Chocolate Covered Coconut Balls. Maine Needhams Remembered

Choc Coconut Balls

Maine Needhams & A Chocolate Coconut Balls Recipe

I grew up in a small town in Maine called Lewiston. Across the river in our twin city of Auburn, a company called Seavey’s made chocolate covered coconut bars called Needhams.
I LOVED Needhams. When I moved away it was always a treat to get one whenever I came back for a visit.
Needhams, like Moxie are a Maine thing. The bars were made with coconut, potatoes, lots of sugar and were covered in dark chocolate. Not a healthy snack but delicious nonetheless! A real special treat! But one year I discovered that Seavey’s had closed! I could no longer get my Needham fix when I visited Maine!


However Needhams were so popular that people tried to reproduce the recipe.
Some stores even sold Needham replicas. And some were rather good.

Healthy Sugar Alternatives

When I started studying nutrition, I recognized that I needed to eliminate the overuse of sugar from my diet. I ate way too much. So I looked for ways to eliminate sugar from my recipes without going to artificial sweeteners. That led me to recipes that use natural alternative sweeteners, like honey or maple syrup. Keep in mind that natural sweeteners are still sugars. Using healthier sweeteners so you can keep eating too many sweets is not going to be healthy. Using artificial sweeteners is even worse since they tend to be sweeter than sugar and they keep you addicted to the need for sweets so you never get out of the cycle. The goal is to reduce the consumption of sugar.

Using sweets as treats on a weekly basis rather than a daily basis is how I started weaning myself from sugar. And using maple syrup or honey instead of sugar gave me a double whammy.
When you use maple sugar or honey, 1. you use less than sugar and 2. each has added healthy nutrients.

But if you want bang for your buck go with maple syrup. Susan O’Brien compares various sugar sources on her Hail Merry Blog and states: “Maple syrup has the highest nutritional payload of these sugars due to its zinc and manganese content. Zinc is necessary for immune health…”

Being a New Englander I love the taste of maple syrup so transitioning to its use was no problem for me.

Imagine my delight when I discovered a recipe for Chocolate Covered Coconut Balls described as Coconut Bliss Balls on the Mind Body Green Website. The sweetener that Zoe Keller uses is none other than maple syrup!

I knew I would love them even before I made them. I loved all the ingredients.

And the minute I bit into one I was transported to my youth when I enjoyed that first bite of a Needham.

This Chocolate Coconut Balls Recipe is so much healthier than the Needhams of my youth and now I can get my “Fix without the Guilt”!!

Chocolate Coconut Balls Recipe

Makes about 10 balls

  • 1 cup finely shredded coconut
  • 3 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 3 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • sea salt


Combine coconut, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract in a blender or food processor. Blend until well combined into a thick ‘crumb,’

Use your hands to mold the coconut crumb into bite-size balls. They should stick together nicely. Place the balls on a piece of wax paper.

Melt chocolate chips and use a spoon to gently drizzle the melted chocolate over each coconut ball. You want enough to fully cover the top and sides of each ball, but not so much that it makes a large pool around the base.

Sprinkle each ball with a bit of sea salt while the chocolate is still moist.

Refrigerate the balls for two hours (to harden) and enjoy!

My thoughts about the chocolate coconut balls recipe: I kept mine refrigerated to keep them hard. You can take them out of the fridge for a bit to let them soften but if they are left out for a long time they will crumble when you pick them up. I also rolled mine in the chocolate and then carefully scooped them out and placed them on wax paper. I didn’t use any sea salt.

I made these as a weekend treat for guests and had to make a second batch. They were a hit.

If you are a Needham fan like me and like this recipe as much as I do, let me know or better yet Pin it!

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