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Pina Colada Balls

For someone who doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, I’ve certainly been on a roll lately with dessert recipes. After a sweet ride with Carrot Cupcakes, Pumpkin Tiramisu, Eggnog Cupcakes, and Tiramisu for Two, I had planned to go down a more savory path. That’s when I became obsessed with making an easy and efffortless dessert that tasted like pina coladas.

I blame my obsession on the gray winter days and the fact that I just bought a container of dried pineapple.  With unsweetened coconut and dark rum in the house, my fate was sealed.  I daresay these pina colada balls are one of the best things I’ve ever tasted in the category of “small bite desserts.”  The flavor is so decadent, that I’d rather call them “truffles” than “balls” but they’re not technically truffles.  So balls it is!  You could even shape them into little footballs and serve them on Super Bowl Sunday (the rum gives these beauties a manly kick).  Or make them for Valentine’s Day.  Or even better:  make them TODAY!!!

Here’s the recipe:

Pina Colada Balls
These balls aren’t too sweet as is, but be sure to use unsweetened coconut or they may become too sweet.  If you don’t want to use confectioner’s sugar, then substitute 2 to 3 tablespoons of sweetened coconut for part of the unsweetened coconut and omit the confectioner’s sugar. If you don’t have dark rum, you can use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon rum extract and make up the rest of the liquid (to equal the 1 tablespoon) with pineapple juice or a little water or almond milk. Also, be sure you use dried pineapple pieces (not fresh or canned — they will be too wet!)
1 cup dried pineapple pieces
1/2 cup raw cashews or slivered almonds
1/2 cup old-fashioned (rolled) oats
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, plus more to coat
1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon Myers dark rum

Combine all the ingredients (except the additional coconut) in a food processor and pulse to chop, then process until finely chopped and well combined.  The mixture should hold together easily.  Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls.  Roll the balls in additional unsweetened shredded coconut to coat.  Arrange the balls on a plate to serve.  They can be eaten right away but taste even better if allowed to sit at room temperature for a few hours to let the flavors meld.

Makes about 20

Recipe by Robin Robertson (c) 2012.