Chocolate apricot balls
Total time: 45 minutes, plus steeping and chilling times
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Servings: 3 to 4 dozen small candies
Note: If you're making these with kids, you can substitute orange juice for the wine and omit the liqueur. For adult tastes, you might like to use chocolate with 70% cacao. Instead of using vanilla cookies, you can make these candies with chocolate cookies or cake crumbs.
1/2 cup diced dried apricots
1/4 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup dry wine, white or red, divided
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped or chips (a generous cup of chips)
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
3 to 4 tablespoons sugar, to taste, divided
2 to 4 tablespoons fruit liqueur or rum, to taste (optional)
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 1 stick) butter, at room temperature, cut in pieces
6 ounces plain unfilled cookies, such as vanilla wafers
1/2 cup pecans
1 1/2 cups flaked or ground coconut
1. In a jar, combine the apricots, raisins and one-half cup of the wine in a jar and cover. Let stand for 1 hour. Remove the fruit, reserving the fruit and wine separately.
2. Combine the chocolate, cocoa, 3 tablespoons of the sugar, the wine from soaking the fruit, the remaining wine and the liqueur in a heavy, medium saucepan. Heat the mixture over very low heat, stirring often, until the chocolate melts, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and add the butter. Stir the mixture until the butter melts and blends in completely.
3. In the bowl of a food processor, place the cookies and pulse to fairly coarse crumbs. You will need three-fourths to 1 cup crumbs. Stir the cookie crumbs into the chocolate mixture. Add the pecans to the food processor and chop them finely, pulsing several times. Add the pecans and reserved fruit to the chocolate mixture and mix well. Taste the mixture, and add 1 tablespoon sugar if you like, depending on the sweetness of the chocolate and the cookies.
4. Refrigerate the mixture until it is just firm enough to shape in balls, at least 30 minutes.
5. Spread the coconut in a shallow bowl or tray. To shape the candies, take about 2 teaspoons of the chocolate mixture and roll it quickly in your palms into a smooth ball. Set the ball in the coconut and roll it until it is completely coated. Set the coated ball on a plate. Continue with the remaining chocolate mixture.
6. Before serving, refrigerate the candies until they are firm, about 1 hour. Serve them cold or at room temperature, in candy papers.
Each of 4 dozen apricot balls: 82 calories; 1 gram protein; 8 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 6 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 6 mg cholesterol; 5 grams sugar; 12 mg sodium.