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Fruit and Nut Balls Recipe

To Toast Nuts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Place the pecans and walnuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly brown and you can start to smell the nuts. Let cool and then coarsely chop.

Fruit and Nut Balls: Have ready a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, wax paper, or aluminum foil. Place the nuts, dried fruits, candied ginger (if using), and sugar in your food processor and pulse until finely minced. Add the honey and just enough Grand Marnier or orange juice to bind the ingredients together.

Shape the mixture into 1 inch (2.5 cm) balls, pressing the mixture into the palms of your hands so the ingredients stick together. Roll each ball in the desired topping(s) and place on your baking sheet. Can be stored in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for about a month. They can also be frozen for several months.

Note: If dipping in melted chocolate, put about 5 ounces (140 grams) of chopped dark chocolate and 1 teaspoon of shortening or butter in a heatproof bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Once melted, remove from heat and dip the balls, one at a time, into the melted chocolate, making sure the entire ball is coated with chocolate. Then, with a fork, remove the fruit balls from the melted chocolate, allowing any excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl. Place on a baking sheet. When all the balls have been dipped in the chocolate, place the baking sheet in the refrigerator until the chocolate has set. Once the chocolate has hardened, if you like, you can drizzle the fruit and nut balls with melted milk or white chocolate (you will need about 1 ounce (30 grams)).

Makes about 30 - 1 inch (2.5 cm) balls.

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Fruit and Nut Balls (Sugarplums)

1/2 cup (50 grams) pecans

1/2 cup (50 grams) walnuts

1/2 cup (70 grams) pitted dates, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup (70 grams) dried figs, tops removed and coarsely chopped

1/2 cup (70 grams) dried cherries or cranberries

1/2 cup (70 grams) dried papaya or apricots, coarsely chopped

1/2 tablespoon (5 grams) candied ginger (optional)

1/4 cup (40 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar

1 tablespoon honey, golden syrup, or light corn syrup

1 - 2 tablespoon Grand Marnier or freshly squeezed orange juice

Toppings:

Sugar (Granulated White Sugar, Confectioners (powdered or icing) Sugar, or Demerara or Turbinado Sugar)

Finely chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds or pistachios)

Cocoa Powder

Dried Sweetened or Unsweetened Coconut (finely ground)

Dark or Milk Chocolate (finely grated)