I happened across this recipe in a Taste of Home compilation book I bought on Amazon for one cent. Sure, they charged me $3.99 shipping, but a great recipe book for 4 bucks is still a deal. It was a cookie recipe book, but I wouldn’t call these cookies – more of a candy. They are not baked, you cook the mixture briefly on the stovetop before shaping into these cute strawberry shapes and rolling in red sugar.
It would be a stretch to call them “healthy” — but as far as treats go, they’re lower in sugar and fat than a lot of things out there. Most of the ingredients are in whole, raw form, like the dates, coconut, and walnuts. And since they contain no flour, they’re gluten free, which is an added bonus for those who are avoiding the big “G” for allergy or dietary reasons.
My son, age 11 and notoriously finicky, had to be coaxed into trying one. When he bit in, his eyes got big and he exclaimed “this is GOOD! It’s like cake or something! I can’t explain!”
My daughter, age 6, who claims to hate coconut, loved them. I didn’t tell her about the coconut.
- 8 oz chopped dates
- ½ cup flaked coconut
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- dash salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1½ cups crisp rice cereal
- ½ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
- red sanding sugar
- green icing or green candied cherries
- In a large skillet over low heat, melt butter completely, then add sugar and stir to combine. Add dates, coconut, egg, and salt. Stir quickly to keep from scrambling your egg. Raise heat to medium and cook and stir for around 5 minutes, or until the mixture reaches the temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- ]Remove from heat and add vanilla, crisp rice cereal and toasted walnuts.
- Stir thoroughly and then allow the mixture to cool for about 10 minutes before proceeding to the next step.
- When mixture has cooled enough to handle, and keeps its shape when rolled into a ball, portion into strawberry-sized shapes and roll in red sanding sugar. Place on wax paper to finish cooling.
- Top each "strawberry" with green colored icing or a piece of candied green cherry.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for about a week, if they last that long!