Friday, November 28, 2008

November 23-24, 2008: Grubs

Of all Johanna's posts, my favourite is Gorgeous Grubs. These curiously named sweets are a long time favourite in Johanna's family and it wasn't the recipe that appealed to me so much as the memories she recounted as she rolled them. I didn't plan to make them at all until I was faced with an imminent seminar from a guest speaker at work and a case of baking fatigue. The simple mix-roll-refrigerate process seemed achievable. It also seemed to invite mixing up the ingredients to suit one's own needs and pantry - I went for a gluten-free version, replacing the Marie biscuits with my remaining rice bubbles and some ground almonds. I can envisage mixing in dried fruit and chopped nuts; now that Léna's shared her recipe for sweetened condensed nothing, even a vegan rendition is within reach!

These grubs struck me as the ideal food for a children's party. Not only are they simple to make, they don't require complicated ingredients and their flavour is simple and sweet, not sophisticated. Regardless, they proved very popular with my adult audience! And where do they get their name from? I'm not sure, but I can guess:


1 1/3 cups rice bubbles
2/3 cup ground almonds
3 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
400g can sweetened condensed milk
~2/3 extra dessicated coconut for rolling

In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (rice bubbles, ground almonds, cocoa, dessicated coconut or any substitute you want to make). Pour over the condensed milk and stir it all together until well combined. Roll generous teaspoons of the mixture into balls and toss them through the extra coconut.

Johanna likes these best gooey and at room temperature, but they should otherwise probably be stored in the fridge.


  1. It's strange how people all come up with similar recipes when they were kids.

    My sister and I used to make a similar thing when we were young. We would crush up the Marie biscuits, mix in milo, add condensed milk and roll them, then coat them in more milo. Or if we were lazy, we wouldn't even roll them and just eat them from the bowl using a spoon.

  2. love your photo of them - and your hands look just right after rolling them - and I like the idea of rice bubbles in them - will have to try that some time - I could just eat one right now!

  3. My sister used to make these too , except we called them snowballs and pre-veganism I was a renowned snowball-eater of supernatural quantities! I think I'll have to try again.

  4. Ha, I loved reading about your own childhood versions and names!

    Thanh, I like the idea of using Milo - I don't usually have it in the house, but that could change. :-)

    Johanna, note the almost chocolate-free, coconut-dusted finger tips on the right hand. I managed to develop a rolling technique. :-D

    Thanks, Léna! I wonder if coconut milk powder would be a cool substitute for soy milk powder here...?

    'Snowballs' is a very apt name for 'em, Miss T!

  5. one half of my family called these lil dudes truffles and the other half squished them flat into discs and called them favourites. i still make them today, mind you, i have to almost double the recipe to cater for my "just one more spoonful from the bowl" addiction

    personally, i like to stick a few in the microwave for about 20 seconds, until they start to bubble up from the inside out. mmmm, sticky, soft, chocolate goodness!

  6. "Favourites" - I love that name, POP!shonelle! We have a couple of similarly vague nicknames for foods in my family... jaffles were always known as "hot ones" and toast grilled with pizza toppings is simply "grilled". :-D