history'" is pretty much the same thing as being offended by "niggardly", from where I sit" Exactly! It reveals a complete misunderstanding about the word.

      omg, that video! loved it. We have nothing even close here. And I mean not _even_ close. As I understand it, if a modest swimsuit covers the body part, our teachers aren't allowed to discuss it with 6 year olds. At that age they talk about "private parts" "down there" and the focus seems to be on the distinction between good touching and bad touching. Looking around online I can't find anything remotely like what y'all offer for our kids. Sad.