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Snowballs in Summer

February 1, 2014

Guilt-free snowballs, truly!

Guilt-free snowballs, truly!

In my recent Australia Day post, I reminisced about the ubiquitous lamington drives held as fund-raisers at primary school.

When my sons were at school, these drives had developed into pie drives and chocolate drives. Do they still do these now or have they graduated into something different?

In the 70’s, long before lamington drives, we had snowball drives!! Do you remember them? Chocolate coated, coconut encrusted, giant marshmallows were not something that we had in our house so this was a novelty worthy of some attention!

Believe it or not, the basis of a snowball, marshmallow, did in fact originate from the root of the marshmallow plant, Althaea officinalis. Its mucilaginous extracts from the root were used as a remedy for sore throats. French confectioners in the early 19th century were later credited with including egg white and their marshmallow was often flavoured with rose-water.

The invention of chocolate coating marshmallows has been long claimed by several countries, each identifying it as their own, although the first commercial foray is claimed by the Danes in the early 1800’s. Encrusting the chocolate confection in coconut must undoubtedly be Australian, I like to think!!

After researching this, it is amazing how many countries have their own version of an Arnotts Chocolate Royal! There is a Scottish Tunnocks teacake, a Canadian whippet, an American mallomar, a German schokokuss,  Israeli krembo….The list is infinite! The chocolate royal biscuit was one of my all time favourite biscuits as a child – stay tuned for a healthified version!!

Despite the sugar, snowballs are actually a passable healthy treat. Yes, apart from the sugar! Consisting of eggwhite and gelatine, they have protein and air, constituting a filling treat!! Don’t shoot me down yet – how about a sugar-free version?

Traditionally snowballs are coated in chocolate and rolled in coconut. This is a fiddly task. The marshmallow has to be quite cold. The chocolate not so hot that it melts the marshmallow and not too cold that it does not flow. I found that dipping the marshmallow twice gave me a better coating of mockolate, setting the first coat before applying the second.

Now if this is too much mucking around for you (as it was for me) a simple coating of toasted coconut will suffice. Not quite a snowball but yummy nevertheless!

Arghh, this is ridiculous, I just wanted an excuse to make a healthified version….

You will need your stand mixer for this one.

70g cold water
30g gelatine
160g boiling water
vanilla to taste (I used the seeds of 1 bean)
80g Natvia or equivalent dry sweetener*
3 egg whites
1 teas cream of tartar
1 tab maple syrup or stevia to taste

1 batch of Mockolate, melted at room temperature
Toasted coconut to sprinkle

Sprinkle the gelatine on the cold water and set aside to bloom for 5 minutes. Then add the boiling water and maple (or stevia) and stir until smooth and dissolved.

Mill the Natvia with the vanilla seeds in the TM for 10 seconds on SP 9.

In a dry clean bowl, whip the eggwhites with a standmixer or hand-beaters with the cream of tartar until stiff. Add the Natvia and continue whipping until it is smooth and glossy.

Whilst continuing to whip, add the gelatine mixture in a stream until all incorporated and you have a smooth fluffy mix. Pour into a greased slab tin or greased muffin tin and refrigerate for at least 3 hours until set.

If you have done this in a slab, cut the marshmallow into bite size pieces, otherwise remove the marshmallows from the muffin tin.

Working quickly, roll the marshmallows in the chocolate mix** and then sprinkle with coconut. Or alternatively just roll in coconut for a chocolate free version. Refrigerate until set and then scoff.

* By all means use sugar if you like, but you didn’t get it from here!!

** Or you could just drizzle the chocolate over the marshmallows too.

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