I figure spring has sprung for my loved ones in the northeast so it’s ok to use the word ‘snow’ now. Especially since the snow in this recipe is coconut. These are my husband’s favorite ‘legal’ sweet tooth fix. These little date balls rolled in coconut are relatively easy to make and keep well in the refrigerator.
They pack a huge nutritional punch: dates are wonderfully & naturally sweet and are high in dietary fiber, vitamin A, iron and potassium; walnuts add vitamin E, manganese and omega-3 fatty acids; coconut for the antimicrobial and antiviral properties of lauric acid (on a side note: I know that for a long time coconut got a bad rap during the snackwell, ‘fat-free food obsession’ years, but it’s a really amazing food in all its forms…coconut water, shredded coconut, coconut oil, etc….I’ll spend more time later discussing the nutritional value of coconut, specifically; but in the meantime, just do an internet search on the nutritional benefits of coconut and you’ll wonder why you’ve avoided it all these years).
This recipe definitely does not require precise measurements and the amounts given for each ingredient are approximate. Feel free to add a little extra here and there if you, for example, love raisins or love apricots. If you prefer, you can use dates as the base, but switch up the dried fruits and/or nuts, substituting dried cherries for raisins or pecans for the walnuts. As long as you stay relatively close to 1/2 c. nuts to about 1/2 c. dried fruit to each 14 ounce bag of dates, you’ll be fine.
As always, I list the ingredients that I use which are organic and unsulphured. I’m fairly certain that if a product is labeled organic, it cannot be sulphured. We use so many almonds in our house that I do buy them truly raw and organically grown. Here’s the deal with truly raw almonds: the government requires that raw almonds be at least quickly pasteurized; however, I have found 2 farms in CA that will sell them directly to you and, because they are the original grower of the almonds, they can sell them to you without having been first pasteurized. ‘What the heck is the difference?’ is what you are probably saying about now…and I know some of you are saying a word other than ‘heck’. Like any whole food, almonds contain their own, God-given digestive enzymes. The more the food is cooked (i.e. brought to a higher temperature), the more the food’s own enzymes are destroyed, thus requiring YOUR digestive enzymes to do more of the work, which of course requires more energy of your body, allowing less energy for the GOOD things like repairing your immune system after your 4th coca-cola of the day (that one is for Uncle Ken). I’m completely over-simplifying, but if you look at your body’s energy in its entirety, then each system of your body gets its own slice of pie. What you want, is for only a tiny little sliver of that pie to be used by the digestive system, so your immune system, for example, gets a huge slice of pie. Hope that makes sense.
Here’s where I get my ingredients, but please use the best of whatever you can get.
Raw, organically grown almonds I get from 2 places, as it always seems one is out of their supply at any given moment. I buy them 25lbs. at a time because it’s much more economical and because it takes a lot of gas to ship these little gems from CA to FL.
Briden Wilson Farms www.homegrownalmonds.com
25 lb box for $204.75
Organic Pastures www.organicpastures.com (I actually have to call them at 877-RAW-MILK because I can never successfully place an order via their web site)
25 lb box for $225
The dates I use are the best and freshest I’ve been able to find. I actually order them from amazon when I’ve accumulated other things in my shopping cart so that I always have them on-hand. They are organic Medjool dates from the Bergin Nut Co. Here’s the link:
Everything else you should be able to readily find.
Snowballs…or ‘those balls’, as my middle son calls them
1/4 c. organic raisins
1/4 c. raw almonds
one 14 ounce bag Medjool dates, pits removed
1/4 c. walnuts
about 5 or 6 dried apricots (totally optional)
organic, unsweetened shredded coconut (I throw maybe a 2 Tbsp. in, but mostly you just need this for rolling the balls in ‘snow’)
Combine raisins, nuts, pitted dates and apricots (or whatever dried fruits and nuts you prefer) and a couple tablespoons of coconut into your food processor. Pulse until the mixture becomes one big clump. Remove and roll chunks of it into bite-size balls, then roll in the coconut (this part is kind of tedious, but I consider it a labor of love).
Ours don’t usually last too long, but if you have left-overs, refrigerate them. Those Pyrex containers with the dark blue lids are great: not only are they are made of glass so there’s no concern about BPA, they are also proudly made in the USA. When you have finally used and re-used your plastic Gladware, recycle it with your yogurt containers and other #5 plastics (www.preserveproducts.com for their Gimme 5 locations) and invest in a variety set of Pyrex storage containers. The lids can go in the top rakc of your dishwasher and they don’t affect the taste of your left-overs.