When you think of Valentine’s Day, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it:
A) Flowers? Or perhaps
B) Chocolate? No? Then maybe
C) A sugar-free recipe? Or how about
D) A healthy dessert recipe? If not, is it
E) A cookie dough recipe?
Well, if you guessed “All of the above,” you’d be correct about these Black Forest Cookie Dough Truffles I’m sharing with you all today over at Attune foods (except for the “flowers” part, that is). And, true to form, they’re refined sugar-free and have a lower glycemic index than “regular” desserts, too.
When it comes to Valentine’s Day, I’m a chocolate gal, all the way. And if you serve up chocolate in the form of raw cookie dough—ideally, dipped in even more chocolate—well, then I’m truly in heaven.
To share in the chocolate love, just head over to the Attune Foods blog to see today’s recipe. Happy Valentine’s Day!
I’m delighted to be taking part in the Home for the Holidays event, organized by Shirley over at Gluten Free Easily. The event spans almost a month, with a new blogger each day (25 in all!) presenting to you the recipe that spells “home” to her or him: the one that sparks memories of family gatherings when you were a child, warms your insides, makes you smile and evokes love and community. The one you immediately think of when you think, “holidays“! And we hope you’ll join in on your own blog by posting the badge, below, and linking up to the event as well!
So what does this mean? Well, there are twenty five amazing recipes–AND twenty five amazing giveaways! Just as there will be a new recipe posted every day (mine’s at the end of the post), there will also be a new set of prizes each day (each blogger will be giving away 3 prizes, with some repeated, so if you don’t win a favorite book on one day, you can try again later!). In addition to the individual bloggers’ giveaways, Shirley is coordinating three incredible Grand Prizes–and you’re automatically entered for each of the grand prizes every time you enter any of the individual giveaways throughout the month (such as the one you’ll find below!). D
To enter to win these three prizes–or any of the others—leave a comment on any, or all, of the blogs presenting in the event. Every entry also counts toward the three grand prizes. The more you enter, the more chances you have to win! The three prizes above will be announced on Gluten Free Easily on Christmas.
Today, I’m giving away these two prizes: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED!
TWO Copies of Living WithoutMagazine! This is a fantastic resource for anyone who has food intolerances, sensitivities or allergies. You’ll find great information and recipes for people who live without eating gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, corn, etc!
The giveaway will run until MIDNIGHT ON TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13.THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED! Shirley will announce the winners on her blog at the end of the week, and I’ll also announce them here thereafter.
For a complete list of all the prizes and their sponsors, see the end of this post (just after the recipe).
[Chocolate + peppermint + truffles = My kinda holiday food!]
When I thought about what foods evoke “holidays” for me, there was only one answer: chocolate. As an avowed chocaholic (okay, serious, recidivist, chocolate addict), pretty much any special occasion has to include the beloved blissful brown bite, but wintertime holidays in particular bring this confection to mind.
When I was a singleton living on my own, I rented the basement apartment of a fabulous Victorian home that had been converted into four flats. The woman on the top floor was a jetsetting, run- (and flirt)-with-the-wolves kind of gal, with a fashion sense that combined pixie-cute appeal with a definite siren-sexiness factor. (In the end, she nabbed the son of Canada’s richest billionaire as her husband. The marriage has since dissolved, but I have no doubt that the bank account is as healthy as ever).
One year, Ms. Jetsetter invited me to a Christmas party in her flat. Emerging from the bowels of the building, my eyes still squinting from the light, I was entirely entranced by the fantasty winter-wonderland theme of her party and the dreamy quality of the decorations in her apartment. It was as if she had smeared the camera lens with Vaseline and strung gauze all over the place, with everything slightly blurred, the edges softened, silver and white undertones to the light and shadows throughout the place. The antique tree decorations were illuminated in glimmering beams, reflecting off the glowing embers in the fireplace. Tabletops were crowded with plates of food and drink and small, flickering candles emitting a soft and sensuous glow. And there, in the bathroom (yes! the bathroom!) was a lovely bowl of individually wrapped chocolate truffles on the counter, so guests could sneak a little treat with them after checking their reflections, fixing their lipliner, or straightening a tie.
I was in love with the idea of offering truffles in virtually every room of the party, and since then, have blatantly copied the concept any time I throw a holiday bash. But the truffles themselves were easier to attain, since they came from Canada’s own President’s Choice line. Anyone who lives in Ontario (or has access to the brand) will likely be familiar with these rich little squares, covered in milk chocolate and concealing a mint-chocolate ganache filling.
Now that I can consume neither chocolate nor sugar, I just had to create an ACD friendly version of my own. I think you’ll find these incredibly reminiscent of milk chocolate, and just as irresistible. The insides are a blended-till-silky-smooth mix of coconut, cashews and chocolate (somebody save me), all covered in a thick and intense dark chocolate cloak. The contrast in flavors and textures is enough to make even the richest billionaire swoon.
The next time you throw a holiday party, you can proudly lay these treats out for your guests–in whichever room you choose.
[Didn't I tell you they look like milk chocolate? Rich, minty, smooth. . . heaven.]
“Milk Chocolate” Mint Truffles(ACD Stage 3 and beyond)
The coconut-chocolate combo in the filling really looks like milk chocolate and has a mouthfeel that is very reminiscent of the “real” thing. These truffles are rich and delectable enough to satisfy any chocolate lover in your life! I’m including a more labor-intensive version (my preferred) as well as a quicker and easier version; both are delicious and they are very close in texture.
Filling, Version I (a bit more work, but much more economical):
Make the Filling: Prepare a small square plastic container, single-serving loaf pan, or other small (around 2 cups/500 ml) square container by lining with plastic wrap. Alternately, you could use miniature silicone muffin cups (for round truffles). I used a small square plastic freezer container. Set aside.
For Filling Version One, Proceed as Follows: In a small, heavy-bottomed pot over lowest heat possible, melt the chocolate and coconut oil; set aside.
Place the coconut, cashews, sugar and salt in a high-powered blender (I use my VitaMix) and, using the wand, blend until you have a smooth and semi-liquid coconut-cashew “butter”. Keep blending until it is very smooth and pourable! (The mixture will be very warm at this point).
Add the melted chocolate, vanilla, stevia and peppermint extract and blend again just to combine.
For Filling Version II, Proceed as Follows: In a small, heavy-bottomed pot, combine the coconut butter, cashew butter, coconut sugar, salt and chocolate. Heat over lowest heat possible, stirring constantly, until melted and very smooth. Add the vanilla, stevia and peppermint extract and stir well. (For a glassy-smooth filling, at this point you can pour this mixture into a blender and blend for 30 seconds to smooth out any last remnants of graininess from the coconut sugar. . . but this is totally not necessary–still delicious without!).
For both Versions, Continue as Follows: Pour the mixture into the prepared container and refrigerate until solid, 40-60 minutes. Once solid, invert onto a cutting board lined with plastic and allow to sit for 5 minutes just to soften slightly (it will get soft fairly quickly, but if you cut it right away, it will splinter and crack). Using a very sharp knife, cut into desired number of squares (I made 16; some cracked or broke, so I ended up with about a dozen good squares).
Place the cutting board with the squares on it in the freezer until completely solid, about an hour.
About ten minutes before you will coat the truffles, make the coating.
For Coating Version I, Proceed as Follows: Bring about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water to a boil in a small pot; turn down to lowest heat. Set a glass or metal bowl over the pot (the bowl should be big enough that the bottom isn’t touching the water in the pot) and add the chocolate and coconut oil to the bowl. Allow to sit about 30 seconds, then stir until the chocolate melts. Remove from the pot and whisk in the carob powder and stevia. Mix well to eliminate any lumps.
For Coating Version II, Proceed as Follows: Place the sugar, chocolate and coconut oil in a small, heavy-bottomed pot over lowest heat possible. Stir constantly until the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and add the stevia; stir until well combined.
To Coat the Truffles: Place the bowl of chocolate on the counter. Get yourself a big, wide-tined fork (I found a good one at the dollar store; any large fork should do).
Bring the board with the cut-out filling to the counter. Working quickly, grab each piece and dip the bottom in the chocolate; let it drip off a bit, then place chocolate side-down onto the board. When they’re all done, return the board to the freezer so the chocolate can firm up a bit (about 5 minutes).
One at a time, place each square chocolate side-down on the fork. Hold the truffle over the bowl and, using a spoon or spatula, spoon more chocolate over the top and sides, allowing excess to drip through the tines of the fork and back into the bowl. Tap the fork on the side of the bowl to remove any excess. At this point, it’s really important to ensure that the entire filling is coated, with no uncovered spots peeking through the chocolate! Slide each truffle off the fork one at a time by pushing it off with the tip of a knife or another fork, and replace them all on the cutting board.
Once all the truffles are coated, you can pop them the fridge to firm up (no need to go back in the freezer at this point).
Once the truffles are firm, you can drizzle any leftover chocolate coating over them to create pretty patterns, or dip a dried cranberry or goji berry in a bit of the leftover chocolate to “glue” it to the top of a truffle as decoration.
Store the truffles in a covered container in the refrigerator. Remove them from the fridge at least 10 minutes before serving to allow the filling inside to soften up for a smoother, more ganache-like consistency. If you’ve covered the entire filling with chocolate, they should be fine at room temperature, as the coating is solid and will prevent any of the filling from oozing out. Makes 12-16 truffles.
Here’s the full lineup of participating sponsors and prizes for Home for the Holidays:
PRINT BOOKS (Cookbooks and Resource Books, or Combos):
–More Make It Fast, Cook It Slow and Totally Together Journal combos–by Stephanie O’Dea, three combos (3) –Simply … Gluten-Free Desserts by Carol Kicinski, 2 signed copies (2) each with a package of Carol’s Gluten-Free Flour mix –Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking by Pete and Kelli Bronski, one signed copy (1) –Artisanal Gluten-Free Cupcakes by Pete and Kelly Bronski, one signed copy (1) –Gluten-Free Baking for Dummies by Jean Layton and Linda Larsen, one copy (1) (release date Dec. 6) –Gluten-Free on a Shoestring by Nicole Hunn — 2 copies (2) –Gluten-Free in 5 Minutes by Robin Ryberg — 2 copies (2) –Gluten-Free Makeovers by Beth Hillson – 2 copies (2) –The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam, six signed copies (6) –The Gluten-Free Cupcakes Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam, six signed copies (6) –The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen by Laura B. Russell, two copies (2) –The Dairy-Free Gluten-Free Kitchen by Denise Jardine, ONE EXCLUSIVE ADVANCE COPY (1) –The Pure Kitchen by Hallie Klecker, two copies (2) –Cooking for Isaiah by Silvana Nardone, three copies (3) –Free for All Cooking by Jules Shepard, one signed copy (1) –The First Year: Celiac Disease and Living Gluten Free: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed by Jules Shepard, one signed copy –Healthier Without Wheat by Dr. Stephen Wangen, three signed copies (3) –Sugar Nation by Jeffrey O’Connell, four copies (4) –Wheat Belly by William Davis, three copies (3) –Dangerous Grains by Ron Hoggan and Dr. James Braly, two copies (2) –The Food Allergy Kitchen by Amra Ibrismovic and Carmel Nelson, one copy (1) –The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen* by Lévana Kirschenbaum and Lisa R.Young –The Spunky Coconut Cookbook 2nd edition, by Kelly Brozyna, one signed copy (1) –Grain-Free Baked Goods and Desserts by Kelly Brozyna, one signed copy (1) –Paleo Comfort Foods by Julie and Charles Mayfield, three copies (3) –Go Dairy Free* by Alisa Fleming, two signed copies (2) –Modern Spice by Monica Bhide, one copy (1) (in combo package with Monica’s app, iSPICE) –Perfect One-Dish Dinners* by Pam Anderson, one signed copy (1) –The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Ali Segersten and Tom Malterre, two signed copies (2) –The Steamy Kitchen* by Jaden Hair, one copy (1)
–100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes by Carol Fenster, one copy (1)
E-BOOKS (Cookbooks and Resource Books)
–Gluten-Free Goddess E-Book:Best Loved Recipes by Karina Allrich (1) –The Gluten-Free Diner Cookbook by Diane Eblin, one copy with tote bag (1) –7 Quick Start Tips for Living a Healthy Gluten-Free Fit Life, by Erin Elberson, five copies (5) –Sweet Freedom*, by Ricki Heller, one copy (1) –Combo Set of following: Good Morning Breakfasts, Desserts Without Compromise, and Anti-Candida Feast Book by Ricki Heller, one copy (1) of set
MAGAZINES–Easy Eats, three subscriptions–electronic (3) –Delight, two subscriptions–print (2) –Living Without, two subscriptions–print (2)
–Cook IT Allergy Free by Kim Wilson-Maes, three apps (3) –iSPICE by Monica Bhide, one app (in combo package with her cookbook, Modern Spice; already mentioned above) (1)
THIRD PRIZE—Caveman Cookies giveaway package ($89 value).One large bag of each of the current three flavors , Original, Tropical, and Alpine ($28.95 value) plus one large bag of the soon-to-be released new flavor, Rainforest ($9.95 value; will be shipped as soon as available; anticipated end of Dec); 1 large variety pack ($32.50 value), and 1 t-shirt ($17.50 value; your size, your color).
[Sometimes, you just want a dish that's quick and easy--no fuss. I've decided to offer a mini-post every once in a while, for a dish that comes together incredibly quickly or else is so simple to make that no recipe is required. Here's today's "Flash in the Pan." (For other FitP recipes, see "Categories" at right).]
I think it’s funny that the title of this post will almost take longer to read than it will take you to make these little lovelies!
I was scrounging around our kitchen for a sweet treat over the weekend (not that there’s anything atypical about that around here), when I remembered Hannah’s brilliant Wellness Weekend submission from this week, for No-Bake Anzac Cookie Truffles. I loved her concept and it suddenly struck me: who says there has to be chocolate in every dessert I want to eat? (and yes, that thought IS rather atypical around here).
Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. . . I could eat it for every meal, plus snacks (and some days, I do). And raw truffles–what could be more delicious? I do love my raw chocolate chip cookie dough truffles (and not just because Ellen loved them, too), but I wanted something a little different, without having to use oats. Then I spied the half-used bag of puffed rice I’d bought for another recipe but which I don’t particularly enjoy eating for breakfast.
Why not rice crumbs instead? With the cashew-rice crumb base in mind, I added a touch of lucuma for that wonderful caramel flavor as well as one of my favorite spice mixes, Chinese 5 Spice Powder (you can sub cinnamon if you don’t have any or don’t like it). About 2 minutes later, I had a truffle base that I rolled into tiny balls and popped in the fridge (and a few got popped into my mouth on their way there).
These are less dense than the typical “raw truffle” balls made with lots of nuts and oats, but I loved them as a light snack. The HH said he thought they tasted too much like rice cereal. Even though I didn’t have that same experience, I say, “what’s wrong with rice cereal?” Seems to me that flavor combo would be pretty delicious as well.
This recipe yields a small batch. . . great to share with a friend. If you’re serving to a crowd, double or triple the recipe.
These are a really quick snack that you can whip up in less than 5 minutes when the sweet munchies hit, or right before the kids get home from school. If you have the time, make them the night before, as they actually improve with refrigeration overnight.
1 Tbsp (15 ml) coconut nectar or vegetable glycerin
6-8 drops plain or vanilla liquid stevia, to your taste
1 tsp (5 ml) smooth natural almond butter (optional, but brings out the caramely flavor)
up to 2 tsp (10 ml) plain or vanilla rice, almond or soy milk
Place the cashews in the bowl of a mini food processor and process until they’re almost powdered. Add the cereal, salt, 5 Spice powder and lucuma and process again until the mixture looks like a very fine meal.
Drizzle the coconut nectar, stevia and almond butter over the dry mixture and pulse until it comes together in moist crumbles. If it’s really dry, add the milk and pulse again (it should not be so moist that it forms a ball, but the mixture should stick together when pinched between your thumb and fingers).
Using a packed teaspoonful of the mixture for each truffle, squeeze it together to squeeze out any air and then roll into a small ball. Refrigerate the balls, covered, until ready to eat. Makes 9-10 small balls. Will keep, refrigerated, up to 4 days.
* Sorry, couldn’t resist. Please feel free to groan.
[A cuppa matcha, pure and straightforward. . . a warm, comforting, health-boosting sip to enjoy daily!]
* * * * For details and to enter the Matcha giveaway, see the end of this post! * * * *
You know, sometimes I actually forget it’s the 21st Century. After all, I’ve spent more of my life before 2000 than since. Yet there’s no doubt that we’ve already lost many 20th Century conventions–handkerchiefs, girdles, bank withdrawal forms. Still, the real changes have all emerged in the realm of communications. When’s the last time you heard of someone receiving a telegram? Or how about rotary telephones–remember how reviled those people were whose numbers contained too many zeroes? And who still writes letters–old-fashioned, pen-and-paper-walk-to-the-mailbox-to-mail-’em letters? They’re more or less obsolete, too.
I do miss letter writing, though. Over the years, I’ve exchanged letters with two devoted correspondents: one was my revered mentor, John Ditsky, whose missives seemed to arrive at my home practically before I’d returned from the mailbox to deposit my own letters to him. The other is my Japanese penpal, Masayo, whom I’ve known since we were both twelve years old.
Back in sixth grade, my school received letters from six Japanese girls seeking Canadian penpals. Ever the nerd (and always interested in writing), I responded to all six. Over the next year, all but one dropped away, and we continued to correspond, at the rate of 2-3 letters per month, for the next 30 years or so.
When we were about 18, Masayo wrote to tell me she had planned a summer vacation in Canada. Of course, I immediately invited her to stay for as long as she liked with me and my family in Montreal (fortunately, this was okay with my parents, too). She was landing in Vancouver on July 12, she wrote back, and would I be so kind as to pick her up at the airport? (for the non-Canadians among you, that’s tantamount to asking someone in New York City to pop over and pick you up at the airport in Los Angeles).
I explained that distances in North America were, perhaps, a tad greater than those on the islands of Japan. Astonished at the possibility, Mako nevertheless arranged for a second flight to Montreal.
[Matcha-Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles: a perfect healthy indulgence!]
On the eve of her arrival, I waited anxiously at the airport with my dad for the plane to disembark. Over the years, of course, I’d seen innumerable photos of Masayo and felt fairly confident I could recognize her in a crowd. My eyes trained on the exit stairs attached to the airplane, I’d stare with steely eyed intensity each time a petite, dark-haired woman emerged from the doors, only to be disappointed as she passed by.
Finally, I heard what seemed like a tiny, disembodied voice calling from somewhere above my field of vision. From within the throng of passengers there stood before me a petite young girl with a mop of wavy black hair, perfectly coiffed in the ultra-hip shag haircut of the day. She wore black Calvin Klein jeans and a screamingly vibrant Hawaiian shirt. As she glided toward us, her dainty feet seemingly floating along the stairs, she called out in her delicate, excited falsetto: “Ricki! It’s Masayo! Ricki!”
We hugged and immediately began to chatter as if we’d known each other our whole lives: How was Vancouver? How was the trip? Do you live far from here? How do you like Canada? Is everything here so big? Is all of Canada this beautiful? I love your shirt! I love yours, too! We continued the gabfest until well past 2:00 AM the next morning, giggling and squealing as we confirmed, in person, a friendship we’d established on paper over the previous six years.
The next day, I knocked on Mako’s door. What followed was a classic ”Who’s on First” exchange.
Me: [knocking on door]: Mako?
Me: Hi, good morning! Is it okay to come in?
Me: Er, hi. Did I wake you?
Me: Sorry. Is it okay if I open the door?
Me: Hi. Should I wait for you to get dressed?
Me: Okay. So should I meet you upstairs?
Me: [at a loss] Hi. . .
What I hadn’t realized, you see, was that Mako might still be suffering from jet lag, and too sleepy to remember to translate Japanese into English. And I didn’t know at the time that ”Hai” (sounding like “hi”) in Japanese means “yes” while “Eee-ya” (resembling “yeah”) means “No.”
The trip was, truly, a once in a lifetime experience, and we forged a bond that has lasted until this day. I was thrilled to discover that Mako was witty, upbeat, silly, smart, hip, and fun to be with–all the qualities I loved in my closest friends. She was also incredibly generous, toting a huge sack of gifts for everyone in the family.
[Frozen Matcha Latte--so simple, and so refreshing.]
I was given a purple and indigo kimono (which she helped me to tie in the traditional manner–so much excess cloth!) and a beautiful, delicate and hand-painted porcelain tea set along with a cannister of Japanese tea. I’d never seen tea like that before, light and loose and intensely green. Mako explained that this tea had amazing medicinal properties and that she was wont to drink an entire teapot of the stuff herself in an evening. The first time I brewed the tea for myself, I was surprised anew at how green it was, like a freshly mown lawn in summer. Eventually, I grew to appreciate the slightly bitter, astringent flavor of the matcha, and, before I knew it, the cannister was empty. And while I continued to use the tea service for years afterward (I searched, in vain, to find it for this post; sadly, it is buried under some of the other 57 boxes still unpacked in our basement), I never did buy more Japanese green tea.
This past week, I returned on a wave of sensory memory to that long-ago summer of Masayo’s visit. After receiving a sample pack of tea from Matcha Source, I’ve been once again imbibing the green stuff, as well as cooking with it. I love it as much as I did back then–and this time, I vowed, I won’t let three decades elapse before I buy more!
Pleased with the opportunity to play with some matcha recipes, I decided to use the tea for more than a simple brew (though I do adore the tea on its own). Here’s what I came up with.
If you’ve never experienced matcha green tea before, now’s your opportunity to try it!
A perfect treat for any chocolate lovers. The pairing of deep, dark bittersweet chocolate and slightly bitter, umami matcha is, unequivocally, one of the most heavenly taste combinations I’ve ever savored. Feel free to adjust the sweetness to your taste–these are deliberately just barely sweet.
1 cup (240 ml) full fat coconut milk
1/4 cup (60 ml) pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp (30 ml) Sucanat (optional)
12 ounces (340 g) good quality bittersweet chocolate (I used 70% cocoa)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) matcha powder, plus more for dusting
pinch fine sea salt
1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
In a small, heavy-bottomed pot, place the coconut milk, maple syrup, Sucanat (if using), chocolate, 1 Tbsp (15 ml) matcha powder, and sea salt. Cook over lowest heat possible, stirring constantly, until chocolate is almost completely melted. Remove from heat and continue to stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Add vanilla and stir to blend well.
Pour the mixture into a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until just solid enough to hold its shape. Using a small scoop or teaspoon, roll mounds of dough into balls and place on a plate covered with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until solid.
Just before serving, sift a bit more matcha powder over the tops. Makes 30-40 truffles. Will keep, covered in the refrigerator, up to 5 days (good luck keeping them that long!).
ACD-Friendly Matcha Chocolate Truffles
10-1/2 ounces (300 g) chopped unsweetened chocolate (I used Cocoa Camino)
3/4 cup (180 ml) full fat coconut milk
1 Tbsp (15 ml) matcha powder
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) pure vanilla extract
10-20 drops stevia liquid, to taste
Matcha powder, for dusting
In a small, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the chocolate, coconut milk, matcha powder, and salt over lowest heat possible until most of the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat, add the vanilla and stevia, and stir until all the chocolate melts and mixture is perfectly smooth. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature, then chill until set.
Using a small scoop or teaspoon, roll the mixture into balls (it will begin to melt on your hands). Once rolled, dust the truffles with additional matcha. Chill until ready to serve. Will keep, covered, in refrigerator up to 5 days. Makes 12-20 truffles.
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until the ice is completely incorporated. (If your blender isn’t strong enough to pulverize all the ice, then strain the mixture through a sieve before drinking). Pour into serving glasses and enjoy immediately. Makes 2 servings.
If you’ve never experienced matcha green tea before, now’s your opportunity to try it!
Aren’t chocolate truffles just the height of decadence?At this time of year, they seem to abound on coffee tables, in buffets, or in scalloped porcelain dishes that have been handed down from generation to generation.
Well, for dessert day here at DD&D, I thought I’d share a recipe for my favorite NAG-friendly chocolate trufffles.
I’ve always loved these ultra-rich, velvety treats, but in recent years have sought out other, more health-supportive ways to indulge my hankering. When I discovered raw truffles, I knew I’d found the winner–the candy I could eat with impunity yet would still allow me to feel just a little bit naughty while I savored them. And these babies actually contain many compounds that are good for your heart!
There are many recipes for raw chocolate truffles on the Internet and in raw lifestyle cookbooks (though not on the Holidailies site). I was given this recipe by a friend a couple of years ago, and I tinkered with it quite a bit before ending up with this version. The recipe uses both maple syrup and agave nectar, which allows for a smoother, silkier texture.
I also favor dark cocoa powder rather than Dutch process. Yes, I am aware that those in the upper echelons of the food blogging world would never make use of such a base form of cocoa; but it turns out, in fact, that the darker the cocoa, the more flavonoids it contains. So Dutch process is actually less efficient at fighting off all those pesky chronic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, or Type II Diabetes. Mary Engler, in her article, “The Emerging Role of Flavonoid-Rich Cocoa and Chocolate in Cardiovascular Health and Disease,” tells us,
“It is important to note that the amount of flavonoids in chocolate is not only dependent on the cacao bean, but also on the processing steps involved in its manufacture, e.g., excess heat and alkalization (“Dutch” process) can significantly reduce the amount of flavonoids.”
Besdies, dark cocoa just looks so much better in this recipe.
Similarly, the fats in the cashews (mostly unsaturated) are also good for your ticker. And according to one of my favorite sites, cashews also contain a fair amount of magnesium, equally beneficial for heart health. If you aren’t concerned about the cashews being raw, go ahead and use regular cashew butter–it will still taste amazing.
These truffles can tend toward the soft side, so you must be sure to refrigerate them if you want them to hold their shape. If you’re not too fussy about achieving a perfect sphere, dig in as soon as you’ve rolled them.
Mostly Raw Chocolate Truffles
1 Tbsp. instant coffee substitute (such as Krakus, Caf-Lib, etc.)
In a small bowl, dissolve the coffee substitute in the vanilla and tamari that have been blended together. Measure the sweeteners into a measuring cup and add the tamari mixture.
Place the cocoa in the bowl of a food processor and add the cashew butter along with the liquid mixture in the measuring cup. Process until well combined and satiny smooth, scraping down sides as needed, about 3 minutes (mixture will thicken and become glossy).
While soft, divide mixture into 12-15 equal parts and roll into balls with your hands. Dust with more cocoa powder if desired, or create variations by adding chopped nuts, fruits, candied ginger, or whatever strikes your fancy. Store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 10 days (good luck keeping it that long).
[This recipe will also appear in my upcoming cookbook, Sweet Freedom, along with more than 100 others, most of which are not featured on this blog. For more information, check the "Cookbook" button at right, or visit the cookbook blog.]