A healthy vegan baci ball halved

Healthy Maltese Baci

December is well in, the decorations are up and the streets are sparkling. It’s the most beautiful time of year and here in Malta, families start preparing their sweets for Christmas. As a general rule during Christmas, every tea table in Malta is loaded with delicious, freshly prepared treats. These include Pudina, Coconut Balls,  Almond Pastini, Baci, Christmas Log, Imqaret, Honey Rings & a myriad of many other divine goodies. Although not all recipes are truly Maltese in nature, we like to put a Maltese twist on the popular recipes. I sure as hell look forward to all of them!

Healthy Baci placed next to a 'Healthy Malteser' Parcel box with a pink ribbon

The recipe for Baci balls is no different. Most people worldwide know these chocolate hazelnut truffles as the ‘Baci Perugina’ sweets that come wrapped in foil with a love note. Nevertheless, we like to do things a little differently here in Malta. Besides hazelnuts, the base ingredients of the traditional Maltese recipe of these delectable chocolate balls include crushed biscuits, icing sugar, and butter. We also like to add brandy, to give a signature Maltese taste.

Healthy Baci ball split in half

How to make Maltese Baci Vegan and Healthy

For my healthy Baci recipe, I substituted the biscuits, butter & sugar for cleaner options that make it a much better alternative to the traditional counterpart. Although my vegan Baci are healthy and chock full of nourishing ingredients such as hazelnuts, oats and unsweetened cocoa powder, they are by no means low in calories and should still be enjoyed in moderation. Nevertheless, they’re a fantastic alternative with zero rubbish and no one would be able to tell the difference! 

These chocolate pralines require literally 0 effort to make. You just chuck all the ingredients into the food processor and your mixture is done. The hardest thing about this recipe is literally rolling into balls and placing a hazelnut on top of each ball. A batch of 21 will only take you around 15 minutes to make! If you want to save even more time, you can also make this into squares rather than balls. 

Sam preparing hundreds of healthy Baci squares

I did that once… I was one of the sponsors for ‘The Women in Me’ event, for which I prepared over 250 servings of Vegan Chocolate Cake and around 500 servings of Baci and Kwarezimal. Since I’m in no way set up to make desserts in such large quantities, I had to find a way to save some time! And I did just that by simply pressing the Baci mixture onto the bottom of a dish, coating them in melted dark chocolate, and cutting them into squares to serve. It was definitely worth the effort as the feedback was tremendous. 

Healthy Baci placed next to a 'Healthy Malteser' Parcel box with a pink ribbon

Healthy Maltese Baci

Geraldine Bartolo
These Baci Balls are a copy-cat version of the Italian Baci from Perugina. They're one of the island's favourite treats, especially enjoyed during Christmas time 🙂
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Italian, Maltese
Servings 21 Balls
Calories 111 kcal


  • Food Processor


  • 150 g Hazelnuts leave 15g for topping
  • 50 g Oats
  • 15 g Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 75 g Xylitol
  • 60 g Cocoa Hazelnut Butter
  • 1 tbsp Agave Syrup
  • 3 tbsp Brandy reduce to 2 tbsp if you're not a fan
  • 75 g Stevia Sweetened Dark Chocolate
  • 1 tsp Coconut Oil


  • Process oats in a food processor until it turns into a flour consistency. Add hazelnuts and chop finely.
  • Add in unsweetened cocoa and sweetener and pulse for a few more seconds until all ingredients are mixed.
  • Fold in cocoa hazelnut butter, honey and brandy and mix well to form a dough. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes for the mixture to harden and be more manageable.
  • Meanwhile, place the chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until chocolate melts
  • Cut small pieces of the dough and roll into balls. Add a hazelnut on top of each ball and coat chocolate pralines in melted chocolate. Refrigerate overnight



Place stretch & seal under your Baci before coating them with chocolate so you can remove them from the plate very easily when the chocolate hardens.

If you’d like to start calculating nutrition facts yourself, there are plenty of apps that can help you do that. I personally prefer and use MyFitnessPal and you can find all my recipes listed there. You’ll find this recipe listed as ‘The Healthy Malteser Baci’.

Did you give this simple tofu recipe a go? We’d love to hear from you! Rate the recipe and leave your comments below. And don’t forget to Tag @TheHealthyMalteser on Facebook and Instagram for a chance to have your recipe featured in our stories! 

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