Saturday, February 8, 2014

Coconut Bon-Bons

Varying Degrees of Dipped

Ah, coconut. So versatile, exotic, and filling. Chock full of healthful saturated  fat and the amazing lauric acid. Coconut oil is kind of the darling of the health food community right now (and it's headed mainstream), but unsweetened shredded coconut can hold a place in a healthful diet as well. This recipe for coconut bon-bons was developed after a flopped attempt at Paleo almond joys (I won't link you...) and in an attempt to get more saturated fat into my 3-year-old who recently stopped eating dairy. (Gotta keep growing that little brain!)



I love putting almonds in these, too, but the same little guy who can't have dairy right now also can't have nuts. That's why I decided to try them with almond extract. It adds that amazing flavor (I seriously can't resist anything that has almond extract in it) without actually adding the rash-inducing nut. ;)

Snack Version (a.k.a. Chocolate-less)

Fat is a super important and underrated macronutrient. Low-fat diets have wreaked their havoc for long enough. So enjoy one of these rich, delicious treats as a snack or as a treat with a cup of coffee, and know that it's good for you.

The Line-up
Add most of one bag of unsweetened shredded coconut to a food processor or blender.


Pour in/scoop in your maple syrup, honey, and coconut oil. The coconut oil does not need to be softened or melted.


Add your sweeteners gradually and taste as you go. Maple and honey combined can end up tasting very sweet if you overdo it. Keep in mind that these will taste a little bit sweeter when the mix is warm than when they're cold. If you plan to coat them in sweetened chocolate, you might want to use less sweetener. Or not. :)

Raw Honey in the Winter...
Add salt, vanilla extract, and almond extract (if desired). Blend for a minute or two; scrape down the sides a couple of times. After the mix looks relatively smooth, add the hot water slowly while processing. Take a picture while pouring if you want water all over your counter. The mix should get thinner, but not runny.


The hot water helps the coconut shreds release their fat so the mix gets creamy and sticks together better. It should look something like this:

Super Appetizing Beige Stuff
You can now add the rest of the package of shredded coconut and process a few times to mix everything together.
Grab your scooper and your parchment paper lined baking sheet, and start scooping! I use a 1.5" cookie dough scooper because that's what I have, but smaller bon-bons would be good too, and you could always use a teaspoon or roll them with your hands (but only if you like licking your fingers). 


After you've scooped your bon-bons, put them in the fridge or freezer to firm up. (Or outside in your garage in the winter.)


After they've hardened, feel free please dip them in your favorite dark chocolate. 



Coconut Bon-Bons 
             1 24 oz. package of unsweetened shredded coconut
             1/4-1/2 cup Grade B maple syrup
             1/4 cup raw honey
             1/4 cup coconut oil
             1 T vanilla extract
             1 tsp almond extract
             1/8 tsp sea salt
             1/4 cup (more or less) hot water
Add the first four ingredients to a food processor. Blend until fairly smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Add the extracts and salt and pulse a few times. Turn your processor on, and slowly (and carefully) pour hot water into the opening in the top. You don't want it to get soupy - just thinned out, kind of like hummus. Add the last bit of coconut from the package and pulse just enough to mix it together with the rest.  
Scoop the bon-bons out onto parchment paper lined baking sheet(s) with a cookie dough scooper or teaspoons, or the old fashioned hand rolled method. Chill until firm. If you want, you can press an almond into each ball.  
Optional (but recommended): Dip in chocolate. :) (I usually melt a whole bar of my favorite chocolate slowly in a glass bowl over a steaming pot of water. Then I gently spin the bon-bons around in the chocolate with two forks and set them back on the cookie sheet to harden. Because of the coconut oil, be careful not to let the bon-bons sit in the hot chocolate for too long or they'll start to fall apart.) 
Keep your bon-bons in the refrigerator. 

If you're not used to eating coconut or foods with coconut oil, take it easy at first. It can cause gastric upset if you jump in too quickly. In other words, plan to take some of these treats to a friend on the day that you make them to avoid eating half the batch yourself... *cough*
One final note: the almond extract is the key

ENJOY!

-- Christine

This post is entered into Kelly the Kitchen Kop's REAL FOOD WEDNESDAY blog carnival.

4 comments:

  1. These are good, thanks for posting. I specially like it when you share the ones you have made! Yum.

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  2. These look and sound wonderfully delicious! i'm such a huge coconut fan. I can't wait to try them! I don't have a food processor though, just a blender....will that work?

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! :) I think so! Just make sure you scrape down the sides, and (in my experience with blenders) you might want to add all the liquid first to the bottom.

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