Last week I was at a friend's place for dinner. Other than the host and her two daughters I didn't know anyone there, so conversation consisted of a steady stream of small talk. You know the stuff. "Where do you work?" "How do you know the host?" Blah. Blah. Blah.
I didn't find it as awkward as I normally do. People had brought their kids and their pets, and our host had provided a Christmas craft, so there was always something to talk about. "How old is your daughter?" "How old is your dog?" "How long do you think it will take to vacuum up all this glitter?"
Overall I had an enjoyable evening, with a below normal level of self-consciousness and self-doubt. My job involves spending a lot of time with customers. At the end of the day I don't have energy left for socializing. As such, my small-talk subroutine is a bit rusty. In spite of this, I don't think I made the biggest faux-pas of the evening. I was the victim of it.
One of the women, who I will call Joan, asked if I was Holly's mother. I looked at the seven-year-old crafting beside me and said that I wasn't. At that point, the woman across the table spoke up and said she was Holly. The seven-year-old was Holly's daughter. Joan thought I was old enough to be a grandmother. Balls.
I would have been embarrassed for Joan if I hadn't been so embarrassed for myself. I guess if I had started really, really young, I am old enough to be a grandmother. Still, it's one thing to be old enough and another thing to look old enough. I say again: balls.
Which, oddly enough, brings me to a recipe. It's a recipe I have been asked for many, many times, but have never shared. Not because I was being secretive, but because I don't have a recipe. I usually just put the ingredients together until the dough reaches the right consistency then I form the dough into... BALLS!
The recipe is based on Cashew Cookie Larabars. When I realized these bars only had two ingredients I had to try making them on my own. Usually I just wing it. Last week I decided to actually measure as I went. The results are below.
Cashew-Date Laurie Balls
1 cup cashews
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups pitted dates
1/4 cup sesame seeds or shredded coconut (optional)
- Process cashews, salt and cinnamon in a food processor until the cashews are somewhat coarser than cornmeal. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Process dates in the food processor. Add to the bowl with the cashews etc.
- Knead the ingredients together until a sticky dough is formed.
- Pinch off pieces of dough and form into 1 inch balls.
- Roll balls in sesame seeds or coconut if desired.
- If you are one of my local readers, I use 1 - 300 gram bag of Thrifty Pack pitted dates which is about two cups.
- If you want a raw item, use raw cashews. I've also used roasted cashews and roasted, salted cashews with good results. If using salted cashews I omit the sea salt.
- My food processor is an oldie but a goodie. As such it only had two speeds: pulse and on. (I guess if you include "off" it has three speeds.) If you have a more advanced food processor you may be able to toss everything in and whiz away.
- In my food processor the dates go from date-sized to raisin-sized to one huge ball of sticky date pulp. When it gets to that stage it's ready.
- If you are using an older food processor don't leave it unattended. When the dates get to that huge ball stage my food processor starts to rock, roll then wander across the counter.
- I started making these a few years ago. At the time I visited several websites looking for ideas. This recipe is the sum of what I found. Sadly I can't remember which websites I visited. I'd give them credit otherwise. There are a lot of "Larabar" recipes out there!
As it happens, I took these balls to the dinner last week. I will state for the record that, in spite of the grandma-gaffe, Joan did not go home with balls stuffed up her nose. I may not go out much, but my social skills haven't deteriorated that far!