Sweet & Salty Fudge Bombs


My mission is to tempt you with recipes for international cuisine that you can eat EVERY DAY to be strong, healthy, fit, and happy. So I usually shy away from paleo treats. However, I finally made my own version of the ever-popular fudge babies for a dinner party and decided the recipe needed to be shared. I used pecans for their mellowness and tender texture, Penzeys Natural Cocoa Powder so the fudge flavor would be deep and rich, and a touch of sea salt to balance the sweetness.

Make no mistake: These. Are Candy.

But there’s a place in life for candy… which brings me to my deal with you.

By reading this blog post you are tacitly promising to prepare these only on rare, special occasions, and only when you’re going to share them with friends. Those are my rules. If you accept these conditions, read on.

Sweet & Salty Fudge Bombs

  • 1 cup whole pecans or walnuts

  • 1 1/3 cups pitted dates, about 16 dates

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 4 tablespoons Penzeys Natural Cocoa Powder

  • to garnish: coarse sea salt, unsweetened shredded coconut (toasted or untoasted)


Place nuts, dates, vanilla, and cocoa powder in the bowl of a food processor. Process on high until the mixture forms a paste. There’s a magic moment when it transforms from disparate ingredients into something smooth, glossy, and tempting.


Wet your hands with water and shake off the excess, then roll the “dough” into 1-inch balls. Set on a baking sheet.



Sea salt: Put a few tablespoons of sea salt on a plate and dip the top of the fudge bombs into the salt. You want just 3-4 grains to stick to the top.

Coconut: Put a few tablespoons of shredded coconut on a plate and roll the fudge ball in the coconut, pressing it into the sides of the ball with your hands. (To toast coconut, spread it on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake at 350 for 5-15 minutes. Check it every 5 minutes to stir and make sure it’s not burning.)


Place fudge bombs in fridge for 30-60 minutes to firm up, then eat. But just one. Or maybe two. Share with friends!


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  • Those sound delicious! And they look awesome, too. Love the behind-the-scenes shot!

  • Jos says:

    Everytime I saw these fudge babies, always reminds me of Chocolate Covered Katie, the original creator of these popular dessert πŸ™‚

  • LG says:

    These look tasty but not until I’m finished my latest whole 30!

    I have a question for you and if you are too busy no worries
    i have a potluck coming p with my corporate world adn I know non of these people are Paleo compliant!
    What do you think I should bring to a potluck mostly to make sure I stay on track but also is tasty enough to maybe get others heads around my choice to eat Paleo? Its also outdoors so i can’t really heat anything up
    Any ideas would be appreciated!

  • Kate says:

    I hereby promise to comply by your rules as I made the (delicious) mistake of making these just for the family at home once. It only happened once and I’m embarrassed to say the family didn’t really get to partake as I scarfed most of it within 24 hours!

    PS – I’ve recently started reading your blog and am hooked. Thanks for your insights, thoughts, and humor!

    • Mel says:

      I hereby accept your pledge of reasonable behavior πŸ™‚

      When I made them last weekend, I tried a bite of the batter with a grain of sea salt, just to see how it was since I’d never made them before. Then I turned to Dave and said, “I can never make these again.”

      I ate two at the dinner party: one salted, one coconut. The rest disappeared… thank goodness.

  • LG says:

    You are the best! I am going to make the beet salad because I have a love for beets and the turkish chopped!
    Thanks for responding

    • Mel says:

      Hooray! Let me know how they go over… and have fun!

    • Steph says:

      @LG – I don’t know if you have had your potluck yet…just thought I’d throw in that I’ve made the Turkish Chopped Salad twice for potlucks at work – the first time so I’d have something paleo to eat, the second time because people asked “will you bring that salad again?” I set out sliced olives on the side, and I also bring a container of crumbled feta for the non-paleoites to add if they want. Always a huge hit.

  • Spence says:

    Making these on my next day off-tomorrow!

  • Bo Sabin says:

    I do love sweet and salt. I’ve never thought of adding sea salt and now I will! Everyday Paleo has an excellent recipe that includes almond meal and cinnamon…yummy.

    FYI, I found a package of ‘baking dates’ that comes in the form of a brick, so there is no skin to process. The ingredients say, “dates” so there is nothing added. I found this much easier to use than buying dates. I found them in a Middle Eastern grocery store.

  • George says:

    Do you know about how many 1 batch of these yields?

  • Jude says:

    These look amazing! I’m not going anywhere near them – sugar is my crack. The salt is an interesting touch – never tried it before, but bet it is delicious.

    Love the “making of” for the cookbook!

  • Sarah says:

    Made these today for a BBQ with friends. They were teasing me about paleo eating but they had to admit that these treats taste amazing!

  • Quinn says:

    Oh. My. Gosh. These are unreal. Added a little almond butter to the batter and boy were they tasty. But I agree with your comment above… can’t make them ever again!! Too dangerous to have around!

    • Mel says:

      Yes, I’ve decided that I won’t be making these again until the Thanksgiving-Christmas holiday season. That’s a fine time for a treat. Love the almond butter modification!

  • Reebs says:

    Perfect holiday treat! Thank you, you are a genius

  • deb says:

    hockey team pot luck is requesting a “desert” out of us this weekend…they are getting the bombs! Thanks!

  • Kristie says:

    Wow, I think I just found my replacement for my usual holiday treats! I have always made “Humdingers”; the ingredients are butter, sugar, dates, vanilla, pecans, and Rice Krispies. I think these will be close enough to satisfy the “what happened to the Humdingers?” crowd, yet different enough that no one will complain that they don’t taste the same. Can’t wait to test them out!

    • Mel says:

      These are perfect for that kind of thing. No one will notice they’re “paleo” — they’ll just be, like, “Oh, yum! Candy balls.” snarf snarf snarf

  • Rachelle Louise says:

    These look amazing. I haven’t gone Paleo yet (on a serious weight loss program called Ideal Protein, which is working amazingly and I think a mostly Paleo diet after I’m done will be the best plan for keeping my blood sugars in a much healthier range and maintaining the loss) but have noticed bloggers say the pancakes, cookies, treats are something to only have once in awhile.

    When I look at the ingredient list everything looks so healthy still! I realize the sugar is higher – is that the main concern? Paleo mostly likes to stay away from sugar of all kinds even natural, right? How often do you have fruit?

    I’m in a gourmet cooking group and we did Paleo as our theme for January, one lovely gal who does crossfit bought me your cookbook and brought the iced gingerbread bars for the dinner. Loved them! I will definitely use your cookbook a lot when I’m ready! Thank you!

  • Mel says:

    Yes, sugar is sugar is sugar … even when coming from “clean”, natural sources. I eat sugary/fatty paleo treats rarely — just the way I handled treats before they were paleo. Special occasions only because they’re not fuel; they’re eaten primarily because they’re delicious.

  • Lynne says:

    I have ordered your book and am anxiously awaiting its arrival!

    I am a distance cyclist, and am looking for recipes that replace my peanut butter and jam sandwiches as fuel.

    Any suggestions would be great. Loving your website. Oh, I’ve been paleo for two weeks and already am starting to feel better, just waiting for the fat to disappear πŸ™‚


  • Alma says:

    I’m having trouble getting the dates to form a paste in different recipes. They don’t want to break down. Any suggestions on how to make them more compliant πŸ˜‰ Soak them first? suggestions welcome. I can’t wait to make these.

    Thanks for any help.

    • Mel says:

      When I’ve had trouble getting to the paste stage, I just let the food processor run longer. It can take a while…

      But yeah, soaking would probably work. Just be sure to dry them really well before putting in the food processor. And if you’re not worried about 100% paleo-ness, soaking in water+liquer or rum would probably be badass.

  • Adina says:

    OMG!!! This is the perfect sweet for my CrossFit Paleo Potluck. Cannot wait to make these, they sound super delish! Thank you for sharing

  • Amber says:

    I just made these and oh…my…freakin’…oh, you know the rest. SO GOOD! I’ve been craving a bit of chocolate and needed (NEEDED) to bake something. These were way too easy. I thought for sure I had done something wrong! Oh, and so far I’ve only eaten one. Ahem, so far…

    P.S. My son has a nut allergy, so I put in a 1/4 tsp cinnamon (only to satisfy my and 1/3 cup of sunflower seeds. It was a great variation.

  • Emily says:

    Well, I do not have the restraint of the redt of you ladies! I have been craving something chewy and chocolate, and these were perfect. I ate too many of them and am trying to tell myself I still did better than having the Twix bars I was dreaming of. Ah, well. Thanks for the recipe! Definitely needs to be a holiday-only treat in my house!

  • Cathy says:

    I’m so happy that I finally have an excuse to make these and not be frightened that they might sit at my house taunting me. Taking them to my sister’s housewarming on Saturday (will make them that morning to lessen the temptation factor) to a group of people who are not paleo (some are veggies, tho). We’ll see how fast they go! I think I’ll start my stopwatch when I walk in the door…

    • Mel says:

      Right on! Making them for a get-together is the best because you get to enjoy a few without the temptation of them hanging around. Let us know how the non-paleo peeps like ’em!

  • DrM2011 says:

    I tried these today and the first few look fab, then they crumbled. What did I do wrong?

    • Mel says:

      I’m really not sure; I’ve never had or heard about that problem. Were your dates very dry? You might try throwing it back in the food processor, add about 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil, process until smooth, then try rolling them and refrigerate until firm.

      • DrM2011 says:

        Not sure how dry they might have been…they were Sunsweet dates? My food processor also is fairly small, so maybe that was the issue? Also, should I use a tablespoon to measure them out – they didn’t make anywhere near 32, LOL. However, they were DELICIOUS!!!!

  • Megan says:

    Found this on my Facebook feed today, and I’m thinking I’d love to take this for a contribution to Thanksgiving dinner πŸ™‚

    Quick question…how do you think these would freeze? I’d like to make a batch now to test them out ahead of time, but I know it would be too many to have around tempting me. I’m wondering if they would freeze ok…

    • Mel says:

      I really don’t know how they’d freeze, but you might try this to test it out…

      Put a date and a few almonds in a food processor and grind ’em up, then roll that into a ball, wrap it in plastic, and freeze it. Then defrost it and see how it comes out. If the texture and taste are OK, then you can make and freeze a whole batch.

      Alternately, you could try freezing a Larabar and defrosting it — they’re VERY similar in ingredients, so that would be an easy test, too.

  • christina says:

    Made these today for Christmas and they look great! didn’t come close to.making 32 though. maybe made 10 but not sure how.big they are. They’re chilling in the fridge now.

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  • This is a great alternative to candy for kids! Can’t wait to make these.

  • McKay says:

    These were a total crumbly mess for me too! I’m bummed I wasted so many pricey ingredients on them! I added coconut oil and then they were an oily, crumbly mess. πŸ™ I followed the directions to a “T”! Any ideas?

    • Mel says:

      It’s impossible for me to know without having been in the kitchen with you πŸ™‚ I’m sorry! I know it’s frustrating when things go wrong…

      I can tell you that my “dough” gets crumbly before it gets smooth, so it may be that you didn’t run it in the processor long enough. Another possibility is that the dough was cold, so wasn’t coming together in the bowl of the processor, but will stick together when you start rolling. The heat of your hands helps the fat in the nuts make the dough come together. If you still have the dough, throw it back in the food processor for a while — like, 5-10 minutes — then try squeezing it in your hands to see if it sticks together.

      • Jude says:

        I tried a very similar recipe but the pecan nuts were processed a bit before you add the other ingredients. I haven’t had any problems. I never use hard, dry dates. I always squeeze the mixture firmly in my hands to make the balls so they don’t crumble.

  • Gina says:

    I made these last night to prepare for today which is my first day OFF of Whole 30! Yay!! I also had a lot of problems getting the balls to form! However—I added roughly a Tablespoon of full fat Coconut Milk into the food processor to make them a bit more sticky and it worked GREAT! Thanks for the great recipe! I’m a little nervous to eat ANYTHING just coming off of this amazing 30 day challenge so I’m trying really hard to “be good”.
    Thanks Mel!! (ps….I’ve been reading your blog for months and recently came across one which says you are from Orwigsburg…I’m from Hazleton…and I’m NEVER going back πŸ˜› )

    • Mel says:

      That’s really weird — I haven’t heard of anyone having that problem until recenlty. Hmmm… Anyway, thanks for the tip!

      And yeah, I don’t have plans to return to O’burg either. With luck, I’ll be living in Prague for a few years. WOOT!

  • Kara says:

    These will be perfect to make during the blizzard that’s coming our way tomorrow! Nothing beats cooking up a storm on a snowy day πŸ™‚

  • Kate says:

    Oh. My. Goodness!
    These are divine – a perfect little pick-me-up for Paleos and non-paleos alike. I made them for an after dinner treat and three of my guests swore black and blue that they were expensive chocolate truffles. No-one believed they didn’t have heaps of sugar or fat in them πŸ™‚ Well done!

  • Susan says:

    I added cocnut oil to mine when I couldn’t get it all to stick together. They we fantastic! I’m making them again Wednesday for a dinner party.

  • Mary Beth says:

    Hi Mel! I am on day 16 of my Whole30 and have read ISWF and Well Fed – love your cookbook and your recipes by the way…it is the reason my first two weeks have been fun, exciting, stress-free, and overall a breeze! My love for cooking has increased exponentially!

    Quick question for you – for Easter this weekend I’m going home for a large family gathering and have been asked to bring a dessert. Only my parents know about my switch to a paleo-lifestyle and I really don’t want the scrutiny of my siblings and relatives. Trying to find a paleo and W30-compliant recipe that I could enjoy but also is “disguised” as “normal” food. These fudge bombs seem to fit the bill and sound really easy to make – is it compliant to use this? I haven’t had any struggles with chocolate or the sugar dragon, and I would probably just eat one, if any. I’m catering to a group of adults and children so this seemed like a good recipe.

    If not, could you please direct me to a dessert recipe that’s W30-compliant and would feed approx. 15 people? Thanks in advance!!! -Mary Beth-

    • Mel says:

      Congratulations on your Whole30! That’s awesome.

      These are not Whole30 compliant, unfortunately. The ingredients are all OK, but when they come together, they make a sum that’s more than it’s parts and they fall squarely in the “sex with your pants on” arena outlined by Melissa and Dallas of Whole9. http://whole9life.com/2011/10/sex-with-your-pants-on/

      The only “dessert” type things that are Whole30 approved are fruit and whipped coconut cream. Any paleo treats made with almond flour or coconut flour and sweetened with dates are out. Sorry to be the bad news cop!

      What about fresh fruit with coconut whipped cream and toasted coconut flakes?

      • Mary Beth says:

        Thank you! I was afraid that would be your answer, but it’s understandable.

        I think I will go with the fresh fruit bowl topped with coconut whip, I’ve actually already made that when I read it in your cookbook and it is truly simple and delicious.

        Thanks for your quick response! You, Dallas, and Melissa are such a wealth of knowledge and creative ideas – I love visiting both of your websites!

  • These look delish! I am glad you made me promise though and I actually like the bit about sharing with friends. I am currently having a killer sweet craving, but I think that was enough to push me through. So now to plan a gethering so I can make them…. πŸ™‚

  • Katia says:

    Great recipe! Can you replace the cocoa powder with cacao powder?

  • Julie says:

    These look so yummy! And healthy, too πŸ™‚

    Could these be frozen after the balls are made? That way, I can always have some in the freezer for a chocolate craving.

    • Mel says:

      I can’t think of any reason why they couldn’t be frozen, but I’ve never tried it myself. You can experiment: just pop one in the freezer, then defrost it and see how it holds up. If you decide to freeze a batch, I recommend you put them on a baking sheet with space between them, put the sheet in the freezer ’til they’re frozen, then put them in a ziplock freezer bag. Freezing them on the baking sheet will keep them from sticking together.

  • Sher says:

    I made these with walnuts and they were so good! I also rolled them with coconut and a dab of sea salt on top. I’m on a low carb diet, so if anyone could figure out the net carbs in each 1″ ball, that would be awesome. I plan on eating 1 a day, until gone. So thankful for this yummy and easy recipe!

  • Simone Wiens says:

    I just made these, and they are absolutely delicious. I toasted my pecans and added 2 Tablespoons of fresh Clementine juice. It was really hard not to eat the entire recipe in one sitting by myself. The only thing that stopped me is knowing I will share them with Friends tonight as we celebrate New Years Eve.

  • Kim says:

    But what are the nutrition facts for this? Mainly, how many carbs does it have?

  • Deanna Wiley says:

    Have not tried yet – but these look awesome. Just got Well Fed 2 and tried Sunrise Scramble. As everything else in you books, it was amazing πŸ™‚ Your recipes are fantastic – your cookbooks are the first ones that I am not afraid to try anything in them, because so far every single recipe that I have tried has been delicious (not something I can say for most cookbooks) Keep um coming!

  • El says:

    These are beyond dangerously delicious! I’ve already had to hide them from my husband so there will be a few left to take to a dinner party tonight.
    I used macadamias in place of the pecans and they work really well.
    Thanks for all the great recipes

  • Beth says:

    Can you use a different nut than the walnut or pecan? Do you think almonds would work?