I know the name doesn’t sound as delicious, but I promise, these cookies are indeed tasty, delicious, and quite nutritious.
For those, who doesn’t know what Quark is (if there are any at all), it is a fresh dairy product, made by warming sour milk and then strained through a sieve. It is similar to a curd cheese or cottage cheese, somewhat similar to ricotta, and it is very popular in Eastern Europe, where it has a completely different name (obviously), one of which you can certainly meet in a Polish food shop – Twaróg. Just as any other dairy product, it has a decent amount of protein, it can be full fat and low fat (I choose the latter). You may not like it at all if you try it as it is, because it’s sour, but mixing it with other things can make healthy and delicious recipes. In Russia, the most popular way of eating quark is mixing it with sugar and creme fraiche and raisins. This is a treat that everyone knows from childhood. In this recipe I do mix it with raisins, but no sugar and creme fraiche or sour cream are added. Because it has to be a healthy dessert.
It may sound silly, but every single kid in Russia knows a cookie, which is called ‘Potato’. It is a cookie made of cookie crumbles mixed with condensed milk and butter, coated in cocoa powder and refrigerated. Sometimes honey, rum and nuts may be added. The cookie is usually shaped like a potato, thus it has its name. It is an extremely delicious dessert, but just as much unhealthy because of the high sugar and fat contents. It’s overloaded with empty calories. Unfortunately, it is one of my all-time most favourite desserts, and I used to eat it on a daily basis, until I understood that it was doing me no good. And the more I ate it, the more I wanted to eat it every single day. Not good at all.
Actually, there is a version of this same dessert that is known in England and many other European countries. It is a Christmas dessert, called Rum Balls. So probably many of you have seen it and even tried it.
The last time I ate ‘Potatoes’ or Rum Balls, was over six months ago, just at the time when I decided to change my diet and lifestyle. Since then, from time to time I start craving the sweetness of the cookie, especially when drinking camomile tea (I used to have them together). And last week, when eating my now favourite Day & Night Truffles, I got this déjà vu of cocoa powder and camomile tea, which inevitably brought the sweet memories of the Rum Balls. That night I couldn’t help but search for some healthier alternatives, and I came up with this recipe. Although it is not the same as the original Rum Balls or Potatoes, it turned out to be very tasty and healthy too. So in the end, I am happy to have another great dessert recipe that I can eat and not feel sorry for it 🙂
- 250-300 g Rolled Oats
- 1 Apple (sweet)
- Ground Cinnamon
- 200 g Quark (or Twaróg)
- 30 g Raisins or Sultanas
- 3 tbsp freshly made strong Coffee
- 1 tsp Honey
- 2-3 tbsp Water
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- Peel and core one apple, cut in pieces and put into a food processor or a blender. Add about 2-3 tbsp of water and blend until smoothly puréed. Rub the apple purée into the oats, add cinnamon, mix well, and put in the oven heated at 70-80 C. The idea is to bake it just a little until it is golden and aromatic. Let it cool a bit and then grind in the food processor to make crumbles.
- Add raisins and coffee to the food processor and blend well.
- In a bowl, mix together the quark and the puréed raisins, add 1 tsp of honey and mix with the oatmeal crumbles.
- Form golf-ball size cookies, coat them in cocoa powder and refrigerate.
- Enjoy another healthy dessert! Can be eaten as a snack too.
As variations, nuts and other dried fruit can be added. You can add rum or other spirit too, if you want, just reduce the amount of coffee then. I like to keep it alcohol-free though 🙂