Healthy Snowballs, no bake coconut bites with dried fruits, chocolate and low in sugar. Good for festive parties, bake sales or teatime and fun to make with kids for the holidays. What's more, they're gluten free and 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 is now updated.