Friday, April 1, 2011

Awesome Sweet Snack Recipe

Combining a couple of recipes in my brain last night, I came up with the following:

Fruit-Nut Balls

1/2 C walnuts
1/2 C almonds
1/2 C prunes (sliced in half)
1/2 C dates (pits removed and quartered)
2 T cocoa powder
2 T shredded coconut (plus extra for rolling)
1/2 t cinnamon
~1 T coconut oil

1: assemble your ingredients. Make sure they're the best-quality ingredients you can find, such as nuts and fruits purchased at your local farmers' market. :) And in case you were wondering, that's unsweetened coconut. Get your food processor down from the top of the fridge.

2: process the almonds and walnuts until they're a crumbly meal. They don't need to be powder, but there shouldn't be too many large chunks. Remove from the processor into a small bowl.

3: process the dates and prunes until they're finely ground. Since I used very dry dates and prunes, this was more of a fruity crumbly meal than a paste. It'll be okay in the end. Just make sure that you have only fine pieces.

4: add the cinnamon, cocoa, and coconut and pulse a few times. Add the nuts and coconut oil and mix well to blend. With the addition of the oil, the texture becomes more like a crumbly paste. Check to see whether it will hold together in a ball. If so, you're good. If not, add a little more coconut oil until a cohesive texture is reached.

5: form heaping tablespoons into balls, compacting well with your hands. Roll in coconut to coat. The balls can be eaten directly, or stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

I've got some ideas for the next time I give this a try. Chia seeds would be a good add-in. I'm wondering whether I could also grind some cacao nibs with the nuts. At some point, a tablespoon or two of dark rum is going to be added to this. I love the idea of rum balls based on fruits & nuts rather than vanilla wafers and sugar. The possibilities are nigh-endless: apricot for the prunes and macadamia nuts for the almonds. Pecans. Hazelnuts. Entirely almonds. A bit of orange peel in with the fruits. Or some ginger and a touch of molasses. Mold the mixture using dinosaur-shaped cookie cutters instead of simply into spheres. :) Give it a go, and tell me how your experiment comes out!

(And, yes, my brain keeps harkening back to South Park on this, and perhaps someday I'll be able to come up with a better title than "Fruit-Nut Balls".)

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