Thursday, 14 February 2013

DECEPTIVELY DECADENT, TRULY WHOLESOME TRUFFLES: ESPRESSO CHOCOLATE, MAPLE CINNAMON CASHEW, and CHAI SPICE


This is not a negative post, I promise.  Just bear with me for a minute. 

I’ve always found Valentine’s Day to be a bit tiresome.  Supposedly commemorating the martyrdom of St. Valentine, this now secular holiday has become an excuse for the heteronormative, consumeristic valuing of love and relationships.  As to be expected in a capitalist and hardly health-conscious society, we are told and expected to display our love for our romantic partners through the purchase of gifts and terrible-for-you treats.  Alas, this blog is not a space for politics.  This is a space for food!  So on this Valentine’s Day, I would like to present you with a (foodie) alternative.  Sure, share love with and appreciation for your partner, if you have one.  But don’t stop there.  Share love with and appreciation for your family and your friends, the people whose presence in your life makes it all the more positive, enjoyable and fulfilling.  But don’t stop there.  This Valentine’s Day, share love with and appreciation for yourself.  Make sure you do one thing—however grand or small—for yourself, to say ‘good job’, to make yourself happy.  And after you do that thing, give yourself another treat: Go make these ridiculously tasty, totally whole foods-based truffles.  You can absolutely share them with the people you love, but consider this your warning: You may not want to.  (And I totally won’t blame you for hoarding them in your fridge.)


Amazing Dates
The common ingredient across these three very different truffles is dates.  Can I use this Valentine’s Day to express my overwhelming love for dates?  They’re amazing.  Originating in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, this incredibly saccharine fruit (soft and succulent raw, but most often found dried in markets) will satisfy any craving for sweets you may have; but unlike processed sugars and their byproducts, dates are nutrient and mineral-rich!  Aside from being an excellent source of fiber, dates contain high amounts of vitamin A, iron, calcium, manganese, and copper.  Due to their sweetness, dates make for an excellent addition to dishes like oatmeal or smoothies, plus they are ideal for health-ifying certain types of desserts without compromising flavor.  Raw desserts are prime among them.

In all my food blog reading over the past year, I have come across countless variations of ‘energy bars’, raw brownies, ‘healthy cookie bites’, and so forth that are made out of dates, nuts, and various other ingredients and natural sweeteners.  The first of these truffles—the Espresso Chocolate—comes directly from the stunning blog Green Kitchen Stories.  They are so silky, so chocolaty, so decadent tasting that it is truly difficult to believe that they do not contain a trace of butter, cream or processed sugar.  The other two are my creation, inspired by many the raw desserts I have encountered online over the past year.  Like most of my posts on this site aim to be, they are wholesome, they are healthy, and they are damn delicious.  Eating in this manner is one of the best and simplest ways to love yourself, I’ve found.  I hope you do too.  Happy Valentine’s Day!



Espresso Chocolate, Maple Cinnamon Cashew, and Chai Spice Truffles
Each makes 15-20 truffles

Ingredients
Espresso Chocolate Truffles from Green KitchenStories
15 (medjool) or 20 (deglet noor) dates
4 Tbsp. rolled or porridge oats
2 Tbsp. dried, unsweetened coconut (shredded or flaked)
2 Tbsp. extra virgin coconut oil (or other cold-pressed neutral oil)
2 Tbsp. cacao powder
½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. ground cardamom
1 shot (2 Tbsp.) cold espresso or strong coffee
extra cacao, cinnamon, chopped coconut, oats or ginger for rolling

Maple Cinnamon Cashew Truffles
½ cup (3 oz.) raw cashews, soaked in filtered water for 4 hours and then oven dried at the lowest possible temperature for 30+ minutes, OR roasted at 325°F / 162°C / Gas 3 for 15-20 minutes
2 Tbsp. rolled or porridge oats
10 (medjool) or 15 (deglet noor) dates
½ Tbsp. extra virgin coconut oil (or other cold-pressed neutral oil)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. salt
¾ Tbsp. 100% pure maple syrup
extra oats and cinnamon (mixed together) for rolling

Chai Spice Truffles
10 (medjool) or 15 (deglet noor) dates
4 Tbsp. rolled or porridge oats
2 Tbsp. dried, unsweetened coconut (shredded or flaked)
2 Tbsp. extra virgin coconut oil (or other cold-pressed neutral oil)
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. maple syrup
½ Tbsp. chai spice mix (recipe below)
pinch of salt
extra oats for rolling

Chai Spice Mix from Fox in the Kitchen
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground all spice
1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

Directions
1.  If dates are tough or dry, soak in filtered water for at least 30 minutes to soften.
2.  Roughly chop dates.
3.  Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend for a couple minutes, until completely combined and a tacky paste or ball forms.
4.  Put truffle dough in the fridge for 10 minutes.  This will allow it to firm up a bit and make rolling it into balls much easier.
5.  Take small handfuls of the dough and roll into balls, a bit smaller than a ping pong ball (or whatever size you prefer).
6.  Roll balls in the ‘extra’ dry ingredients listed at the end.
7.  Let truffles chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.  Keep stored in fridge.

8 comments:

  1. YUM! These look great Mere. Can't wait to try :D
    nom nom

    xo, Sarah B

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  2. MMmmmmm... still got some of my pumpkin n date deluxe!

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    1. Wow, you have incredible self-control Ms. Pelen. If that were in my fridge, it would have been gone AGES ago. ;o)

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  3. Visiting via Joy the Baker. You had me at Maple Cinnamon Cashew--I can't wait to give these recipes a try!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, I'm so glad you're intrigued! You should definitely make the truffles, but if you like that combo and have a food processor (which I'm guessing you do), you can also make it into cashew butter! Just toss the nuts in some pure maple syrup, roast them for 10-15 mins at 350F, blend them to a butter in the processor and then add cinnamon and a touch of salt at the end. I bet that would be divine. Hmm I should give it a try too... ;o).

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  4. Totally making these!
    Jolleen

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    1. Great! The espresso chocolate ones kind of changed my life. Let me know how it goes!

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