Monday, October 20, 2008

Almond-Fruit Balls with Coconut

I'm home sick with the gout today, so I'm not doing much in the way of walking around. Fortunately, I've got flank steak marinating in the fridge (2:1 lime juice:soy sauce, chopped garlic, ginger and scallions) and Steph is going to stop for some Wegmans premade potatoes (she likes their roasted yams or their sweet mashed, but I like their garlic mashed.) Good time to write about my Sunday morning.

So I had this recipe that I can't remember where I got it from, but it was intriguing to me because A) it required no cooking and B) it was full of tasty and relatively nutritious stuff and C) I've been looking for something tasty to nosh on when the sweet tooth comes calling. Hence, Almond-Fruit Balls:

1 cup almonds (the recipe called for raw, I only have roasted and salted)
1/8 tsp salt (I omitted this since the almonds were salted)
1/4 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped (I used, 3/4 tsp extract)
4 oz dried pineapple, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
4.5 oz soft Medjool dates, pitted (about 1 cup)
2 tbsp dried cranberries
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (I only could find sweetened at Wegmans)

Pulse the almonds in the Cuisinart until finely ground (you're supposed to add the salt and the vanilla seeds at this point. Obviously, I did not follow Bonnie's #2) Add the pineapple and dates (I added the vanilla extract) and process until the mixture holds together. Transfer to a bowl, stir in cranberries, roll into 1" balls and roll into coconut. Enjoy.

What worked: The final product is absolutely delicious. They're chewy and 2-3 are very satisfying in terms of flavor and sweetness. They have a texture that is similar to a dense DD chocolate Munchkin.

What didn't: After the processing of the dates and pineapples into the almonds (which took longer than I thought it would, I had to keep the processor going), the final 'dough' was VERY oily. As I was rolling them into balls, I had oil literally dripping off my hands. I don't know if maybe I overprocessed, or if it had to do with the fact that I was using roasted almonds as opposed to raw almonds. It was just something I wasn't expecting - although my hands were super-soft when I was done and all cleaned up. Also, the coconut did not stick to the outside of the balls as well as I'd have liked, another symptom of the excess oil on the 'dough'.

What I'm planning for next time: Raw almonds, vanilla bean (not extract), lower processing time, chopping up the cranberries before stirring them in.

It's definitely a repeat recipe, and they'll last a while since I don't have to worry about Stephanie noshing on them - she's not the biggest fan of dates or almonds.