>> Thursday, March 13, 2008
THE PHENOMINABLE SNOWBALL
this is not just some truffle, it is a multi-layered extravagance of confection... and it just happens to be vegan! mmm.
fresh grated coconut flesh from 1 coconut
1 cup smooth unsalted cashew butter
1 cup dried tart cherries
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup unrefined sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon grade b maple syrup
1 tablespoon grand marnier
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon anise extract
wherever possible, use organic ingredients, it tastes that much better. also, get fair trade chocolate and sugar if you can find it. child labor is a drag you don't want to mix with luxury.
1. mix the maple syrup, grand marnier, vanilla extract and anise extract. pour it over the cherries in a small bowl. if necessary, add a little water until the mixture almost covers the cherries, stir occasionally and let soak for as long as you can bear it. overnight is best.
2. to prepare the coconut, i used james patterson's excellent method from "what's a cook to do?": hammer a screwdriver into two of the soft round spots that appear near one end of the coconut and pour out the liquid (he says discard it, i say drink it... heavenly!). bake the coconut on a sheet pan in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. wrap the coconut in a towel and crack it in half with a hammer. use a screwdriver to pry the flesh out of each end. if the thin brown membrane adheres to the flesh, peel it off with a vegetable peeler. grate. the fresh stuff is so much more succulent and complex, don't get the dried. if you're going to make these, make them perfect!
3. melt the sugar in a small saucepan over medium low heat (no teflon... it's public record now that dupont lied about it's harmful effects. i know of a former dupont employee who says to NEVER feed food to kids cooked on teflon. yikes!).
4. when the sugar is melted, stir in the cashew butter and cocoa powder, and turn off the heat.
5. if there is still a lot of liquid left on the cherries, strain some out, but keep it.
6. stir in the cherries, adding the liquid as necessary to assimilate them. i used about 1 tablespoon. more might be fine, but too much could make the balls fall apart.
7. when the mixture is cool enough to touch, stir in the chocolate chips.
8. form the mixture into balls and roll in the coconut shreds. cool or eat warm... both are great.
by the way, i want to extend a warm welcome to everybody who came via tastespotting (a most excellent image blog of creative foods). please check out the rest of this blog. it's not just food, (in fact this is my first food post!) but i'll be sure to do more. my wife laura and i are big vegan and vegetarian foodies, and have produced a small cookbook. we were in a dialogue with ak press to create a vegan "joy of cooking", but while they are interested, they can't really advance us enough to cover the research costs, so we are trying to figure out other options.