Recipes

Chocolate Vegan Truffles

By Judith Hallisey, Executive Chef, Director of Menu and Program Development at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Zion, Illinois

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Removing the heavy cream, sugar and butter of a traditional truffle recipe was the first step in revising these vegan chocolate truffles. Dates are used here to add rich flavor, oil, and several vitamins and minerals, including calcium, sulfur, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, copper and magnesium—all beneficial for health. Almonds are a rich source of vitamin E, calcium, phosphorous, iron and magnesium, as well as zinc, selenium, copper and niacin—these nuts are packed with nutrients and beneficial components. Using honey as the sweetener adds anti-inflammatory properties, as does cinnamon. Cayenne gives the truffles a unique kick, and it is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese and dietary fiber. And who could forget the chocolate: Powder or chocolate morsels can be used in this recipe, and the higher quality chocolate used, the better the final result.

Ingredients

¾ cup dates, dried, pitted and chopped
¾ cup almonds, slivered
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup creamy, unsalted almond butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons honey
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Soak dates in hot water just enough to cover them; let them sit overnight. Soak almonds for two hours in water; remove excess water after two hours. Using a food processor, add dates first and process until smooth; next, add almonds and process until combined mixture is smooth.

Add cocoa powder to the date-and-almond mixture, followed by the almond butter (which should be heated to soften before you add to mixture); process until smooth.

Finally, add cinnamon, honey, Cayenne, salt and vanilla, processing again until the mixture forms a ball. Then, roll individual balls (roughly the size of a ping-pong ball); these balls can then be rolled in the coating of your choice. (Some great options for toppings include: cocoa powder, ground nuts, melted chocolate and shredded coconut.) Place coated truffles on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and refrigerate for two hours until firm.

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