I have no idea why these tasty morsels are called cookies because, in my view, they in no way resemble my definition of a cookie! Nonetheless, they have always been called Frypan Cookies in my family and, regardless their name, they are mighty tasty. In fact, I think they’re actually more like candy than cookies.
Why they are called “Frypan Cookies” is a mystery to me but that’s what I’ve always known them as and my mother has been making them since I was a wee child (and probably even longer ago than that). My best guess is that, somewhere back in time, someone picked up a frypan and used it to cook the date, sugar, and egg mixture and simply named the result “Frypan Cookies”. In any event, we’ve continued the tradition of using a frypan which, I must admit due to its shallow depth, is easier to scoop the mixture from to make the balls than would be a deeper saucepan.
While these treats don’t take a lot of ingredients or any difficult-to-find ones, I tend to only make them once a year – at Christmas – probably because that was the only time of the year my mother made them and they were always considered to be a special Christmas treat.
The trick to making these balls is in the thickening of the egg, sugar, and date mixture. It is important to stir the mixture continuously as it cooks to avoid scorching. Once the mixture starts to thicken, it’s done. This generally takes about 5-7 minutes.
Don’t let the mixture get too thick as it will then be difficult to incorporate the rice cereal into the mixture.
Adding nuts, such as chopped walnuts or pecans, is optional in this recipe. I generally do not add them. One-half cup of chopped glazed red cherries can also be added, if desired.
There are a couple of options when it comes to the coconut coating for frypan cookie balls. Traditionally, sweetened shredded coconut is used – this is the long stringy kind of coconut.
While, sometimes, it is tricky to get the coconut to stick to the balls, this coconut makes a more showy frypan cookie ball.
The shorter, more fine-textured, macaroon coconut may also be used.
It makes a neater looking ball but is not quite as interesting and showy looking.
I often choose the macaroon coconut if I am making these balls for trays for an afternoon tea since they are more dainty and the coconut adheres better and does not tend to fall off the balls.
Choice of coconut in which to roll the balls is, of course, a matter of personal preference.
The mixture needs to be quite warm in order for the coconut to stick to the balls. So, it’s important to work quickly when making the balls. If the mixture gets too cool, you can transfer it to a microwave-safe bowl and heat the mixture for just a very few seconds (i.e., 7-8 seconds) to warm it up.
The balls can be formed by hand but it’s a sticky process (although spraying the hands with cooking spray helps).
The best method is to use a small 1″ cookie scoop. This will also ensure that the balls are of consistent size.
These balls need to be kept chilled and will keep in the refrigerator for about a week. They also freeze really well if longer storage is needed. Whether refrigerating or freezing, just ensure that the balls are stored in an airtight container and are separated between layers of wax paper.
Frypan Cookie Balls
2 tbsp butter
2 eggs, beaten until light
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup granulated sugar
1½ cups pitted dates, chopped
2 cups crisped rice cereal (such as Rice Krispies)
½ cup chopped nuts (optional)
Apx. 1½ – 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut or apx. 2/3 – 1 cup macaroon coconut
Line large baking sheet with wax paper.
In large frypan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk the eggs, vanilla, and sugar together. Add the liquid mixture along with the dates to the frypan and reduce heat to medium low. Cook mixture, stirring constantly to avoid scorching, for approximately 5-7 minutes or until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the rice cereal and nuts.
Place coconut in bowl. Using a 1” cookie scoop, form the mixture into balls then drop balls into coconut; roll to coat then place on cookie sheet. Refrigerate until firm. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container or freeze for longer storage.
Yield: Apx. 56 balls
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A rich, moist, and slightly crunchy date ball.
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 eggs, beaten until light
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1½ cups pitted dates, chopped
- 2 cups crisped rice cereal (such as Rice Krispies)
- ½ cup chopped nuts (optional)
- Apx. 1½ - 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut or apx. 2/3 - 1 cup macaroon coconut
- Line large baking sheet with wax paper.
- In large frypan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk the eggs, vanilla, and sugar together. Add the liquid mixture along with the dates to the frypan and reduce heat to medium low. Cook mixture, stirring constantly to avoid scorching, for approximately 5-7 minutes or until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the rice cereal and nuts.
- Place coconut in bowl. Using a 1” cookie scoop, form the mixture into balls then drop balls into coconut; roll to coat then place on cookie sheet. Refrigerate until firm. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container or freeze for longer storage.