Miraculous things happen when almonds, dates, and dark chocolate come together!
Greetings from San Fran! From east coast book signings to west coast book signings, it’s been a wild ride this week. Meeting you, wandering the streets of both Manhattan and San Francisco within 24 hours, catching up with old friends, and indulging in some really-good-it-should-be-illegal chocolate gelato…
Thank you everyone who came to Green Apple book store last night! And, of course, to all the readers who saw me in Jersey City earlier this week. I have another San Francisco book signing on Saturday at Omnivore Books from 3-4pm.
Speaking of… bay area readers: where should Kevin and I eat while we’re here for the next 2 days? And, more importantly, where can we find some chocolate gelato fitting the above description?
If you couldn’t tell, I’m on a maaaajor chocolate kick. Usually I’m all like “nah, fruity desserts are the bees knees” but ever since these luscious pools of dark chocolate entered my life, I’ve been all like “can I put chocolate in my grilled cheese?”
Since we can’t eat chocolate gelato every night of the week (we can’t, right?), I decided it was high time to share a healthier chocolate treat on my blog. These healthy dark chocolate almond truffles defy all laws of chocolate. Healthy chocolate desserts usually taste like sand dust or completely artificial, boring, blah, etc. But these truffles? They actually taste like you’re cheating. I know a ball made from dates and nuts running around calling itself a chocolate truffle takes a lot of guts. But friends… THIS IS REAL. And IT IS GOOD.
The secret’s in the dates. Have you ever made food with dates before? Or even eaten dates before? With their brown wrinkly exterior, they certainly don’t win any beauty contests. But they’re a miracle ingredient when you’re whipping up healthier treats. They’re called nature’s candy: naturally sweet with subtle caramel-like flavors. It hardly tastes like you’re eating a fruit! I make a ton of no-bake treats with them, one of my favorites (and reader favorites) being these chocolate truffle energy bites.
The trick to working with dates when you’re processing them is to soak them in warm water before starting. Why? They’re a little hard and dried out. Soaking them in warm water makes them extra soft and sticky– just the texture you need in order for the truffle ingredients to come together. Other ingredients you’ll need: almonds, seeds, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract. Nothing more, nothing less. Except for maybe a pinch of sea salt because salty chocolate is my weakness.
It’s all mixed together in a food processor. A blender works too, but shorter food processors are key. I currently have two that I use for recipes like this: my beloved food processor and the mighty Ninja. All the ingredients go in, pulse/process, then roll into balls. It’s that easy.
(Let me back up for a sec because I know what you’re thinking. Ew, how can a ball of dried fruit and nuts actually taste like a truffle? Sally have you lost your mind!!!??? Well, yes. But I’m thinking straight with this healthy truffle business. It’s all in those magical dates. They’re very sweet and because we soak them in warm water, they get all sticky. This makes the truffle filling super moist. Moisture mixed with the cocoa powder = naturally sweetened chocolate goodness. Then, when it’s all coated in real dark chocolate? Yep. Heavenly.)
Unlike regular truffles, there’s no waiting for the filling to chill. You can begin dipping, dunking, rolling right away. You’re going to dip these almond truffles into melted dark chocolate. I like to use semi-sweet chocolate, but you can use bittersweet instead. Milk or white chocolates work too!
Here’s my secret to dipping pretty truffles: candy dipping tools! You’ve seen me using these a lot in the past year or so. I discovered them when I was writing Sally’s Candy Addiction and I can’t dip candies without them. Like a complete weirdo, I’m even traveling with my dipping tools on this book tour for cooking demos.
To dip pretty truffles:
– Place truffle in melted chocolate.
– Scoop out with the spiral candy dipping tool.
– Tap tool against bowl and allow extra chocolate to drip off.
– Flip truffle over onto lined baking sheet.
– Quickly lift tool off truffle.
Baddabing baddaboom. Truffle prettiness.
I know you’re all probably indulging this Valentine’s Day weekend, myself included (I’m being serious about that chocolate gelato business. Taking all suggestions.) but if you’re looking for a healthier alternative to a box of chocolates, these dark chocolate almond truffles hit the spot!Print
An easy recipe for healthy dark chocolate almond truffles. Miraculous things happen when almonds, dates, and dark chocolate come together!
- 14 Medjool dates, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup (21g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup (70g) whole almonds
- 1/2 cup (70g) sunflower seeds (I use salted)*
- optional: 1/4 teaspoon salt*
- 8 ounces (226g) semi-sweet or bittersweet quality chocolate*
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
- Place pitted dates, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, almonds, sunflower seeds, and salt (if using) into your food processor. Blend/pulse until a moist dough forms, as pictured above. This will take a minute or two of blending. If the dough is too dry and crumbly, add 1-2 more soaked dates or even a teaspoon of pure maple syrup.
- Once dough is formed, scoop out 1 Tablespoon of dough. Roll into a smooth ball and place onto prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Set aside as you melt the chocolate in the next step.
- You can melt the chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave. If using the microwave: place the chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl. I like to use a liquid measuring cup. Its depth makes it easy for dipping. Melt in 30 second increments in the microwave, stirring after each increment until completely melted and smooth. Let the warm chocolate sit for 5 minutes to slightly cool before dipping.
- Dip each ball completely into the chocolate using a dipping tool. When lifting it out of the chocolate, remember to tap the dipping tool gently on the side of the bowl to allow excess chocolate to drip off. Place each back on the baking sheet and refrigerate until the chocolate has set, about 30 minutes.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Cover truffles tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. You can freeze these truffles, too! Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
- Sunflower Seeds: Instead of using sunflower seeds, you can use 1/2 cup of whole almonds for a total of 1 cup (140g) whole almonds in the recipe.
- Sweet/Salty: If salty/sweet is your thing, add 1/4 teaspoon salt to the food processor with the other ingredients.
- Chocolate: Make sure you’re using quality chocolate. I prefer Lindt or Ghirardelli when dipping candies. Trader Joe’s Pound Plus bar works too!
- Special Tools: Double boiler, food processor (I own and love this one, this one, and here’s the Vitamix you could use too), and dipping tool (highly recommended for dipping!)
Keywords: healthy truffles, dark chocolate almond truffles
If you try these truffles, snap a pic and tag it #sallysbakingaddiction on Instagram so I can see how yours came out! I love seeing which recipes you make. 🙂