Tag Archives: coconut

Bliss Balls

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These little treats are perfect for snacking, lunch boxes, trips to the park and beach. Icklegen and I first sampled bliss balls a while back. If I remember rightly, that particular variety was made with Cherry Ripe bars (a classic Aussie chocolate bar, with, erm, a cherry and coconut filling). They were delicious but probably best not eaten on a regular basis.

I was pretty sure I could find a healthier alternative and it didn’t take long. There are hundreds of recipes out there, made with a range of dried fruits, seeds, nuts and grains. We started with this one, which I have refined to suit our tastes. It’s super-easy, especially if you have a food processor. And Icklegen loves to help out by rolling the balls in desiccated coconut and then eating them all, if I don’t get there on time…

Prepare for a blizzard to hit your kitchen – aprons are definitely advisable.

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Ingredients

150g organic dried apricots*
150 g pitted dates
150 g almond meal
1 tbsp tahini
2 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp honey
+ desiccated coconut for rolling the balls in

 

 

1. Soak the dried apricots in warm water for around 30 minutes, then drain them well in a sieve reserving the water (you can probably skip this step if you’re using the non-organic variety).
2. Throw all the ingredients in a blender and process until the mixture starts to clump together.
3. Add some of the reserved ‘apricot water’ if the mixture is too dry.
4. Take small amounts of the mixture and roll into balls.
5. Pour some desiccated coconut onto a plate and roll the balls around in it until they are coated.
6. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Makes around 20-24 bliss balls, depending on size.P1010611

We’re still experimenting with different ingredients and flavours for this recipe. Daddy Ickle reckons the result is a bit ‘soft’ and has suggested we bump up the nut content. So we’re going to look into using more coarsely ground almonds, or walnuts, in our next batch. We’ll report back in due course!

* Organic apricots are not the most attractive looking food – all brown and leathery – but I prefer to buy them as they are free from sulphur dioxide. They plump up well after soaking and are yummy by themselves and in cooking.

Anzac Biccies

Icklegen and I barely ventured out of the house on Friday. We awoke to rain and by about 9.30 am the sky had darkened and the thunder had started to rumble. What were we going to do today to keep ourselves busy, I wondered. Well, baking has always been high up on my hit list on bad-weather days. There is something so therapeutic about putting the oven on and creating a delcious, sweet treat to enjoy when it is cold and/or wet outdoors. The question was: would Icklegen buy into my enthusiasm?

I opted for a simple recipe: Anzac biscuits. I’m not hugely into complex cake and biccie recipes actually – give me banana muffins and choc chip cookies over complex toppings, colours and sprinkles any day. I’m sure that will all change for special birthday girl celebrations over the next few years, when I’ll be called upon to create fairy princesses with impossible swirly pink glittery icing and other such flights of fancy.2-P1010022

Anzac biscuits are a relatively new discovery for me. I’d never sampled one before moving out here a few years ago, and boy, had I missed out. They are yummy and so easy to make, too! And given that they contain oats and coconut, they must surely be good for you…

I love the story behind the recipe: it is believed that Anzac biscuits were made and sent to soldiers during WW1 by their loved ones back home. They have a relatively long ‘shelf life’ (they don’t contain egg like a lot of biscuit recipes), so could still be enjoyed when they arrived with the troops overseas. They are now forever associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC).

The recipe that I found when I first decided to have a go at baking Anzac biscuits myself was – dare I say it – from a UK site: BBC GoodFood. I don’t know whether it would be classed as a ‘traditional’ recipe, but all the key ingredients are there, and the end result has never disappointed. The biscuits are crunchy on the outside, but still soft and chewy inside – very moreish!

Would they work with a toddler as my sous-chef, though? I decided to gather my ingredients and cooking materials together in advance. I’ve discovered there’s nothing worse than trying to organise myself in the kitchen with Icklegen fluttering around my feet. Step one complete, we donned our aprons, carried a wooden chair into the kitchen so Ickle was at counter-height, and set to work.3-P1010039

Measuring out the ingredients went well. I used the scale at a safe distance from excited little hands, then Icklegen was in charge of pouring into the mixing bowl. We had a few near-misses, notably with the flour, but actually it was me who created the most mess by tipping the open bag of dessicated coconut all over the counter. I also had to prevent Icklegen from plunging her hands into the mixture just after I had added the melted butter and golden syrup. By this stage, she had discovered that this cooking business was fun, and tasty too, and couldn’t keep her hands out of the mixing bowl. Especially as I had thrown in some choc chips that needed using up (this bit definitely not traditional!)

We continued with our great teamwork skills: I spooned the mixture out onto trays and Icklegen patted the biscuits into shape. Then we popped them in the oven for about 8 minutes and hey presto: tasty, homemade biccies for our morning tea. And the realisation for me that cooking can be a rewarding activity with a young toddler.1-P1000998

What is your favourite recipe when your toddler is your sous-chef?