Lemon Balls with Fresh Walnuts

We had a giant walnut tree at the yard of my childhood home in Florya. I used to crack open the walnuts who fell on top of the low garage roof and eat until my stomach burst. My hands used to turn green and then black and remain that way for days as if someone put henna on them.

Fresh walnuts remind me of those days, those carelessly joyful days. Playing dodge ball until the middle of the night,  the fire we used to make in the middle of the street during Hidrellez night, the white, vine wrapped pergola we used to climb on top at night to watch the stars, the plans of forming a music band with my girlfriends…in short, my childhood!

Every year, when the season starts to turn, I buy lots of fresh walnuts from bazaars and streetcorners. It never is enough to crack up the outer shell, because fresh walnut membrane is bitter and needs to be peeled as well. The inside is all white. Its crunchy and amazing.  After that, a giant dish of fresh walnuts can be enjoyed.
This year, while I was cracking open and peeling the fresh walnuts I’ve bought, my daughter was waiting beside me. Opening her mouth like a baby bird each time I give her an another walnut…She was so happy to eat all the walnuts I put in her mouth, she made me remember my twenty year younger self once more. Fresh walnuts not only brought old memories home but they ahve also created new ones…Thus, It was inevitable to use them to create something new. It was like paying a debt.
Ingredients: (For 12 balls)
1 cup of peeled fresh walnuts
1 cup of shredded coconuts
1 heaping tblspn clotted cream or unsalted cream/soft cheese (optional)
1/2 lemon juice
1 lemon zest
2 tblspns honey or any other natural sweetener of choice
1/2 tspn vanilla extract (optional)
1 pinch of rock salt (optional)
Pulse all ingredients in your food processor until the texture becomes paste-like. Roll into small balls with your hands. Serve.


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