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Chocolate Almond Coconut Date Truffles

Chocolate Almond Coconut Date Truffles

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It’s ten minutes after dinner, and you suddenly get the craving for something sweet.

Maybe you’re cleaning up the dishes, or checking over the kids’ homework, or settling in for some Netflix. Whatever you’re doing, when you have these Chocolate Almond Coconut Date Truffles on hand, you have a sweet way to answer your sugar cravings – but with no refined sugar.

Chocolate Almond Coconut Date Truffles

These truffles are packed with all the flavors of that coconut-almond-chocolate candy bar you know, but are naturally sweet thanks to pitted dates. Lightly toasted slivered almonds add extra nutty flavor, and the chocolate flavor comes from unsweetened cocoa powder. For this recipe, I used Trader Joe’s Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. It blends up smoothly and tastes rich; it’s great cocoa powder, and perfect for this recipe.

Unsweetened coconut used to be more difficult to find, but it seems that coconut in all forms has become a lot more popular lately, so finding the unsweetened variety should be easier. I found my unsweetened coconut at an Indian grocery store. I like the finer texture for both mixing into the truffles and rolling at the end. If you can’t find finely-shredded unsweetened coconut, you could pulse a coarser variety in your blender or food processor a few times to break it down a bit more.

A word about toasting nuts

If you’re a dedicated multitasker (like me!) and think you can get away with setting up the food processor, making some tea, etc. while toasting nuts on the stove… you’re probably wrong. These babies go from zero to overly toasted and burnt in no time flat. So keep and eye on them, and toss or stir them often. The entire process takes about 5 minutes.

toasted almonds in pan

If they’re over-toasted or taste burned, they’re no good. These truffles don’t have a lot of excess sugar to counteract any bitter, burned flavors. Toast carefully.

Making the truffles

When the nuts are done, transfer them to the bowl of a food processor and allow them to cool for a bit. Then add the cocoa powder and pulse until finely chopped.

chopped nuts and cocoa in a food processor

When you’re processing the almonds and cocoa, you’re looking for an evenly-chopped mixture, not a paste. Don’t process too long, or you’ll have chocolate almond butter. (Hmmm…)

After you add the coconut, vanilla, and dates, pulse the mixture until you still have some quarter-inch date chunks. That’s when it’s time to add the water, and the dates will be fully processed by the time you’re finished.

date almond mixture

 

The amount of water you’ll need to add depends on the moisture content of your dates. I’ve had to use anywhere from 3-5 tsp of water, sprinkled over the mixture as you continue to pulse it in the food processor. It’s ready to go when the mixture begins to pull together and travel around the food processor bowl in larger clumps.

photo of mixture clumping in a food processor

When you pinch a bit of the mixture together at this stage, it should hold together easily.

Divide the mixture into balls using a tablespoon dipped in water. You should get about 14 one-tablespoon-sized balls. Roll them in coconut. I like to place 3 of them in a ramekin and swirl it in a circle on the countertop. This coats the balls quickly and easily.

truffle balls in coconut

Serve right away, or refrigerate in a sealed container.

These rarely last more than two days in my house. Hide them in the back of the refrigerator if you must.

Chocolate Almond Coconut Date Truffles

These Chocolate Almond Coconut Date Truffles are a sweet way to answer your sugar cravings - but with no refined sugar. They're packed with all the flavors of that coconut-almond-chocolate candy bar you know, but are naturally sweet thanks to pitted dates.

Course Dessert, Snack
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 14 truffles
Author Rachel

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder see notes below
  • 24 pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut divided
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-5 tsp water

Instructions

  1. In a dry skillet, lightly toast the almonds over low heat until golden and fragrant, being careful not to over-toast. (They should not smell bitter or burned.) When finished, pour them into the bowl of a food processor and allow to cool for a few minutes.

  2. Add cocoa powder. Pulse until nuts are finely chopped. Don't over-process - you don't want to make nut butter!

  3. Add the dates and 1/4 cup of the coconut. Sprinkle with the vanilla extract. Pulse until the dates are chopped into pieces about 1/4 inch in size.

  4. Sprinkle the mixture with 3 tsp of water. Continue to blend the mixture in long pulses, adding more water 1/2 tsp at a time, until it starts to come together in clumps. 

  5. When you can pinch the mixture and it holds together, it's time to form the balls. Measure out tablespoon-sized amounts and roll them into balls. You should get about 14 balls.

  6. Roll the balls in the remaining 1/4 cup of coconut. Store truffles in the refrigerator or enjoy immediately.

Recipe Notes

Use a good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder for this recipe. I like Trader Joe's Unsweetened Cocoa Powder.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. Actual nutrient values may vary.

Carrot Apple Spice Smoothie

Carrot Apple Spice Smoothie

It’s Thanksgiving week, and I’m already leaning into a relaxed holiday pace. I took my time getting ready for work this morning, and had breakfast with my 2-year old, Toby, at home. As the little guy enjoyed his banana and trail mix in his jammies, I tossed some fruits and veggies into the blender for a breakfast smoothie.

My smoothies usually start with unsweetened vanilla almond milk as the liquid, and fermented vegan vanilla protein powder. Today I added vanilla almond butter for extra nuttiness. Frozen banana and avocado provide creaminess and healthy fats, rounded out by plenty of fresh raw carrots and an apple.

This smoothie reminds me of the thick, creamy consistency of a layered pumpkin dessert my mom used to make, without the pumpkin. I used apple pie spice because that’s what was handy, but you could substitute cinnamon, nutmeg, and just a hint of cloves if you have them. Pumpkin pie spice wouldn’t be bad, either.

I use a Vitamix for smoothies, and the high-speed motor handles roughly-chopped raw carrots. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, using shredded or chopped carrots may help make it easier to blend.

Carrot Apple Spice Smoothie


Course Breakfast
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tsp light agave nectar
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/8 tsp Apple Pie Spice see note below
  • 1/2 frozen avocado
  • 1 frozen ripe banana
  • 2 tbsp Nathan's Vanilla Almond Butter
  • 1 cup carrots roughly chopped
  • 1 small to medium apple cored but not peeled

Instructions

  1. In a high-speed blender, add ingredients in order (almond milk first.)

  2. Blend at high speed or on smoothie setting for 50 seconds, until smooth.

  3. Makes 2 servings.

Recipe Notes

I use Penzey's Apple Pie Spice. It's a blend of two types of cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, and cloves. A good substitution would be 1/8 tsp cinnamon, a bit of grated nutmeg, and a dash of ground cloves.