Among the host of borrowed Scandinavian terms echoing through the yoga studios of north London, you’ll probably occasionally hear ‘Fika‘. It refers to the Swedish practice of taking a social coffee break, often with something sweet, or even savoury on the side. It could be a meeting, or it could be casual, but it goes hand in hand with Sweden’s addiction to nuclear grade coffee and penchant for inventing excuses to eat sweet things.
You won’t find any well-stocked coffee place that doesn’t feature a plate of chockladbollar on the counter, and they’re a perennial favourite of Swedish people of all ages. There’s even a pretty good mass market version available, though the home made ones are invariably better.
They tend to be rolled in either desiccated coconut (my preference and suggestion here) or pearl sugar but, like any of the universal fika favourites, there are a million little variations whizzing around.
This recipe is extremely straightforward and requires no baking whatsoever, and if there are any children in the vicinity, I suggest roping them in to help.
We used espresso coffee in ours, but you can just make a very strong cup of whatever you’d typically have for coffee, even if it’s just instant.
You will need:
- 100g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 100g granulated/caster sugar
- 1tsp fine salt
- 1tbsp vanilla sugar (or a teaspoon of vanilla essence)
- 3tbsp cocoa powder
- 2tbsp strong coffee
- 300ml rolled oats
- Some desiccated coconut or pearl sugar to roll the balls in
Put the butter, sugars and salt together in a bowl, and whisk til light and fluffy. If you’re using vanilla essence, wait the mixture is well mixed, then add it.
Add the cocoa powder and mix til completely combined.
Add the oats and coffee and mix well again.
Take a generous tablespoon-sized lump of the mixture and gently roll it into a sphere between the palms of your scrupulously clean hands. Empty a little coconut or sugar into a bowl, and roll the balls around in it til they’re evenly covered, before setting them aside on a plate and repeating til you’ve used up all your mixture. This recipe will do you somewhere between 15-25 balls, depending on the size you need.
Pop them in the fridge til you need them (probably for a minimum of about thirty minutes) and, if you have time, give them half an hour or so to come up to room temperature before serving.
All that remains is to get together a few nice people, get the coffee on and get stuck in.