Am I the only person in the world who doesn’t like peanut brittle? Don’t get me wrong: I love peanuts and worship caramel, but I just don’t like the two of them together. I find peanut brittle overly sweet and way too difficult to eat, and I always look for ways to re-purpose it. Having grown up in another country and in a time of great need, I strive to never throw edible food away because I remember how it used to be to not have any food at all. As such, I like to see value and potential in every tiny bit of leftovers – peanut brittle included 🙂
This Christmas has made no exception. Last week my husband received a gift basket from work with a generous assortment of sweet goodies: peanut brittle, dried fruit, shortbread cookies etc. To me, this was the perfect opportunity to make cocoa & fruit balls! The recipe below is just what you need if you’re looking to eliminate waste and to use up cookie or cake leftovers, recreating them as something new, exciting, and budget-friendly.
These cocoa balls are easy to make and very economical. For a start, you will need some dried fruit, which most of us have in our pantry anyway around the winter holidays. Dried apricots are my all-time favorite to use in this recipe. Slightly sour, bold and striking, with a deep aromatic flavor and a fiery color which reminds me of summer days past, dried apricots are something to behold. Just look at the cubed apricots below: aren’t they a thing of beauty? 🙂
You will also need dried cranberries, which you can cut in half or leave as they are, depending on their size.
Put the dried fruits in a bowl along with crushed peanut brittle, cocoa powder and perhaps the most important element: cookie/cake crumbs. You can use any baked sweet leftovers for this purpose. On this occasion, I decided to use some banana bread which had been sitting on our kitchen counter for quite a few days. I put chunks of banana bread in the food processor and turned them into crumbs. You need two cups crumbs in total.
I don’t use any sugar in this recipe because I rely on the natural sweetness of the dried fruit and on the sugar in the cookie/cake crumbs.
Add the milk and the rum, and mix until the milk has been fully absorbed and the mixture is homogeneous.
Pour more milk (start small, with 1 tbsp, and increase the quantity gradually) if the mixture is too dry. You want the mixture to be compact and easy to work with.
Make the cocoa balls by using a small rounded spoon or your own hands. You should get about 12-14 pieces in total, enough for 4 people.
Serve the cocoa & fruit balls as they are, covered with confectioners’ sugar, cocoa or shaved chocolate, or dunk in melted chocolate. For a truly festive look, use seasonal edible decorations.
This dessert keeps well for several days in the fridge, and I like to make it whenever I’m stuck with days-old cakes or cookies and uncooperative relatives who won’t eat any more of them. 🙂 Disguised under the velvety chocolate flavor and enriched by majestic fruity undertones, baked leftovers come back to life reinvented, refreshed and succulent, and ready to be savored – again, and again, and again.