These peanut balls teetered precariously on the edge of turning into peanut butter but the desiccated coconut salvaged them. Not that peanut butter could ever be a bad thing, but I had my mind set on these. Peanuts, when blended, will eventually become peanut butter. These balls follow the same blending process, only, you don’t blend them as long. You want to stop just as soon as the mixture starts to clump together and you can roll them into balls without them crumbling and falling apart. Any further than that and you’ve crossed over. You are now smack bang in butter territory. (If you find that you’ve taken it too far, just add more coarsely blended peanuts or more desiccated coconut to get the right roll-able consistency. Leaving them in the fridge for a bit will help firm them up further). It all sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is, to be honest.
Dry-roasting the nuts is an important step for two reasons: one, the flavour. Upon heating, nuts and seeds release their oils making them considerably more flavourful than in their raw state. Even if I use ready-roasted nuts from a packet, I toss them in the pan for a few minutes before using. Two, the oils that release also helps with the blending; the warmer the nuts are, the faster they blend.
I personally like the combination of peanuts, sesame, and coconut in this, but you could just as easily use only peanuts and coconut or leave out the coconut all together. Similarly, if jaggery is hard to come by where you live, cane/palm sugar or honey would all be great substitutes.
PEANUT, SESAME & COCONUT BALLS WITH JAGGERY
- 1 ½ cups peanuts
- ⅔ cup white sesame seeds
- ⅔ cup desiccated coconut (optional)
- ¼ cup jaggery (or cane/palm sugar)
- ¼ tsp salt
- For skin-on peanuts, lightly toast them in a dry pan and remove skins. The heat helps the skins slip off more easily.
- Add the peanuts to a dry pan. Toast over a low heat for 10-15 minutes, moving them around frequently with a spatula until nicely coloured on all sides. When the peanuts are done, add the sesame seeds. These won’t take more than a minute to colour. Cool slightly.
- Once cool enough to handle and still warm, add the toasted peanuts, sesame seeds, salt and jaggery to a food processor or blender jar (note: if using a blender, pick a jar that fits all the ingredients snugly; the smaller the jar, the better they blend).
- Pulse for a few seconds until it starts to powder. Keep pulsing, scraping down a few times in between until you get a somewhat fine mixture. You want it to just start clumping together. (don’t blend too much - that’ll take you to peanut butter territory).
- When it looks like you have the right consistency, roll out a ball with a small amount. If it holds its shape without falling apart, it’s done.
- Tip the mixture into a bowl and add coconut (keep some aside to cover the top). Mix it through with your hands. Roll them into balls, sprinkle over remaining coconut and refrigerate for an hour.
- Can be kept refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.