On Sunday, I decided to dig into one of my New Year’s resolutions — read more books — and pulled out my long-ago-discharged Kindle and charging cable. I had already purchased the book on tap for the day (“Darkly Dreaming Dexter,” no chick-lit for me, thank you very much) and only had to download it to my Kindle. I leaned over to plug in the charger and was met with a shower of plastic pieces. White plastic, everywhere. Whaa?
The coating on my Kindle cable was cracking and falling off wherever I touched or bent it, leaving only a twisty bundle of silver wires that I was not inclined to attach to an electrical outlet. With all of the technology I’ve owned over the decades, I’ve never, ever had the coating on a wire disintegrate like that. After a few moments of blinking confusion, I, uh, got all blue up in here. (Which meant that I thwarted not one but two resolutions — the second being not to anger so quickly (SoupAddict has her prickly moments) — already on the very first day of the year. Drat!)
Quick research on the web revealed this is a common, pretty much universal, occurrence with the 2nd Gen Kindle cables. Amazon responded to my report very quickly, and I should be back up and running with a new cable on Saturday.
So, with my Kindle plans derailed, I was back on the laptop, back on the interwebs, catching up on all the holiday posts I missed. (It’s impossible to complain about that — man, do I love the foodie blogs!)
As I clicked here and there, I noticed a mini-revival of the sugar plum: ping pong balls of sweet treats made from nuts and dried fruit, and of course, sugar, inside and out.
They looked delicious. They really did. Like something I would enjoy eating just about any other month of the year. But, it’s January, people, and I’m completely sugared out. Sugared. Out. They stuck in my brain, however, intrigued by this sort of wheatless granola bar in ball form.
So, on Monday, I got to work and gathered up my favorite dried fruits, nuts and seeds. Honey and almond butter would do the binding (vegans can sub agave or orange juice for the honey with no problem).
(I adore almond butter, but made the mistake of buying a brand that needed a lot of stirring. No headroom in the jar meant that I had oil everywhere. Sigh. Must remember to pick up a jar of Justin’s this weekend.)
And instead of coating the balls in sugar, ground pistachios — my favorite nut ever — would do the job.
Now, these babies aren’t sugar-free — they have sweet dried fruits and honey, afterall — but they’re healthier than sugar plums, gluten-free, vegetarian, and potentially vegan. No baking required. And far more fun to eat than granola bars. I’ve been snacking on them all week at work, and another batch is in the plans for the weekend. A little “Dexter” on the Kindle, a few trail mix bites, a few miles on the treadmill. (And, yes, probably a nap, too. I’ll own up to that.) I think it will be a fine weekend.
Trail Mix Bites
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Assembly time: 15 minutes
Yield: About 24 bites
1/4 cup pistachios
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 cups mixed nuts and seeds (I like pistachios, almonds, walnuts, flaxseed, sunflower seeds and pepitas)
2 cups dried fruit (I used equal amounts dried cranberries, dates and figs. Chop the larger fruits so everything is about the same size.)
grated zest from one medium orange (about 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon almond or peanut butter
1 tablespoon honey
1 pinch sea salt (a finishing salt like Maldon’s is nice)
1. Place 1/4 cup pistachios in a food processor and process until finely chopped (just short of a powder). Combine with sesame seeds in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Add nuts, seeds, and dried fruit to processor bowl and process until finely chopped. Add zest, nut butter, honey and salt and pulse several more times. When the mixture is ready, it will begin to clump together and pull away from the sides of the bowl.
3. Remove mixture to a bowl and knead mixture briefly to consolidate. Pick up about 1 heaping tablespoon of the mixture and squeeze tightly in one palm. Use your fingers to compress the mixture into a ball. Drop in the pistachio-sesame seed bowl and roll to coat.
Refrigerate for 15 minutes to set. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.