Some days it seems that Dolly eats far better than Sylvia. Dolly is often "hungy" and seems to like more foods than Sylvia. This morning I despaired of getting her to eat much breakfast. I took a bag of grapes for her to eat once we were in the car. Sylvia was more interested in the naked vine which she told me looked like a little bracelet or even like a dinosaur. At least I could give her one of the dried fruit and coconut balls that we made yesterday.
The balls are actually called Dried Fruit and Coconut Candies but I find the word "candy" is just not mine. Too American. Too sweet! So I say balls! I found the recipe in The Joy of Vegan Baking while idly browsing. It seemed perfect for this fortnight's Cookbook Challenge. The theme is Outdoors. Picnic anyone?
Unfortunately the weather has scuppered my attempts at a picnic. But like in one of my favourite childhood books, The (Berenstein) Bear's Picnic, home is sometimes the best place for a picnic. However, if the weather was kind, one of my favourite foods to take along to an outdoor gathering is a sweet ball rolled in coconut. Usually involving chocolate. But not always.
These ones just had dried fruit, nuts and coconut. Simple. Just as well. I can't do complicated right now. Even so I had to unpack the food processor to make these. Half the kitchen is in boxes while some benches are remade and moved. I had planned to wait over the few days the work would take. Then a delay set in. I decided I couldn't wait. I was snacking on shop-bought muesli bars. I knew I could make better.
An under-equipped kitchen with not much bench space was no barrier to my need for home made sweet treats. I had contemplated making these while Sylvia was sleeping. She had other ideas. It is a mystery why a toddler who has been up a lot of the previous night will not have a nap. Less of a mystery is the child's delight in helping out. She loves cooking. Who wouldn't?
I had so little room on the bench I first thought we could assemble the balls on the couch amid jigsaws and cookbooks. That idea didn't last long. Far too messy. Then I tried the highchair. Sylvia was determined to help me roll the balls in coconut but it was too far for her to reach up. Finally we got a little coffee table. Oh what a mess! But she had a lovely time. Sylvia even loves to help sweep up afterwards - a useful skill when you spill so much - though I am not sure Zinc would agree when chased with the broom.
These balls make delicious seem virtuous. Soft and sweet in the way of dried fruit with just a little texture from the coconut and nuts. They reminded me of similar balls I used to love at my university food co-op and have since encountered at health food shops. They are as hippy-dippy as Jesus-sandals and granola. The sort of treats that you wont feel guilty eating for breakfast. They are not E's cuppa tea but let's just say that Sylvia and I had to exercise self-control when faced with the mixture.
To see what other outdoors food has been made on the Cookbook Challenge go to the community page.
Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Bread and Roses for International Women’s Day
This time two years ago: Broccoli Burgers are Winners
This time three years ago: Berry good oaty pancakes
Dried fruit and coconut balls
From The Joy of Vegan Baking
makes about 40 balls
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup dried dates*
1 cup sultanas or raisins*
1 cup walnuts
1 cup shredded coconut
2-3 tbsp fruit juice
1 cup dessicated coconut, for rolling
Place apricots, dates, sultanas (or raisins) and walnuts in food processor and pulverise until gritty. Add shredded coconut and blend further. Add 2 tbsp of juice and the mixture should come together into a ball. Add an extra tablespoon of juice if needed to bring the mixture together.
Tip the dessicated coconut into a shallow bowl. Pinch small amounts to roll into walnut sized balls. Roll each ball in the coconut so they are evenly coated. Enjoy!
Update March 2012 - am still making these regularly - last week made these with prunes instead of dates and cranberries instead of sultanas or raisins. Loved it, though I think it was slightly less sweet and less squidgy without the dates.
On the stereo:
Livin' fear of James Last: Nurse with Wound