I’m going to cut to the chase here.
Not just because it’s a few days before Christmas and I have yet to get all my shopping done. (Eek!) But if you want to make these in time for the big day, you need a few hours of serious focus. Most of that time is for dipping in chocolate and rolling in coconut.
What I wanted to do is improve upon Purdy’s snowballs. I don’t buy a lot of chocolate at Purdy’s but every so often, when I’m walking down South Granville or through Oakridge mall, I’ll pop in and buy a couple snowballs or coconut clusters to nibble on my walk.
Here are the Purdy’s snowballs on the right, mine on the left:
But I’ve been finding the dairy cream center in Purdy’s snowballs way too sweet these days. Time for an update.
I liked the idea of a coconut flavored center, and thought of making a coconut-flavored fondant, but it dawned on me that using a fondant base would mean a very sweet center too similar to Purdy’s.
Luckily, I stumbled upon this recipe for coconut snowballs. Finally, something closer to what I had in mind. A bonus was it being gluten and grain free — practically Paleo, I’d say. Now this could definitely be a hit with the family.
And so began the tweaking.
What I ended up with is a creamier and slightly sweeter center than the recipe I started with, but still something that wasn’t cloying like the dairy cream inside Purdy’s snowballs. Yippee!
Time for a short Snoopy happy dance around the kitchen as I package these up for small gifts for family and friends this Christmas.
A note on the timing: The coconut centers take practically no time at all to whirl together in the food processor. What takes the time is portioning them out and, especially, coating them in chocolate and coconut. (I tempered my chocolate so that they would have a nice snap when you bite into them.) For a less labor-intensive route, simply roll the coconut centers in coconut to finish them off. But you’d miss the chocolate if you did that, wouldn’t you?
In my opinion, these are a big improvement over Purdy's snowballs -- less sweet, even more 'moreish' as Bob would say. This recipe makes a lot -- 134 small (1/2 teaspoon) snowballs. Feel free to cut it in half if you're running short on time, or make the snowballs bigger if you like.
- 1 3/4 cups unsweetened coconut (fine shred)
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup or honey
- 3 tablespoons icing sugar
- 5 teaspoons coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 to 2-1/2 cups unsweetened coconut
- 3/4 to 1 pound dark chocolate (optional)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine all the ingredients for the filling in a food processor and mix until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the processor bowl with a spatula and process again.
- Portion the coconut mixture into 1/2 teaspoon measures and shape into balls with your palms.
- Place 2 cups coconut in a shallow bowl. Roll coconut balls in coconut and place on parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Place coconut balls on parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for at least an hour.
- Line another baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Melt, or preferably temper, the chocolate. Dip each coconut ball into the chocolate, roll in coconut and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Or place the chocolate coated coconut ball right on the baking sheet and immediately sprinkle each with coconut.
How to temper chocolate? Here's a good video that shows you the basics of tempering chocolate. What if I don't want to temper the chocolate? No problem -- just be sure to roll the snowballs in coconut after dipping in chocolate, and keep the snowballs refrigerated.