I have been off refined sugar for nearly 18 months now. Well, let me re-qualify the statement: I do not eat, not even close, the same amount of refined sugar I used to but I still indulge in a proper sweet treat once or twice a month. This long-term experiment is working out well: I thoroughly enjoy what I eat – mostly made by me, and pretty much never with white sugar – and I don’t have cravings anymore.
There is always a bar of dark chocolate to be found in my cupboard which but, lately, I had been meaning to try something new. This recipe for chocolate truffles made with dates has been floating around the internet for a few years now. I was reminded of it when I had lunch with my sister at Cafe Gratitude, a vegan restaurant that, incidentally, makes a sugar-free coconut pie which is incredibly delicious.
I was never a big fan of dates, too sweet and sticky for my palate, until my friend Elisabetta brought me back a box from Saudi Arabia and I realized I had been eating the wrong dates all my life! Plump, buttery, nutty and soft, these dates were a revelation. Alas, even in California we don’t have all the varieties that are found in Saudi Arabia – we are stuck with Medjool dates, because, I suppose, are suited to our climate.
After polisihing off the last of the Arabina dates, I started looking around and I noticed that not all Medjool are created equal. I found some organic ones at Wholefoods, from the Salinas valley, that are large and soft and at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market there is an abundance of juicy dates which inspired me to give the date truffles a go.
The result? While they will not pose a threat to any serious chocolatier, they are just the right treat to have after dinner, or with a cup of tea mid afternoon. And they couldn’t be simpler to make. Make sure you use cocoa powder and coconut flakes that are unsweetened, as the dates are sweet enough and would otherwise overpower the chocolate flavor.
12 dates, pitted
1/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1/4 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened + a bit more for rolling
- Place all ingredients in a mixer and whizz until you get a paste.
- Remove it from the mixer bowl and, using a wet scoop or your wet hands, form about 20 to 24 balls.
- Roll them in the coconut flakes and refrigerate. They keep for about a week in the refrigerator.
And if you want the real thing, here is my recipe for very easy basic chocolate truffles.