A snowballs chance in hell…..

Yudhika Sujanani prepares Snowballs - another trip down memory lane!

Yudhika Sujanani prepares Snowballs – another trip down memory lane!

When I chat to people from my hometown, we inevitably end up time travelling through reminiscing about our childhood treats. The were wealthy families and poor ones too, but the one thing that they had in common was a love for all things delicious. Some of us look back and for sure, we feel like we were deprived of so much but we also take note of the things we had then that our kids will never experience…and childhood friendships are the first thing that come to mind. I don’t feel so bad about having so much less than most people did…it was just my perception at the time and without my so-called hand, my life could have turned out differently….but thinking back on those days, there was an unspoken reality that most of us from Isipingo faced…so many talented people thinking….I don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell!

Without money, a troubled secondary education or a chance at tertiary education, there was a sense of hopelessness that hung over the town like an unspoken destiny. It was only much later that I realized that we never actually needed to leave to make it…growing up in Isipingo taught us the lessons we needed to succeed. It frustrated some to the point that they became the most driven people who have succeeded not only in South Africa but abroad too….a few names that pop into my mind…Nanda Soobben, the political cartoonist, and a missile aerodynamicist who’s name I care not to mention! That’s a story for another day….but the children of Isipingo made it to the big time….Doctor’s lawyers and accountants…not to mention entrepreneurs…the common thread amongst us was that we learnt to hustle! We did after all have a chance in hell, we just didn’t know it at the time!

People who left South Africa to holiday were celebrities and those who left to study abroad had super stardom status….hardly anyone ever got out so it was really newsworthy! We grew up in a time when we went to the Old Louis Botha airport to bid farewell to a person going on holiday. I can still remember my uncle leaving to London and my mom wearing her best silk sari to the airport. She pulled out an old leather suitcase from under the bed and in it was a treasure trove of saris…they smelled almost religious to me, with a faint hint of incense…also they were old which reminded me of how little she had and how much she treasured her little stash of silks. I remember burying my face in the pleats and pissing her off, but she had no idea then that the scent of her would live in my memory forever! She had incredibly long hair and she pulled it into a ponytail and in seconds almost like a magic trick, she coiled it into a fashionable bun…it was my job to pass her the hairpins and she got really irritated when I was a bit slow from day dreaming. How many of you remember this ritual….the sari, the makeup, the bun and lastly….the hairspray that made us choke….and then of course, she would cover her hair with a handkerchief to control the fine, wispy strays!

These were the days before new age cakes and baking…no red velvet cakes and croissants or chocolate ganache anything! Wareings Bakery was a name that every kid knew…they made pies, mock cream doughnuts and the amazing snowball too. On a school sports day, each kid got a doughnut or sometimes a snowball with a Coo-ee to go with it…it was tradition and something our kids will never experience! Snowballs and doughnuts from the corner shops around Isipingo were incredibly popular…Uncle Goolam from the Curry Tray, or Colleen’s Tearoom across the road from the Isipingo Beach Library or Jeena’s in Isipingo Hills…or the Busy Bee on Old Main Road…they displayed the doughnuts and snowballs on the counter, sometimes behind glass, but always on newsprint! They were fresh and delicious and we never tired of them! Anyone knows what happened to Wareings? I haven’t spotted their stuff in years and why is it so hard to find a good snowball???

After numerous requests, I finally got around to making up a batch…there is always some hesitation around a recipe that isn’t just a recipe…it’s so much more than that! It’s a memory of a time that life was a lot simpler, friendships were real, and no one real cared if you got the snowball coconut all over the back seat of the car! For some that don’t know what a snowball is, I can best describe it as a delicious whoopie pie, sandwiched together with an icing paste, dunked in a syrup and then rolled in tinted coconut! Keep them in an airtight biscuit tin for a day or so….if they last that long! I got the kids to help with weighing, measuring and coconut tinting, snowball syrup dunking too so click here to watch the clips…https://youtu.be/GgCqH2GL35s and here for how my kitchen helpers, Rushil and Tanvi, finished up their task so watch for their theatrical ending in this clip, https://youtu.be/vn8KBCAiGmQ

Lastly, I dedicate this recipe to all those ‘Snowballs’ from Isipingo!

Snowballs

Makes 10 – 12

Ingredients

400ml desiccated coconut
Few drops pink colouring

140g butter
125ml sugar
2 large eggs
5ml vanilla essence
375ml self-raising flour
Pinch of salt

For sandwiching the cakes…
200ml icing sugar
20ml boiled water

For the syrup…
120ml sugar
120ml water
150ml smooth apricot
7ml red food colouring

Place the desiccated coconut in a mixing and add few drops of pink food colouring. Rub the colouring into the coconut to tint the coconut until evenly coloured.

Kitchen assistant on coconut duty...Tanvi Sujanani on the job!

Kitchen assistant on coconut duty…Tanvi Sujanani on the job!

Cream the butter until light and fluffy, then gradually add the sugar.
Continue creaming until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Whisk the eggs lightly then gradually add this to the creamed butter, add a 2 teaspoons flour with the eggs to prevent curdling.
Add the salt and vanilla essence.
Add the flour and work the mixture into a soft dough.
Divide the dough into portions – I weighed them into 25g balls.

Snowballs...ready for the oven!

Snowballs…ready for the oven!

Roll each one until smooth and place on a baking tray lined with greased paper.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170°C for 12 – 15 minutes. They should be pale in colour with the bases turning light golden brown.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Just out the oven....

Just out the oven….

Make the syrup – heat the sugar and water in a 24cm AMC pot. Bring the syrup to the boil once the sugar has dissolved. Add the apricot jam and simmer until the syrup is slightly thick – not too thick as it will prevent the syrup from penetrating the snowball. Tint the syrup with red food colouring.

Snowball syrup made with sugar, water and apricot jam...in an AMC Cookware unit!

Snowball syrup made with sugar, water and apricot jam…in an AMC Cookware unit!

Once the snowballs are cool, mix the icing sugar and boiled water into a thick, smooth paste, then sandwich the snowballs together.

Glueing the snowballs together!

Glueing the snowballs together!

Sandwiching the snowballs....

Sandwiching the snowballs….

Leave to harden slightly – this takes a minute or two, then dip the snowballs into the hot syrup and toss them a few times to make sure they are coated. I used tongs for this as the syrup was quite warm.

Place them into the coconut and toss to coat evenly.

Pretty in pink...the snowball  done and dusted!

Pretty in pink…the snowball done and dusted!

Dust off the excess coconut and place on baking paper.

These are delicious eaten fresh but may be stored for up to two days.

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14 comments

  1. Wow,thank you for taking us down memory lane,those were certainly glorious days…

    Sent from my Windows Phone ________________________________

    1. The lady at the corner shop Colleens was my late mom, Mariam commonly known as Pumpy. Nanda Soobbeb mentioned is a friend of mine for over 40 years. The story really brought back old memories. Also very well known people the fish aunty, Adam the fishermen and his dad the uncle that supplied fresh chicken cut and cleaned. Not forgetting many other forgotten icons Habibulla falcon Khan, mr peruman principal of Orient school in the 70s. Sadek that use to supply crockery and supply cuttleries for functions etc. So mant forgotten people that was committed to the residents of Isipingo and surrounding areas. My geandad A.g.khan chairman grey street mosque, chairman King edward hospital, chaieman St johns

      1. Oh wow! I do remember a lady in the shop but not sure if it was your mom! There are many people that have been forgotten over the years. I visited Isipingo last year to speak on Mrs Deedat at her farewell at IBIS. It was quite something to see the school and drive through Isipingo Beach too! Thanks for writing in…stopping in at colleens was a normal part of the day for us on the way home from school!

  2. Hi Yudhika, I’m quiet new to baking but I made this recipe twice and both times the snowballs looked & tasted amazing. “Best snowballs I’ve ever had” are the comments I got from everyone that tasted it so thank you for the recipe.

  3. I’ve always always loved my snowballs. When I was pregnant with my 2nd baby, I only craved snowballs. I got my husband to drive the length n breath of Gauteng looking for my beloved snowballs and all he could find were “Red Cakes” Gosh those things were Aweful 🙂 Wish I had this recipe then. Thanks for sharing, this I must try 🙂

    1. LOl – i so so so miss wareings snowballs:((( and those cravings too! You can always come visit when you need one but say when and hopefully I will be around to make up a batch! XXX

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