On my last day of work for the year (yay for mandatory shutdown at work!) I brought home all the chocolate I got from co-workers and friends in the last few weeks. This is both ”Merry Christmas” chocolate and ”Happy Birthday” chocolate.
I love love love chocolate. Yes, chocolate gets three ”loves” – Aldo and I always measure how much I actually like things by counting how many times I say ”love” and he is the only one who gets more than three ”loves.” He gets all the loves.
But I started reading the ingredients on all the chocolate, and why are cocoa and cocoa butter third on the list after sugar and vegetable oil? And what is in the artificial flavors? A lot of ”natural” flavors are also pretty questionable, don’t fool yourself thinking that natural means that the flavors come directly from nature. A lot of natural flavors are purified, extracted, and altered using chemical processes, so the fact that the flavor is not synthetically made in the lab doesn’t mean that it’s still in its natural state. So then imagine where artificial flavors might actually come from?? I don’t want to.
Now I hope I don’t sound ungrateful, because I appreciate every piece of chocolate someone gives me, and I eat ALL chocolate whether it contains artificial flavor or not (except white chocolate, what the heck is that all about??). So other than white chocolate, I’m not very picky. But I do try to think about how I can eat healthier desserts after the holiday season. Because lets face it, I won’t give up actually eating dessert.
And these healthy dark chocolate truffles are an amazing dessert. They are made from totally natural ingredients, only with natural sweeteners – dried dates and agave nectar (or honey). Cocoa powder is very healthy and contains a lot of antioxidants and flavonoids, fiber, and a ton of good-for-you minerals. The other ingredients are almonds and pecans, and both contain fiber, protein, and vitamin E.
Now this is not to say these are diet truffles. All of the ingredients contain some fat, fiber, or sugar (natural sugar is still sugar), and this all adds up to the truffles being a calorie dense food. But they are all calories that are bringing you much needed nutrients, so these truffles can definitely be part of a healthy lifestyle.
I’ve made these once before, and decided to make a double batch this time to bring to a family dinner party. I altered the recipe just a bit from justputzing.com just to make these taste even more like dark chocolate by adding more cocoa. If you don’t like super dark chocolate, then use 1/4 cup of cocoa powder without the extra 2 tablespoons.
Healthy 15 Minute Dark Chocolate Truffles
Makes: 1 dozen truffles. Total time: 15 minutes.
- 15 dried dates, pitted
- 3/4 cups sliced or slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar (or honey)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup hot water
- Optional: coconut flakes, sprinkles, cocoa powder, or crushed nuts for coating the truffles
Equipment: Food processor
1. Soak the dates in hot water while you get the rest of the ingredients and start on step 2 (about 5 minutes). The water should be hot to the touch but not hot enough to burn you.
2. Process the almonds in a food processor until coarse almond meal is formed. Add the pecans and process until they are ground up into a coarse meal as well.
3. Drain the dates and use your hand to squeeze out excess water. Add the drained dates, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, agave nectar, and salt to the food processor. Process until a smooth paste forms.
4. Use a tablespoon measure to help you form the truffles. Pack a heaping tablespoon of the mixture into the tablespoon measure – really pack it in there. Use your fingers to slide the half-rounded ball out of the tablespoon measure, and then use your hands to form a tightly packed ball of truffle goodness. Be gentle with them – I found that they fall apart if you try to roll them into balls. It is best to squish them with your hand into perfect little spheres.
Form truffles until you use up all the mixture. The last bit that was not enough for a truffle went straight into my mouth. 🙂
5. If you choose to, gently roll the truffles in the toppings of your choice. I had some turtle crunch sprinkles, unsweetened coconut flakes, and extra cocoa powder. The cocoa powder definitely gives the the truffles an extra dark chocolate kick, so if you don’t like the bitterness of the cocoa powder then don’t use that as a topping.
These will keep for 3 days at room temperature in an air-tight container. They will start to dry out slightly after 3 days…. but they’ll probably be all gone by then!