Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dark Chocolate Vegan Truffles

Normally, I am not a huge fan of sweets. Primarily, the turn-off for me is the warm, buzzy feeling that I get when I eat a sweet that is quickly followed by a case of the blahs - the queasy, sleepy, give-me-another-one-quick-before-I-completely-crash type of feeling. Since I've become more in-tune with how foods affect how I feel, I tend to avoid sweets.

A few weeks ago, in anticipation of a weekly girls' night get together, I was browsing through some cookbooks trying to find a healthy treat. While the recipe that I settled on was OK, I felt that it could be TONS better. Using dates as the primary sweetener and base, that recipe tasted, well, like dates, and I am not a huge fan of dates. Their appearance alone turns me off, but if disguised, I am willing to overlook that fact and eat them. The recipe that I tried made it difficult to pretend that they weren't there, so I set out to make a better version, and this is what I came up with.

These truffles are rich tasting, yet don't leave a heavy feeling in your stomach. They are packed full of antioxidant-rich cacao (raw chocolate), healthy fats and flavor!

1 cup raw almonds
3/4 cup dates, pitted
1/4 cup flaxseeds
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 Tablespoon grade B maple syrup (use REAL syrup, not the pretend stuff)
2 teaspoons vanilla (use REAL vanilla extract, NOT vanilla "flavoring")
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup coconut water (or nut milk)

6 Tablespoons cacao powder
1/2 cup quick oats (or rolled oats that have been slightly pulverized in your blender)
1/2 cup shredded coconut (UNSWEETENED)
2 Tablespoons nut butter

In blender* or food processor combine first seven ingredients and pulverize, beginning on very low speed and gradually increasing to medium speed, using a tamper to push ingredients into blade. Add the coconut water (or nut milk) to blender as you are doing this (if the mixture is too dry, add slightly more liquid). Blend until nuts are pulverized and have been incorporated with the dates.

Scrape contents of blender into large bowl and add the cacao, oats, coconut and nut butter. Using your hands, kneed the mixture as if you were making meatloaf, mixing all ingredients together until well combined and uniform in color. The mixture will be sticky and clumpy (it will firm up once it is chilled), and should resemble sticky biscuit dough. At this point, you are ready to roll the truffles into 1-inch balls. If this is impossible due to the consistency of the mixture, add a little more oats and shredded coconut. After shaping the truffles, place them into a flat container lined with waxed paper and place in freezer for several hours. Makes approximately 3 dozen truffles.

Truffles can be served frozen, chilled or at room temperature (they will retain their shape at room temperature, and will be the consistency of fudge).

*I HIGHLY recommend using a powerful blender or food processor for this. My tool of choice is a VitaMix (which you can purchase through my daughter Sarah here)!

Elly Haddad is a certified holistic health coach (through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition), mother, grandmother, and avid yogi. She works with clients and groups to help them understand the impact that diet and lifestyle has on their health, happiness and overall wellbeing. You can get more information about her health coaching services by visiting her website,

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