Friday, June 13, 2008

No-bake Chocolate Fruit Balls

I've always been of the opinion that a cookie on the counter is worth two bags of chocolate chips in the cupboard--if you know what I mean. And I had half a bag of chips and half a block of dates just sitting around.

But it's too hot to bake today, so this is what I made instead; it's a close relative of Christmas "sugar-plums" or the dried-fruit balls I described at the end of this post. It's very adaptable to whatever you have, and shows the real magic of the food processor. (What I mean by that is that sometimes you need to be patient--run the ingredients through twice, or a bit longer than you'd think--and you magically have something that looks a lot better than it started out to be. It doesn't hold true for everything--if you over-process whipping cream, you'll get butter. But it's something to keep in mind.)

Chocolate Fruit Balls

In the food processor, I combined approximately equal amounts of chocolate chips, dates (the pressed-together-in-a-block kind, broken apart), and granola, plus a drizzle of orange juice. If you're doing this, you might want to put on your industrial earplugs, because the sound of chocolate chips grinding is not a nice one. I ran the machine for a couple of minutes until I had a bowlful of crumbly stuff.

But wait, because it's not done.

Crumbly was okay but not really what I had in mind--I didn't want balls that would fall apart.

So I dumped the bowlful back in, added another drizzle of orange juice and a little honey--not for the sweetness but because I really wanted to make sure it would stick together. I don't know if it made any difference, though.

And then I ran it for another couple of minutes--it wasn't so deafening this time--till all of a sudden I had a big pasty mass of stuff that was having trouble moving around the bowl. That's it, turn it off!

And from that point it was very easy to break off pieces and roll them into balls.

You could call them Chocolate-Date Balls if nobody in your house has date antipathies. Otherwise it might be better to say they're Chocolate Granola Balls or Chocolate Fruit Balls.

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