Thursday 10 March 2011

CC Dried fruit and coconut balls

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


  1. Johanna, you know I love these, what with my current ball obsession and all. I'm so glad you tried an apricot snack! I've always loved the tangy of dried apricots and will certainly have to try something like this soon :)

    P.S. Did you use supermarket dried pitted dates here? And they worked?

  2. least Dolly is setting a good example for Sylvia! These energy balls sound absolutely delicious. What a great energy-dense snack!

  3. They sound lovely Johanna and I bet Sylvia had a whale of a time. I bet you can't wait until the kitchen is back to normal again :)

  4. Oh wow they look amazing - and really really round!

  5. I must have been a really "mean mom" as my daughter often suggests. I never let my kids eat in the car. Not so much because of the mess but more because I have a terrible phobia about choking.

    That said, sorry I couldn't help it, those treats look delicious. I think it's wonderful that Sylvia enjoys helping in the kitchen even a makeshift one at that:) Not only are you preparing a healthy treat but a lasting memory.

    Thanks for sharing, Johanna...

    P.S. So sorry about the books...

  6. Your post has made me laugh! Defo a saint my dear ;0)
    PS - The Berenstein Bear's Picnic was one of my faves too!

  7. What a great recipe! I agree that these suit "balls" much more than candy. I'm currently living in America and try to avoid using that word! Hippy food is the way forward :)

  8. yum! definitely making them this weekend! I'm going raw for the next two weeks...

  9. ooooh these look like the perfect little snack :)

  10. agree totally on the name change!

  11. You know I love posts with Sylvia in them! :) And these are what Mr NQN grew up eating and for birthdays they got a large one of these!

  12. They look great. I love the idea of all the squishy fruit holding it all together. Yummy and so healthy

  13. Thanks Hannah - yes I did use supermarket dried dates - was a bit worried I needed medjool but ordinary was fine - and tasted excellent with dried apricots - as everything does!

    Thanks Joanne - dolly does indeed set a good example - just wish Sylvia would take notice :-)

    Thanks Jacqueline - Sylvia has loved some extra space in the kitchen - just as well seeing there is less space elsewhere - I'll be very happy to have it all back together again

    Thanks Cookies - you should have seen Sylvia's efforts at rolling balls - she especially enjoyed the ones she moulded over the food processor :-)

    Thanks Louise - some days I don't have the time to let Sylvia's breakfast go on all day so I ake myself feel better by giving her a bit extra in the car - I think she loves the independence - and she loves being a big girl in the kitchen too (no worries about the books)

    Thanks Chele - no saint - just taking the easy way :-) glad you too remember the Berenstein Bears - one of the most memorable lines of my childhood reading was "uh oh dad hear comes the rain"

    Thanks Hazel - Candy just brings so much sugar to mind without all the nostalgia that lollies has for me

    Thanks Carla - this is the sort of raw food I could eat and eat and eat - good luck with your raw fortnight

    Thanks Lisa - indeed they are excellent for hoiking about in my bag for snacks

    Thanks Anh - balls it is!

    Thanks Lorraine - the big birthday ball made me laugh - but there are a lot worse things to eat as a kid - Sylvia can't get enough of them

    Thanks Katie - squishy is such a good word - just right for the ball of fruit

  14. I am amazed you managed those in such a non-kitchen environment! They look terrific and I bet they taste fabulous with all those dried fruits (which I am surely missing from my diet right now!).

  15. I hope the kitchen comes together again quickly so you can start enjoying your space again. I'm so impressed that you made these without the use of your benches!

    It looks like Sylvia had a lovely time making a mess and helping you out, and even dolly enjoyed your balls!

  16. Dried fruits and nuts just goes so well together. I love how you used items that are always found in my pantry. Since I have a whole bag of desiccated coconut left after making lamingtons yesterday, I think I really should make this!

  17. Thanks Ricki - I would miss dried fruit too - I love these balls because they taste like dried fruit

    Thanks C - fortunately I have a small patch of bench top left but it is well used right now - and Sylvia doesn't mind lacking bench tops at all!

    Thanks Kayla - I was struck by the recipe because it was easy and used stuff I usually have in the pantry - and I had a bag of walnuts I needed to use up - but great for using up coconut too

  18. What a gorgeous litle girl you have there. I love the sound of these little treats - will definitely need to give them a go!

  19. I looove Berenstain bears. When I would go grocery shopping with my mom when I was younger, she used to buy me a new Berenstain bear book. It was always so exciting! Love the sound of these fruit and coconut balls too.


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