I’ve never got the craze around energy and granola bars. They all tend to feel so heavy and always sooo unsatisfying.
Yesterday I had one that was especially bad. And that got me thinking about the energy bar, rather energy ball from my childhood, the murmura ladoo or puffed rice ladoo. Intensely caramelised and crisp, these always felt light and 100% satisfying. I loved the one’s my nani’s guy in Jamshedpur used to make. Hot off the pan in one corner of Bistupur Market I would devour a couple of them in one go (read 5).
This morning I took inspiration from those classic energy balls from my childhood and gave it a little swag with pecan, cacao nibs and butter roasted puffed rice. It goes brilliantly with a cup of hot black coffee. And just as the classic, always light, but these are 110% more satisfying.
Give these make ahead balls, bars and cookies a go. They take not more than 25 minutes to make.
Pecan, Cacao Nibs and Butter Roasted Puffed Rice Ladoos, Cookies and Bars
- 30 grams Puffed Rice
- 40 grams Pecan Nuts or whatever nut you fancy, broken into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons Butter
- 10 grams Cacao Nibs
- 60 grams Jaggery, shaved or grated
- 2 tablespoons Water
- 2 tablespoons Chocolate Sprinkles
In a high walled non-stick pan melt some butter. As soon as it stops bubbling pop the puffed rice and pecan nuts in. Roast them on a low flame until the puffed rice takes on a brownish tinge and is intensely crisp. until you get to that point, remember to constantly stir the mixture in the pot. Once done, reserve for later.
Set the same pan back on a low flame again, pop in the shaved or grated jaggery along with the water. Give it a good stir making sure the jaggery melts completely in the water. Once this is done strain the water and jaggery mixture. This way you get all the impurities out of the jaggery.
Pour the strained jaggery and water mixture back into the pan. Now for the next 8-10 minutes keep stirring the mixture over a low flame. What you are trying to achieve is an intensely caramelised mixture that achieves a hard ball state. Now how to get to that? What I do is after the 5 minute mark, every now and then, I drop a drop of hot jaggery into a bowl of cold water. If it dissolves, it’s not there yet. If it dissolves a little and coats the bottom of the bowl lightly, it’s not there yet. If it doesn’t dissolve, but forms a soft sphere when you press it together with your fingers in the water, you are getting very close. If it doesn’t dissolve and forms a sphere in the water that’s hard like candy, you are there. Immediately switch off the flame and pop the mixture of roasted pecan nuts and puffed rice along with the cacao nibs and give it a vigorous stir. Make sure all the ingredients are coated well with the caramelised jaggery.
Now with slightly wet hands take 2 teaspoons of the mixture and roll it between you palms to make a ladoo. Press the ladoo to form a cookie. Or take 4 teaspoons of the mixture and roll it into a log over a chopping board to make bars.
Once all these are done, sprinkle some chocolate sprinkles on top and press it on so that they don’t budge.
Keep in an air tight container for later or devour immediately. They are yum when they are still warm.