Monday, April 2, 2012

Raw Chocolate Coconut Truffles

Our oven stopped working a while back, and while we were waiting a few weeks for the repair I began experimenting with some raw food recipes.  I like the idea of packing your 'food pyramid' with veggies and whole grains, while replacing meat with nuts and other vegan protein sources.  I don't think I could ever switch to a majority raw diet, but I am certainly inspired to consume more raw sources of nutrients.  We have already transitioned to a much different food pattern here in Australia in comparison to our diet in England, especially with so much delicious, seasonal produce available.

However, we both still crave dessert during the week. Rather than bake up cookies like I used to (however reduced-fat and reduced-sugar they were), I've started making smoothies or, if we want to splurge, raw brownies.  Nuts, dates, cocoa.  That's all you need for raw brownies, and they cure a chocolate craving perfectly.

Southern Spoon Blog: raw chocolate coconut truffles
raw chocolate truffles dusted with lightly-sweetened coconut

I play around with the combination-- sometimes using walnuts, sometimes pecans, adding coconut, cinnamon, hot chili powder, etc.  Tonight my mixture wasn't coming together very well, so I dumped it out of the blender, into a bowl, added a tablespoon of brown rice syrup and a teaspoon of water, and rolled them into truffles.  I then dusted them in unsweetened, shredded coconut mixed with a touch of brown sugar.  Awesome.

Ok, so processed cocoa (I haven't sourced cacao nibs yet), brown rice syrup, and the tiny bit of brown sugar make these only un-officially 'raw'.  But they're pretty close, and they're much healthier treats than the ones from Godiva.

I just use a blender (plain old blender, nothing fancy) for these, but a food processor would work best.  Make sure your dates are a bit moist-- if they're dry, just soak them in water for 15-20 minutes, then drain. (Or, as all the raw food sites say, reserve the date water to sweeten your next smoothie).  Enjoy!

Raw Chocolate Coconut Truffles
makes about a dozen 1-inch truffles

3/4 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons almond meal (if you don't have any, just use a full cup of walnuts)
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup moist dates (if they're pretty dry, soak them in water 15-20 mins, then drain to use)
2 tablespoons unsweetened, shredded coconut (divided use)
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup (or agave syrup or honey)
1 teaspoon water (if necessary)
1 teaspoon brown sugar (or coconut sugar for paleo-friendly) (optional)

Mix the walnuts, almond meal (if you're using it), cocoa, dates, and 1 tablespoon of the coconut in a blender or food processor.  Mix until everything is very finely chopped/ground and the mixture is sticking together.  (If using a blender, blend the nuts first, then add the cocoa, blend till incorporated, then add the dates and coconut-- scraping down the sides when necessary).

Scrape the mixture into a bowl.  Add the brown rice syrup and stir together.  If the mixture is not coming together easily, add one teaspoon of water and stir together until it all comes together to form one big lump of dough.  Pinch off chunks of dough and roll into one-inch balls.

In a small bowl, thoroughly mix the remaining tablespoon of coconut and, if desired, the teaspoon of brown sugar (or coconut sugar).  Roll the truffles one by one in the coconut-sugar mixture until evenly coated.  Set the coconut-covered truffles in the fridge for at least 20 minutes before eating, or for up to four days. (Chilling really allows the flavors to meld and creates a denser, richer-tasting truffle).

Update: adding a couple of teaspoons of coffee liqueur (Baileys, Kahlua, Tia Maria, etc.) to the dough as you're blending it is a fabulous idea...

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