Every year around this time, I think of the piles of cookies that my grandmother used to make for the holidays. And recently, I unintentionally made a recipe that tasted just like one of her creations—only much less sweet—and it's definitely going to become a staple in our house during Decembers to come. These Fruity Cookie Bites are super straight forward as far as the ingredients go, they don't require baking, and they pack sweetness that the kids will love.
When I first made these, they tasted so much like my grandmother's Apricot Balls that I knew I'd need to keep trying alternate flavors. Made with a base of granola and dried fruit, the variations are almost endless and you can tailor them to the preferences of your own family. We like them with apricots, apricots and dried cherries, and raisins best, though I bet they'd also be good with prunes. (Dried apples don't work so well since they aren't as moist as other fruits.) They have a very subtle crunch from the granola, which gives them a bit of a cookie feel, and stick together from the dried fruit, as well as a little coconut oil and natural sweetener.
I like adding something like this to a cookie tray to round out the offerings, or to keep these on hand for weeknight treats. Since they have some complex carbohydrates and nutrients from the fruit, they are a healthier (and lower added sugar) way to share holiday treats with the whole family—even those little ones. Plus, it's fun that they sort of look like snowballs!
Fruity Cookie Bites
Adapted from Mark Bittman's the Food Matters Cookbook
I portion these out with a 1-tablespoon measuring spoon, though you can make them a little smaller with a 1-teaspoon spoon. If you need them to be nut-free, use a nut-free granola and skip the coconut on the outside as needed.
1 cup granola
1 1/2 cups dried fruit such as dried apricots (snipped), dried cherries, or raisins
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup or honey
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1. Place the granola into a blender or food processor. Blend until well chopped. Add the dried fruit, oil, and sweetener, and blend, stopping frequently to scrape down the sides of the bowl, or if you have a Vitamix, use the stick to help things move around. Blend until starting to clump together and are finely chopped.
2. Place the coconut into a bowl and portion out 1-tablespoon balls. Roll in your hand, then roll in the coconut. Place on a plate and repeat to finish the batch. Chill in the fridge to firm up, then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.