Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Healthy Truffles

You may be asking, how can truffles be healthy?  And with good reason.  Normally, truffles are buttery, silky smooth balls of intense chocolate.  They melt in your mouth and overwhelm you with their richness.  They embody indulgence.

People in grad school tend to do a lot of stress eating.  (Although, let's face it, I've always been a stress eater anyway, so I can't blame it entirely on grad school.)  Truffles, and chocolate in general, are an obvious default candidate for those frenzied hours of studying and snacking.  So I am in an ongoing quest to make my stress eating a little less awful by developing healthier versions of some of my favorite snacks.  My friend Sarah (whose adorable children I babysit) and I have been tweaking this recipe for chocolate chip cookie dough balls a little bit each time we make them, which is often (her kids devour them as quickly as she makes them.)  Sarah had the brilliant idea to add cocoa powder to the regular version to make a sort of "brownie bite," and from there, we just kept tweaking until this version came about.  In my chocolate-addled state of mind, I decided to take it a step further and roll them in cocoa powder (just to add to the chocolate quotient).  And, ta-da!  Truffles.

I brought some of these to school with me to share with some of my classmates, who loved them.  One friend said that the texture was great because it really fools you into thinking you're eating a truffle; another said they were simply amazing overall.  The best part is how quickly and easily you can whip up a batch because it's truly just a matter of throwing all of the ingredients into your food processor and hitting "blend."  And you can't really mess these up because you can always tweak them by adding a little more of one ingredient or a little less of another until you find the combination and texture you personally like.  The recipe is very forgiving in that way.  And if you don't feel like rolling them into balls, just put the mixture in a bowl and eat it with a spoon.  I won't tell (because I've definitely done that before). 

So go ahead.  Indulge.  Because now, it's healthy.

Healthy Truffles

7 Trader Joe's Fancy Medjool Dates (with pits removed)
1/3 cup cashews
1/4 cup gluten-free oats
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 tbsp. Marshmallow Fluff or Vegan Ricemellow Marshmallow Fluff
1 1/2 tbsp. pure cocoa powder + 1 tbsp. for rolling truffles
1-4 tbsp. So Delicious Coconut Milk, as needed
1 tbsp. granulated sugar (for rolling truffles - optional)

Place the dates (be sure to remove the pits!), cashews, oats, vanilla, coconut, Fluff, and cocoa powder in a food processor and blend on the highest speed.  When the food processor seems to have done as much as it can with those ingredients, start adding the So Delicious Coconut Milk one tablespoon at a time.  You want these to be very creamy so the texture is like the inside of a truffle, but still firm enough that you can roll them into balls.  Continue to pulse on the highest speed so that they are as well-blended as possible.

On a plate, combine the 1 tbsp. cocoa powder and the 1 tbsp. sugar (you can leave the sugar out if you want, although they will taste slightly more bitter).  (If the mixture is too thin, you can put it in the fridge for a little while to harden it up before you roll it into balls.)  Remove the chocolate mixture by tablespoonful and roll into balls with your hands, and then roll in the cocoa and sugar mixture to coat.  Place on a plate.  Refrigerate them for at least two hours before removing them to a container where they are touching each other.  Eat as needed.


Alex said...

Yum! They are irresistible. Little balls of energy. Good out of the freezer too!

Helen said...

Seriously. Who doesn't love truffles? And these look amazing! Using cashews, dates, and So Delicious coconut milk along with shredded coconut sounds brilliant! I'll just substitute with Rice Mellow Marshmallow Fluff to keep it vegan. What a great recipe idea!

Claire Berman said...

Alex - They are irresistible - maybe a little too much so! :)

Helen - So glad you're excited about the recipe - I hope you enjoy them!


Unknown said...

They sound YUMMY! I actually have all the ingredients on hand..except the Fluff. It's only a tablespoon..any suggestions??


Denim_Angel said...

How many calories in each truffle?

Claire Berman said...

Jennifer - They are so yummy! I would try subbing something else that's kind of sticky, like honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup. However, those are more liquidy than the Fluff, so you might have to adjust by adding a bit more of the dry ingredients. Would love to hear how they turn out!

Denim_Angel - I just added it all up, and there are about 1,000 calories per batch of these. So the number of calories will really depend on how big you make them! I got at least 20 truffles out of my batch, so only 50 calories per truffle. I might try making them even smaller so I can eat more without feeling guilty :) Hope that helps!

Thanks so much for your comments!

Denim_Angel said...

Thanks Claire... although the calorie count for me may be a bit different as I couldn't use coconut milk or coconut as I am very allergic to it... but I'm going to have to try it!!