Confectionary Confessions

16 Nov 2014

(from the Sugar Plum Fairy’s Dessert Diary)

This recipe collection takes a few ingredients (some quirky, some staples) and spins them into unbaked goodie gold.

Recipes and Photographs by KIM BYER

Amarreto Lolipops

There are few greater joys than the joy of a tiny morsel of sugary goodness melting on your tongue like a snowball. The holidays are also a time for bakers to shine and for ovens to heat up the house with delectable smells. However, for those events and parties when your oven is overtaxed, along with your aching back and weary brain, a little un-baking may be just the thing to lighten your heavier-than-Santa’s sack of to-dos. 

This recipe collection takes a few ingredients (some quirky, some staples) and spins them into unbaked goodie gold. That’s correct: no baking required. Start up your food processor and in a few minutes, you’ll be serving up confections that taste like they took hours to create. 

Slap some flour on your face and relax at the kitchen counter this holiday season. This is our gift to you.  

If raw cookie dough with the essence of buttery pecans and coconut appeals to your palate, you may need to make a triple batch of these. Munch on these bonbons chilled or let them warm to room temperature-- they’ll turn to soft, blissful morsels.

Coconut Snowballs 

Makes approximately one dozen 1-inch balls 

1 cup shredded coconut

2 cups pecans 

3/4 cup white chocolate chips

1/4 cup coconut oil, warmed until liquid

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1/2 teaspoon sea salt 

Powdered sugar for dusting

Coconut shavings for bed

Blend shredded coconut and nuts for 30 seconds. Add white chocolate chips, coconut oil, vanilla extract and sea salt. Blend or pulse until fully incorporated. Remove from processing bowl and place in a small, freezer-safe bowl. Freeze dough for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from freezer and roll into one-inch (or smaller) balls. Chill until ready to serve. Dust with powdered sugar and serve atop coconut shavings. 

Lumberjacks can’t hold a holiday candle to this tasty sapling. And because no self-respecting lumberjack or nutcracker or neighbor will be able to stop tasting these little finger foods, you may want to consider rolling up a small forest for your next gathering.  

Pecan Log Rounds 

Makes approximately forty 1 1/4 inch slices 

Pecan coating: 

2 cups pecans 

1/4 cup golden raisins 

1/8 sea salt 

Cream cheese filling: 

2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup confectioners sugar 

1 tablespoon vanilla extract 

In a food processor, blend or pulse pecan coating ingredients until they are uniformly chopped. In a small bowl, blend the cream cheese center ingredients by hand. Quick freeze the cream cheese filling for approximately 15 minutes. In an oblong container (10 or more inches) layer one half of the pecan coating. Remove the cream cheese filling from the freezer and roll into two logs approximately an inch in diameter. Using one log at a time, roll into pecans until the entire surface is covered. Repeat with the second log using the remaining pecan coating. Refreeze for approximately 15-30 more minutes before slicing and serving.

So many berries. So little time. Add a big gulp of super food goodness and you have this delightfully complex, fruity and zesty tart to grace your holiday table. It may appear like it took all morning to make, but it’s as simple as a few whirs in your food processor and a few minutes of refrigerator time. 

Merry Berry Holiday Tart  

Makes one 14 x 4 inch tart 

For the bottom layer: 

2 cups raw almonds

1/2 cup Medjool dates, pitted 

1/2 cup roasted & salted pistachios

1/2 cup dried goji berries, roughly chopped 

6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 

3 teaspoons lemon zest 

 For the berry jam: 

1 cup dried mixed berries (e.g., blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, pomegranate seeds, etc.) 

1/4 cup goji berries 

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon agave (or maple syrup)

For the topping: 

1/2 cup sliced almonds

To create the bottom layer, blend or pulse raw almonds, dates, pistachios, goji berries, fresh lemon juice and lemon zest in a food processor until fully incorporated. When the dough becomes pliable and can retain its shape when pinched, it’s ready. Remove from processing bowl and press into a tart pan with a removable bottom. Quick freeze for ten minutes. 

Soak the remaining goji berries for ten minutes in a small amount of water. Drain when softened. Place berry jam ingredients into food processor and blend until thoroughly minced and thickened. Spread on top of bottom layer. Sprinkle on almond slices. Remove from tart pan and serve at room temperature.  

These chocolate cherry truffles will melt in your hands before they get to your mouth, so roll with caution and place them in wrappers. Pop one onto your tongue and visions of sugarplums will dance in your head. Hallucinations aside, these truffles are only a few minutes away from making you and your loved ones very, very, merry. So, what are you waiting for?

Chocolate Cherry Truffles 

Makes approximately two dozen 1-inch balls


1 cup shredded coconut 

2 cups walnuts 

3/4 cup cocoa powder (regular or special dark)

1/4 cup agave nectar 

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt 

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1/4 cup dried cherries 

Cocoa powder for dusting

Blend shredded coconut and walnuts for 30 seconds. Add cocoa powder, agave, coconut oil, sea salt and vanilla extract. Blend or pulse until fully incorporated. Remove from processing bowl and place in a small, freezer-safe bowl. Fold in dried cherries. Quick freeze dough for approximately 15 minutes. Remove from freezer and roll into one-inch (or smaller) balls. Before serving, dust with cocoa powder and place inside candy/mini muffin papers. 

Lollipops with a naughty lick of Amaretto liqueur will make even the nicest girls blush with delight. A hint of orange brings a floral depth to these grown-up goodies. Tie with a ribbon and serve chilled, because when the party warms up, these chewy pops will, too. They’ll also sweeten the smile on any Scrooge in the room. Have Tiny Tims in the house? Simply leave out the liqueur. 

Orange Amaretto Lollipops with Amaretto Ganache

 Makes approximately two dozen 1-inch lollipop balls 

2 cups almonds

1 cup Medjool dates, pitted 

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice 

2 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur 

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

2 teaspoons orange zest 

1/4 teaspoon sea salt 

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Lollipop sticks 

Amaretto Ganache:

6 tablespoons coconut oil, warmed until liquid 

5 tablespoons agave (or maple syrup)

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 tablespoon Amaretto liqueur

Pinch of sea salt

Note: This ganache/glaze is thin but will thicken if chilled. If too thick for dipping, simply warm and stir until desired consistency is reached. 

Blend or pulse almonds and dates in a food processor until a loose but moist meal is formed. Add orange juice, liqueur, cocoa powder, orange zest, salt and vanilla extract to the food processor and pulse until fully incorporated. Roll dough into balls. In a small bowl, stir the amaretto ganache ingredients together.  Skewer balls onto lollipop sticks and dip into ganache/glaze. Chill until ready to serve.

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