No bake, bite-sized coconut snowballs. Low in sugar, packed with dried fruits and rolled in coconut, these healthy treats are fun to make with kids for the holidays. Moreover, they just so happen to be vegan. I'm digressing from French recipes and moving to my roots in Scotland!
Inspiration from my Scottish Granny
This no-bake recipe for Snowballs is inspired by my Granny's recipe in her Black Book. So I'm sure it originally came from a magazine, the Scottish Sunday Post newspaper or the Jimmy Young radio show which she listened to back in the 70s, as he also dictated many recipes over the air.
I can still hear his voice in the background, the smells of the coal and sparking from the fire. Just opposite, on the dining room table, we rolled the snowballs in icing sugar and coconut - our hands daringly gooey with coconut stuck to our sweetened cocoa fingers. Bliss.
Scottish Coconut Snowballs
These no-bake, bite-size coconut snowballs are not the same as the other more classic kind of Scottish Snowballs. Traditionally, they're the sandwiched biscuits with raspberry jam and rolled in coconut. Funnily enough we didn't make these with Granny, as they were a special bought treat. We'd buy them from Norman the Baker, who would hoot his milk chocolate and cream-coloured van just outside Granny's house in Musselburgh.
Granny would press a coin into our hands and, with my wee brother, we'd go running to buy the most enormous sandwiched snowball each from Norman. He always greeted us with the cheekiest of grins from ear to ear, as he'd talk nineteen-to-the-dozen with Agnes.
If you'd like to make them, then my Scottish-Italian friend, Christina, has just posted a recipe for the Jam-filled Scottish sandwiches with raspberry jam at ChristinasCucina. We have both been quite oblivious to rolling two very different Scottish snowballs this weekend without even realising we were on the same spooky wavelength (this happens a lot!)
Healthier Snowballs - What Kind of Oil to Use?
If Agnes is watching over, I'm sure she would quietly approve of this updated healthier version. I've reduced the sugar a lot, replacing much of it with more dried fruits.
What's more, replacing her original margarine with sunflower oil makes these mini chocolate and coconut snow balls vegan.
You could use coconut oil but use with moderation, as this is full of saturated fat (that's why it's solid when you buy it). If you're not following a vegan diet, then use melted butter (unsalted).
I remember on many occasions that she added raisins and so the fruit, spice and orange additions are all in the name of giving them a festive taste to compensate for the missing sugar.
How Long Can Coconut Snowballs Keep?
Snowballs can be kept in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days.
They're also great for decorating winter or festive desserts. Try popping a few on my favourite Double Chocolate Tart, one of the recipes from my book, 'Teatime in Paris!'
Bite-Sized Snowballs as Mini Christmas Puddings
This recipe is for snowballs, rolled in dessicated coconut. However, why not coat them in a little icing and top with a cranberry, a glacé cherry - or a Marachino cherry - to turn them into mini Christmas puddings?
Love snowballs? Make these Scottish Macaroon Bar Mini Snowballs too!
Snowballs (No Bake Coconut, Raisin & Chocolate Bites)
- 50 g (1.75oz/¼ cup) Raisins
- 50 g (1.75oz/¼ cup) Dates finely chopped
- 40 g (1.5oz/¼ cup) Dried apricots finely chopped
- 40 g (1.5oz/¼ cup) Candied orange peel (or grated orange zest) finely chopped
- 5 tablespoon Orange juice
- 100 g (3.5oz/1 cup) Dessicated coconut 60g (2oz) + 40g (1.5oz) for rolling
- 40 g (1.5oz/½ cup) Medium porridge oats
- 60 g (2oz/¼ cup) Caster sugar (extra fine)
- 2 tablespoon Unsweetened cocoa powder
- 50 g (1.75oz) Sunflower oil or melted unsalted butter for non-vegans
- 2 teaspoon Gingerbread, pumpkin or cinnamon ground spice
- Place all the above ingredients in a large bowl and mix together with a spoon until all the flavours are well blended.
- Form little balls by rolling a couple of teaspoons of the mixture at a time in the palm of your hands. Set aside on a plate or baking sheet then roll in the desiccated coconut. Alternatively, top with a little icing with a tiny chopped glacé cherry (if for adults, add some Grand Marnier to the icing).
- Cover in icing and top with a bit of glacé cherry to make them look like Express Christmas Puddings;
- Top double chocolate tartlets in my book, Teatime in Paris.
This post was originally published 18 December 2017 but has now been refreshed with updated text, new images and a printable recipe card.
We absolutely love making the mini Christmas puddings every year.... sometimes again in the spring as we don't want to wait until Christmas! My children make them for teacher gifts and so many people have asked for the recipe! Delicious!
Faye, you have no idea how happy I am to hear that this brings so much pleasure! Thanks for sharing this. Have a delicious Christmas 'en famille' and cheers to sharing snowballs!
So festive and so delicious
Thank you so much Jill Colonna !
Thanks for popping in to say so, David.
Love your Granny's recipe, even though I've just made a gazillion truffles & date nut balls I just had to take a look at these! Can't wait to try yours.
Thanks, Bea. I know there are many things like this on the internet already but these are lower in sugar so you can really taste all the goodies inside. Thrilled you'll make them!
What a nice recipe to make with my kids, they will definitely love it. Thank you for sharing!!
So thrilled you'll be continuing our family tradition. Enjoy x
Oh gosh Jill, thank you for these memories. This recipe from Granny's Black Book was actually written by me aged about 9, probably with my tongue out because that book was sacred because it had hard covers. I do remember writing "Ingred" and didn't even know what it meant - what a thicko! Also thanks for reminding me about Norman's bakery van - he was a lovable character and liked our family. I will get around to making the snowballs very soon to take to Kinross just to show I can make more than carrot cake.
Precious memories. I'll be posting many more, since there are at least 8 recipes for Shortbread!
So happy you're baking again, Mum. And next time you make carrot cake, why not use this carrot cake recipe on le blog? Here's to a fun baking year in 2018!
What a wonderful family recipe! Perfect for the holidays---I bet they ship well 😉 Merry Christmas, dear Jill!!! xoxo
Thanks for popping in, Liz. Wishing you and the family all the best for 2018 - and hope to see you again soon in Paris!
Thanks for reposting these sweet Christmas treats, Jill. Such good memories of our childhood. I'm enjoying browsing your blog and recipes more often, now that I've got a bit more time on my hands. I've got all the ingreds in the cupboard for Granny's snowballs and I'm going to give Christina's chocolate free snowballs a go too for Campbell. Very appropriate for the amount of snow we have here in the Alps at the moment !
Absolutely thrilled to hear from you, Tamar, and most of all that you'll be making them for the boys as well as other recipes from le blog - especially as I know you're like myself in consuming less sugar and enjoying the French style of life! Hugs to the family x
I fell in love with your Granny’s Snowballs the moment I saw your post on Instagram, and I knew I want to make them. It’s amazing how, just a few years ago, women would always bake and cook at home. Eating out or buying something from the store were considered treats. These days, making something at home is considered is treat.
Jill, thank you for sharing this recipe and the lovely story behind it.
That's it exactly, Nadia. It's certainly the other way around today - and what I love about home baking is that you can control how much sugar that goes in. So glad you'll be making them and joining in our wee snowball winter tradition. Have a lovely Christmas.
Christina | Christina's Cucina
We've really gone and done it again! Both posting the same thing at the same time, albeit, different recipes by the same name! I love your granny's snowballs, and they're definitely much healthier with all that dried fruit!
I love your mini Christmas pudding version, too! Such a lovely presentation that would be fab at any holiday party! 🙂
There are times I find it funny yet spooky too, Christina. Two very different recipes but we've been rolling around in coconut this weekend without even realising it! So look forward to making the Scottish snowballs that I remember from Norman's van! High time I made them, too. Thanks for sharing the recipe.