Thursday, 19 December 2013

Gluten- and Dairy-free Coconut Snowballs

I’m going to reveal a little bah humbug indoorsy truth about myself. I hate running around in the snow, throwing snowballs, or more to the point, getting hit by snowballs. It’s not fun. Sure, it looks idyllic and picturesque. But then so does village cricket, and I don’t want to take part in either.

Hurty hands with freezing, wet gloves and numb toes aside, getting hit in the head by a snowball is as painful as it is icy. But, for some reason, it’s become the image of choice for snow day fun in the same way that slow motion running down the beach hand-in-hand is the shortcut visual for love. I’d much rather be sitting in a warm fairy-lit room with a large brandy, chomping down on one of these little snowballs anyday.

These bite-size cakes cater to most dietary requirements and make for the perfect sweet Christmas canapé. Milli from Milli’s Kitchen and I served them at a festive afternoon tea we hosted with donations to Crisis at Christmas. The coconut flavour is fully pronounced (no mean feat) and the cakes are feather-light, moist and moreish. If you have tried to use coconut flour before without success, please don’t be put off having another go. The trick is not to simply try to use it as a replacement for wheat flour. Coconut flour is a very thirsty ingredient, so you will need to make a batter that includes a lot of liquid. Once you master the wet to dry ratios, you won’t go back and you can smile smugly to yourself that you are indulging in a sweet treat that is not only delicious and festive, but also high in fibre and low in carbohydrates. Which means you will have plenty of room left for Yule log and plum pudding. Merry Christmas!

Gluten- and Dairy-free Coconut Snowballs

3 eggs
65g caster sugar
100g coconut oil, melted plus extra for greasing the moulds
160ml coconut cream
50g coconut flour
1 tsp. gluten-free baking powder

for the icing

150g icing sugar, sifted
As much Malibu as you need to make a thick icing
150g desiccated coconut

Use a pastry brush to paint the inside of a 20-hole silicone cake pop mould with coconut oil, place on a flat baking tray and preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan)/350°F/Gas Mark 4

Whisk the eggs and caster sugar until the mixture has doubled in volume and is thick and mousse-like. Continue to whisk on low speed as you gradually add the coconut oil, followed by the coconut cream. Sift over the coconut flour and baking powder and fold in with a large metal spoon.

Use a teaspoon to spoon the mixture into the base (no holes) side of the mould and press the top on. Pop the cakes in the oven for 10 minutes. Turn the mould upside down and return the cakes to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes.

Turn the cakes out and leave to cool.

Mix the icing sugar and Malibu together to make a thick, drippy icing and place the desiccated coconut in a separate bowl. Stick a cocktail stick in a single cake and dunk it in the Malibu icing until it is fully coated. Then roll the cake in the desiccated coconut to make a snowball. Repeat until the cakes are covered.

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