Coconut balls test

I finally got round to making those coconut balls, and here are the results. I only made half a recipe, which was enough for seven balls, about the size of golf balls.

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(I have also added a second photo to the original recipe).

I was contacted by Freyja (if you know Icelandic you can read her comments), who tried the recipe and wrote back to say that the cookies tasted a bit too much of raw oatmeal. She also suggests using icing sugar instead of regular sugar, which I agree with, since there isn’t really enough moisture in the dough to dissolve the sugar grains.

The balls came out looking just like bakery made ones, but neither the taste nor the texture was enough like the coconut balls you can buy from bakeries. Bakery coconut balls are chewier and the texture is similar to thick cookie dough. These are harder, the sugar has not melted properly (as Freyja commented) and the oatmeal taste is too raw. Rum or sherry drops could help with the raw taste, as could reducing the oatmeal and replacing part of it with dessicated coconut and increasing the butter slightly. Melting the sugar in the milk or using icing sugar and processing the oatmeal into finer pieces in a blender might help with the texture, as could mixing it in a mixer instead of by hand. Finally, it could be made softer by using good quality Dutch process cocoa instead of melted chocolate. I think I will test these changes the next time I make them (whenever that will be).

After sampling a few, I stored the balls in the refrigerator and tried one the next day and another one the day after, and found that they improve with age. On day 2 the raw taste was gone, while the sugar still crackled slightly between the teeth, but on day 3 the sugar had dissolved and the texture was more like the bakery stuff. The problem is, they just look too tempting to store them for this long and I can not see it happening in homes with children.

Freyja came up with this recipe, which she says is delicious (it certainly sounds like it):

175 g dark chocolate
200 g marzipan, sorry, got a correction from Freyja: It’s actually coconut mass (made by Odense)which is similar but not quite the same
1/2 dl oatmeal
50 g butter
vanilla essence to taste

Mix marzipan, butter and vanilla, and oatmeal mixed in. Melted chocolate added to the mixture, rolled into balls and coated with coconut.

The next time I need to make something with marzipan, I think I will try this recipe. It sounds good enough for Christmas, but whether it resembles the bakery recipe remains to be seen. I imagine the texture must at least be similar.

P.S. I seem to recall that, as a child taking my first year of home cooking classes, I made coconut balls from mashed potatoes into which were kneaded icing sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla essence, and rolled in dessicated coconut, but for the life of me I can’t find the recipe anywhere.

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Cookbook challenge

If you have read my book blog you will know that I am in the middle of a reading challenge. I recently made an inventory of my books and realised I had many cookbooks I had never tried as much as a single recipe from. While browsing these books I have often thought I should try this or that recipe, but more often than not I didn’t. When I realised how many cookbooks I had I got to thinking about my cooking habits and realised that in the last five years or so I have only tried maybe half a dozen new recipes a year, most of them found on the web. Before that, I used to try a couple of new recipes every month, many of them from cookbooks or my grandmother’s collection of newspaper recipe clippings.

I do think it’s okay to collect recipe books one never uses for anything other than reading or looking at the photos, but I still feel a little guilty for having them, because I originally bought them or was given them with the intent that they would be used. Therefore I think I would like to try a challenge that will not only justify my owning all these recipe books, but also get me into the kitchen to make something new every week.

I set myself these simple rules:
• To try at least one new recipe every week until I have tested at least one recipe from each of my recipe and cookery books. It can be for something as simple and quick as a cocktail, as time-consuming as a stew with 25+ ingredients, or as fiddly as sauce hollandaise, just as long as I like the look of the recipe.
• The recipe of the week must come from a different recipe book each time, but additional recipes can be from books I have used before.
• I will publish the results in a blog, complete with recipe(s), notes and recipe review(s).

That’s it.

Since this blog is supposed to be about Icelandic cooking, I’m starting a new cooking blog, Matarást . I will not stop posting to this one, but if you are a regular reader, you will know that my posting here is sporadic at best. I will not start until next week, as I will be away for the weekend.