Cashew Cardamom Balls

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By Tim McGuire

Twenty years ago, when Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh led a retreat for 1,200 people at Omega, head baker Tim McGuire was asked to come up with a simple and satisfying dessert. The result? Five thousand Cashew Cardamom Balls. They were such a hit that they've been a staple treat on campus ever since.

This simple, no-bake, gluten-free, vegan dessert has no refined sugar. And the basic recipe can be easily adapted to suit your preferences or cupboard by combining equal proportions of any dried fruit with different nuts or seeds.

Makes 8 ping pong sized balls


1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut 
1 cup toasted cashews
1 cup raisins
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
3/4 tablespoon orange zest (about 1 orange)


Spread the coconut on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven at 350º F for seven minutes, checking closely. Blend the cashews, raisins, cardamom, and orange zest in a food processor until the ingredients are chopped into small pieces and the mixture begins to stick together. Knead the ingredients together by hand into one large ball. Pinch off an ounce and a half, about the size of a ping pong ball. Shape into a firmly packed ball and roll it in the toasted coconut.

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