Well, it’s the start of December and all the magazines, shows, and shops are filled with the sights of the season. If you haven’t already, it’s time to start with your holiday baking. I know that some of you have already started, possibly even started in the summer, but this quintessential Newfoundland Christmas treat is a must have for anyone.
One of the things you will always find in every Newfoundland cookbook for the holidays is a recipe for snowballs. For as long as I remember these have been a requirement for holiday baking. My mother would make dozens for the holidays and keep them in a metal tin on the freezer lined with waxed paper. Every couple of days my brother and I would go to the freezer, grab one each, and sloppily rearrange the remaining so you couldn’t notice one had been taken.
The lovely little bites are a mixture of chocolate, oatmeal, and coconut. The recipe I use is found in the Purity cookbook and is originally meant as a bar. The snowballs are offered as an alternate way. Personally, I’ve only known people to make them as balls, so feel free to try them out as a bar.
These are great slightly chilled, as they get a bit too soft when left to warm to room temperature. Truthfully, there’s enough coconut and sugar in them, they don’t really freeze solid. So, I’ve enjoyed them straight out of the freezer. They’re called snowballs for a reason, right?
Melt butter and chocolate in a saucepan under medium/low heat. You don’t want the chocolate to scorch, so if the butter starts to bubble it’s too hot. Add the sugar and mix until dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla and beaten egg. Also, if the chocolate is too hot the egg will cook too fast and you’ll have little bits of egg whites throughout your mix. If you like, you can temper the egg and vanilla with a little chocolate mix in a separate bowl and then add it to the saucepan. Then add your oatmeal, coconut, and optional nuts. I personally don’t add the nuts because I like the chewiness of the oatmeal and coconut. Also, it makes it a lot easier if you’re doing this for a potluck or Christmas party. You don’t have to worry about anyone with a nut allergy if you leave them out.
Now, you’ll have to let this rest for a little while for the mixture to cool down and for the oatmeal to absorb a bit of the moisture. I like to make a batch and let it sit in the fridge overnight. If you do this, take it out about an hour before you need to make the balls. Otherwise it’s too hard to scoop.
Now, with a small scoop, make a ball about the size of a golf ball and roll it in the shredded coconut. Place on lined cookie sheet and put back in the fridge or freezer. When the snowballs are solid, you can put them in a container. Separate layers with waxed paper to prevent them from sticking together.
Enjoy and Merry Christmas!
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut plus extra for rolling
- 1 cup quick oatmeal
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts optional
Melt butter and chocolate in a saucepan under medium low heat until chocolate is completely melted. Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
Remove pan from heat and add beaten egg and vanilla. Mix in coconut, quick oats, and optional nuts. Chill until firm a couple of hours or overnight. If overnight, let the mixture sit on counter to warm slightly to room temperature for about an hour.
With a small scoop, make a golf ball size ball and roll in shredded coconut. Chill until firm on lined cookie sheet. Place in container with waxed paper between the layers.
If you want to make this a bit more adult, use cream de cacao or coconut shnapps instead of vanilla. The small amount of alcohol will heighten the flavours a little.