November 26, 2012

Dried Coconut and Date Rolls

I live in the state of Washington in America. Which is nowhere near coconuts. But it must have been coconut season somewhere because my local grocery store had coconuts for a dollar each. Due to the far proximity of real live coconut trees, they are usually priced around five dollars each, so I was impressed. I instantly found myself grabbing a couple just because I love them and WILL find a way to use them or just eat them.

I thought about vacuum sealing them but was not sure if it would be worth the vacuum seal bag. I didn't picture them lasting very long any way. So the next best thing was to dry the coconut out to use in some holiday baking I was planning on doing in the next month. Relatively speaking, dried coconut is not very expensive. However, if coconuts are cheap and plentiful, drying them is a good way to preserve the meat inside for later use.

I had been meaning to make date rolls for a few weeks now after rediscovering how much I love them in the bulk section at the grocery store. Every 10 months or so I get a couple just to fulfill the craving. Since I was attempting to dry my own coconut I thought I might as well make up some date rolls with some freshly dried coconut. Kind of ironic but delicious none the less. These snacks are Vegan and most specialty diets friendly. They can be made quickly and by any skill level. Great for the upcoming holidays!

The upper rolls over covered with almonds. The low rolls are covered with coconut.

First to dry out your coconut. You will need to drain any liquid inside. You can drink or use later for something else, just don't waste that liquid joy. You will need to poke out two of the three eyes to do so. (It still sounds funny in my head as I type it).

You will then need to pour out the liquid. You can do so by positioning the coconut with one eye down and the other two above it. This allows air to flow and helps the liquid to come out.

To brake in two pieces to reach the meat inside. Hit with a hammer or something heavy along the center line across if the eyes are on the top or bottom.

You can now also pull the inner shell away from the outer hard shell.

Cut away the bark or inner shell from the meat. You can now start adding to your dehydrator tray. I like to shred it and also cut thin wide strips with potato peeler.

Spread evenly around tray. Smaller pieces can fall through the tray if the spaces are too big. I recommend using a tray liner. I made my own, here is a link to my blog with instructions.
Dry for about 1-2 hours on low.
I found I can get about two coconuts worth on four trays.

Moving onto the date rolls you will need; 14-16oz of pitted dates, 3/4 C ground slivered or ground almonds, 1/2 C dried coconut.

If dates are not pitted start by doing that... then you can cut in quarters or halves. then set aside. If you are starting with slivered almonds you will want to chop very finely or run through a food processor. The texture is up to you, I chose to process until it was almost a powder at the finest point and no more than 1/2cm thick at the largest piece.

Warm dates until soft in pan on a cook top or in the microwave. You do not want to cook them, just make them tender. Combine 1/2C almonds and all of the dates in a food processor. You can also do this by hand but may take a little longer. If so I recommend using a rolling pin to help smooth out date paste.

Once almonds and dates have been well combine. You can roll into a log shape then cut in pieces or grab about a golf ball sized piece and roll into desired shape. I kept mine about the size of the whole date. Roll into topping of choice, your almonds or coconut. Store in air tight container to keep soft.

Normal dates can last about 6 months in the refrigerator or at least a year in the freezer or in a cool air tight container in your cupboard. I hope you enjoy and try put this quick recipe.

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