Children’s birthdays always seem a bit more exciting than grown-up birthdays – I think it has something to do with the way we celebrate. When you’re little you have all your friends over for a party, play some games and are treated to fairy bread and other delicious treats. But when you get older, birthdays seem to ‘creep up’ on people and rather than celebrating, they worry about the extra number added to their age and have much less of a fuss.
I don’t subscribe to that – I think birthdays are absolutely wonderful, regardless of how old you are. Kevin and I usually celebrate our birthdays by having a few friends over for dinner or to one of our favourite cheap and cheerful restaurants for dinner. While it may not be acceptable to whip out a round of pin the tail on the donkey partway through these more grown up celebrations, you can easily add a bit of childlike excitement to the party by having some childhood treats on hand.
Each year without fail my Mum would make marshmallow balls for my brother and my birthday parties. They’re a treat I vividly remember from every one of my birthday parties – I loved the marshmallow surprise hidden inside the biscuity exterior, and always tried to guess which colour marshmallow would be waiting inside (I was always hoping for pink).
If you don’t already know what marshmallow balls are, the last paragraph should’ve given you a bit of an idea – basically they’re a marshmallow wrapped in a fudgey-biscuit mixture and rolled in coconut. They’re Moorish, delicious and heaps of fun.
Making the biscuit mixture for the marshmallow balls is actually really quick – it’s simply a matter of melting together most of the ingredients, adding biscuit crumbs and giving it a good mix. It’s the rolling where things become a bit more time consuming… and sticky! For each ball you need to scoop out a heaped teaspoonful of mixture, roll it into a ball, flatten it, and pop a marshmallow on top. Then gently fold the dough around the marshmallow, adding more as needed, and roll it into a neat little ball. To finish simply roll the ball in coconut and pop it on a lined tray, ready to go in the fridge to chill.
To be honest, it sounds more time consuming than it is – once you get used to how much mixture you need for each ball, you get into a kind of rhythm and before you know it you’re all finished! My top tip when rolling is to have damp hands whenever you’re handling the mixture to stop it sticking to your hands – not only does it make the process a lot quicker, you don’t get that awful sticky-hand feeling… I can’t stand having sticky hands!
The marshmallow balls only need about 30 minutes in the fridge to chill before they’re ready to eat and last about a week stored in the fridge in an airtight container, making them a great make-ahead party food.
The best part? They taste exactly as I remember them – no disappointed taste-buds around here!
Makes 45 – 50 balls
- 200g butter, softened
- 397g (one can) condensed milk
- 1 cup light muscovado (brown) sugar, packed
- ¼ cup cocoa
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 375g plain biscuits, crushed to fine crumbs
- 200g (approx. 1 ½ bags) marshmallows
- 1 cup desiccated coconut, to coat
- Place butter, condensed milk, sugar, cocoa and vanilla essence in large saucepan and warm gently over low heat until butter is melted. Do not boil.
- Remove from heat and add biscuit crumbs. Mix until well combined.
- With damp hands, scoop heaped teaspoons of mixture and roll into a ball. Flatted with palm of hand and place marshmallow on top.
- Roll mixture around marshmallow, adding more as required. Coat in coconut and place on lined tray. Repeat until all mixture / marshmallows has been used.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm to the touch. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.