Happy Halloween! ‘Tis the season for sugar overload, right? I’m cool with that. The kids dress up and get to gorge themselves on candy one night each year.
But the rest of the year? We try to keep things a little saner. Still, it seems that everywhere we go, someone is offering the kids candy. Candy here, candy there, oftentimes without parental approval. People just assume that all kids can have candy. They don’t bother to ask about allergies or other health issues. They just shove candy down your kids’ throats as soon as your back is turned. Hrmph.
Okay, so not everyone does that. Lots of folks do ask — and even make it a point to get my permission without the kids hearing it. I love those people! And I get that even the non-askers mean well, I really do. It’s just that there are a few health & allergy issues in this family that make fighting off candy every. single. week. a bit tiresome. Poking those issues in the eye once a year is tolerable. A couple of times every week, not so much.
Of course, the kids are always strong enough to just say no, right? Bwahahahaa!!! Um, no. Unless you hang something over their heads. Something shiny and/or sugary. Enter homemade candy… For every piece of crap candy they turn down while out & about, they get two — count ‘em — TWO pieces of homemade candy. Homemade candy, as in I control the ingredients.
This week, I made up a couple of different candies. Not just for kids anti-crap-candy bribes, er, rewards, but also to keep my grubby paws out of the Halloween candy the kids bring home and for taking a treat to the monthly bee meeting. Allow me to introduce you to Mounds & Balls:
These are a homemade take on Mounds bars. You know, the poorer cousin of Almond Joy? The recipe I based mine on can be found at Elana’s Pantry. I used honey in place of the agave nectar and added more. Otherwise I used roughly the same ratios but I did just eyeball it all. I also had no fancy-pants Mounds molds so I rednecked it. I used a ginormous cookie sheet, lined with wax paper, and smooshed the coconut goo out over it until it was more or less even. Then I melted the chocolate chips in the microwave and spread out over the top of the coconut goo. After that, I let it harden in the deep freeze for a few minutes, then inverted on the counter and spread more melted chocolate over the was-bottom-now-top, formerly-uncoated-side of the coconut goo. Back into the freezer for a few, then onto the counter for cutting into squares.
A word on cutting before you lose your mind turning all of that hardened chocolate into a yummy but shredded disaster: Save yourself some heartache and score the top chocolate with the tip of your knife. Then cut… with patience. And be prepared to eat the screw ups before anyone sees them.
Now for these little darlings… or what’s left of them. I could not stop eating them! Holy crap, they’re good. I started with Butter Believer’s creamy Ball Snacks recipe . I had no dates to use but, honestly, I think they would have messed up the whole ball mojo for my taste buds so I’m glad I left them out. I stuck almonds on the food processor and whirred them for a bit — but not into butter mode, then added about half as much shredded coconut as the nuts and a good blob of coconut oil and some glugs of honey. and then some more coconut oil and yet more honey. You know, until it looked, felt, & tasted right. I’m all anal about proportions like that. Play with it. Lick the spoon and your fingers. A lot. Eventually, birds will sing and you’ll know you have it right for your taste buds.
Shove that puppy in the fridge for a half hour or so to firm up a bit. That’ll make it easier for the next step: Roll between your hands, by the spoonful, to form balls. Some I tossed in cocoa powder but I preferred them plain. (I’m not a chocolate freak.) Then toss those sucker back in the deep freeze quick before you eat them all.
I’m storing all of these in the freezer for safekeeping. (The coconut oil doesn’t get break-your-teeth-off hard, just nice and firm.) It makes it more difficult to mindlessly munch them all into oblivion. In theory. The sad reality of it is I’ve nearly finished off all of the leftover balls. *shame* I believe that the Mounds were the crowd favorite but I think they’re all nuts. Balls are where it’s at, people!
Please pretend you didn’t just see me walk to the deep freeze to sneak a couple more from the freezer while writing this.