Monday, December 12, 2011

Coconut snowballs

So,  crazy cake ball trend has been going strong for a couple of years, doesn't it seem? Giving credit where credit is due for the invention itself seems a bit hard to do, and there is even some internet sniping about who did what when, first, etc. I first stumbled on cake balls via Bakerella at least two or three years ago, and they have certainly done a lot to popularize the trend. But hello, Starbucks makes them now, so you know it's time for a new fad when THAT happens...

I've never been big on the whole "balls" aspect, so any time I'm able to think of another name, I do it. Hence, the coconut snowballs. See, so much more acceptable! And since I have yet to stick a stick in my cake balls, I obviously haven't truly embraced the "pop" angle... but maybe that day will come. It honestly just seems like an unnecessary step...

I've made these coconut babies at least the past two holiday seasons and had to roll them out again. They are just so good and easy and a wee bit addictive. Of course, you kinda have to like coconut, and as luck would have it, I live with two non-coconut guys. So... more for me? Maybe... and probably more for you too, because of it.

There's something definitely Sandra-Lee-Semi-Homemade about cake balls, and while it may be easy to turn one's nose up at when looking for some chi-chi homemade dessert, I would say get over yourself and enjoy this truly easy-to-make sweet nibble. These are beyond yummy and I would bet that even homemade cake and frosting would not stack up against the boxed. So there.

I sent this picture via phone last week to my sister-in-law Kim. I'm nothing if not a big tease.

Coconut cake snowballs
Makes about 50 snowballs
1 box of cake mix--white, vanilla, your choice
Frosting--white, vanilla, your choice
White chocolate or almond bark candy coating--your choice
Flaked coconut
Coconut extract

Make up the cake recipe according to directions on the box. Bake.

When the cake is done, take it out of the oven and let it rest about 5-10 minutes, so that it's still warm but not hot. Then crumble it into a big bowl. If you have a stand mixer, this is a great use for it (especially when you double the recipe, which I highly recommend). Using the paddle attachment, stir the cake until it's crumbly, and then add about half the container of frosting (1/2 - 3/4 cup). Now is a good time to add your coconut extract, as well. Add about 2 tsp. Taste and if you want it a stronger coconut flavor, add a bit more. Remember that you'll also be dipping it in coconut, so don't go overboard!

Continue mixing until the cake and frosting have combined into a glorious mass. Best to start on the low end with the amount of frosting and keep adding, as you can't undo a too-soft mixture (unless you have another cake lying about). When you get it to a cookie-dough-like consistency, that will be perfect for rolling. (I read one blogger who said she never added frosting, just beat up her cake and made balls. If I didn't love frosting so much, I might just try that some time... Without having tried her concoction, I think the overall consistency would be more "truffle-like" with the frosting... Just wanting you to have all the information, though. If you find yourself frosting-less, all is not lost!)

I usually chill the dough for a bit. That way it will roll up into balls quickly.

Roll the dough into 1- to 1.5-inch balls, and then freeze them (1 hour or all the way to overnight). Frozen always dips better.

Meanwhile, be melting your white chocolate. There are a few methods for that, but once you've burnt it a few times in the microwave, I'll bet you'll come back to the lovely double-boiler method. Not that I'd know anything about that...

Prepare a bowl of grated coconut for rolling the just-chocolate-dipped balls. This is where they will take on their snowball-ish appearance.

It's time to dip. A bit of technique helps here. I usually take a couple of forks and plop one into the chocolate, kind of toss it between the forks, then lift and gently let the chocolate fall, scraping any excess before gently lowering into the flaked coconut and rolling around with my hands. A gentle roll in the coconut, and out they can come to a wax paper lined cookie tray, where they can go into the fridge to firm up for a few minutes.

The snowballs keep best in the fridge in an airtight container, for a week or two. Longer than that and you should freeze them, which also works well. Just bring them out to your fridge overnight to thaw and enjoy!


  1. Well, that looks simple...I can handle that! Considering how absolutely yummy they are I better get the ingredients on my list for tomorrow in town.

    Oh yes, by the way, years ago when I used to make bon bons your dear father made me a tool for dipping them. I hope I still have it in one drawer or another because it will work perfectly for this.

    Blissful sigh...

  2. Sometimes coconut is a back-straightening-mouth-arching-room-for-only-small-bites kind of sweet. These are not -- and I love them. I'll try to be by in a day or so . . .

  3. I love your writing!! And I imagine your baking is just as wonderful! Thanks for sharing your recipes...yum!

  4. I have to admit- I never loved coconut. The smell, the taste, and ESPECIALLY the texture... but lately I have become obsessed with the smell of cocnut, so now I'm wondering if it's time to test the taste/texture situation and see if that has changed as well. They look delicious!


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