Healthy Dark Chocolate Almond Truffles

Miraculous things happen when almonds, dates, and dark chocolate come together!

dark chocolate almond truffles

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?

dark chocolate almond truffles with a bite taken from one showing the filling

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.

ingredients in a food processor

almond truffle filling in food processor

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.

healthy almond truffles before dipping into chocolate

(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.)

melted chocolate in a glass measuring cup with a candy dipping tool for dipping truffles

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.

dark chocolate almond truffles

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!

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dark chocolate almond truffles

Healthy Dark Chocolate Almond Truffles

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 20 truffles
  • Category: Candy
  • Method: No Bake
  • Cuisine: American


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*


  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Sweet/Salty: If salty/sweet is your thing, add 1/4 teaspoon salt to the food processor with the other ingredients.
  4. Chocolate: Make sure you’re using quality chocolate. I prefer Lindt or Ghirardelli when dipping candies. Trader Joe’s Pound Plus bar works too!
  5. Special Tools: Double boiler, food processor (I own and love this onethis 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. 🙂

overhead image of dark chocolate almond truffles on a white plate


  1. Heather (Delicious Not Gorgeous) says:

    my favorite sf spots! 
    san tung (richmond)- their dry-fried chicken wings are my favorite wings ever!
    b patisserie (pacific heights)- koiugn amann and any croissant (i love their chocolate banana almond croissant, and it’s perfect if you need a chocolate boost!).
    golden gate bakery (chinatown)- super silky dan tats (egg tarts) with the flakiest pastry. they are notorious for being closed all the time though, so it’s helpful to call ahead to check.
    ferry building (embarcadero)- i love walking around and seeing everything! the ahi burger from gott’s roadside and porchetta sandwich from roli roti are amazing, and the ice cream from humphrey slocombe is always tasty (haven’t tried their chocolate, but i bet it’s great, too!).

    1. Thanks for all the awesome recommendations Heather!!

      1. I do not have them, but you can calculate them using an online calculator tool.

  2. For a chocolate fix head to XOX Truffles in North Beach. The most unbelievable hand made chocolates. It was a stop on a foodie tour I did in the city a few years ago. And it’s in San Francisco’s Italian neighborhood so I’m sure you’ll find gelato too. I wish I could make the drive to see you but I’m hosting a baby shower and have prep to do (the lemon bars from your cookbook are on the menu!). 

    1. Thanks Erin! Have fun hosting the baby shower!!

  3. Two words: Lush Gelato.

    Freak flavor combos, but always unbelievable delicious. And they always have a chocolate based something. Also, even though you’ll probably stick to the city… I’ve gotta say the eateries over the Bay in Oakland/Berkeley are better. 🙂

    Ici Ice Cream in Berkeley, best of your life. Worth the BART ride. 

    Avoid Gelateria Naia in SF.

    Seven Hills Restaurant is a hidden San Francisco gem. 

    I’m trying these truffles tomorrow. Your Fruit & Nut Balls are probably my favorite recipe in SCA. I keep a constant supply in my fridge!

    1. Thanks for all the recommendations Sara! Love those fruit & nut balls!

      1. Wait. Hold the phone. I made these this morning and am eating a truffle right now. This is the best truffle I’ve ever had. Period. Healthy or otherwise. You are magic!

      2. WHAT a compliment!! I know, I’m in love with them too. The whole healthier thing is a major bonus.

  4. Andrea @ Cooking with a Wallflower says:

    It was sooo nice to finally meet you tonight, Sally! I’ve been such a fan of your blog for years. And I’ve tried so many of your recipes! These healthy truffles look amazing and I love that they’re healthy! Considering that I’m a dental hygienist and I have a major sweet tooth, now I won’t have to feel so guilty! 

    As for good eats in SF, you need to try brunch at Sweet Maple near Japantown! And then you have to order anything with Millionaire’s bacon. It’s sooo amazing and absolutely terrible for you. But how can you resist thick cut bacon baked with brown sugar and cayenne pepper? I recommend the Asparagus Blackstone Benedict.

    Then you can head to Sift Cupcakes for cupcakes that have been featured on Cupcake Wars. Highly recommend the Pink Champagne! Or ice cream at Smitten ice cream which are made to order using liquid nitrogen.

    And on Saturday, you should go to the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market. So many fresh produce and baked goods. You can also do some olive oil tasting at Stonehouse Olive Oil and cheese tasting at Cow Girl Creamery. There’s also amazing coffee at Blue Bottle, macarons at Miette, and unique ice cream flavors at Humphry Slocombe.

    Have fun while in SF! And again, thank you so much for inspiring me to blog! 

    1. Andrea, when I met you the other night I didn’t put it together that YOU were the Andrea who I’ve come to know through comments! Yes, it was so nice to meet you. Thank you for taking the time to give me all these suggestions! That millionaire’s bacon sounds absolutely ridiculous in the best way possible 🙂 I have to check out Miette for macarons! xoxo

      1. Andrea | Cooking with a Wallflower says:

        I hope you enjoyed your stay in SF! =)

  5. Cheese and Chinese says:

    I love making sweets/bars/truffles with dates, they’re such a magical ingredient! 

  6. Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg says:

    Sally – I love using dates in desserts. Last year, one of the teachers that I work with brought in Yolo Balls, which have similar ingredients to your recipe. Everyone loved them. I can’t wait to try these. I love almond and know these would be a hit for a Valentine’s treat. 

    1. They would be perfect for a Valentine’s Day treat!

  7. I’ve been on a HUGE almond kick this week, so these are really calling to me. When is almond anything other than fabulous? Hope your vacation is going great! San Fran has the best fish and the best restaurants.

    1. We’ ve had amazing seafood so far on our trip!

  8. Marina @ A Dancer's Live-It says:

    I’m dubbing these as my next afternoon pick-me-up because CHOCOLATE and ALMONDS. So they’re the perfect energy balls!!! 🙂

    1. A healthy little treat between dance moves!! 🙂 

  9. When you find the chocolate gelato I suggest pairing it with a scoop of lemon.  It is my absolute favorite combination that I discovered one year while visiting Italy.  Enjoy the hopefully warmer weather on the West coast!

    1. I’ll add that to my list of things to try! Thanks Mary!!

  10. I think you just need to come back to Jersey City for some serious gelato 😉 My treat, and we can talk about dogs & sprinkles the whole time!!

    1. I would LOVE that. 🙂

  11. Sally, can you please tell me how much 14 medjool dates are in grams? I have a different variety of dates that I need to use up and they’re much smaller than regular medjool dates, so any feedback would be tremendously helpful. 

    1. Fatima, they weigh about 24g each.

  12. Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday says:

    Dates + salted almonds is one of my favorite snacks, but I’d certainly say you just improved it! Adding chocolate has a way of doing that.
    I know it’s been said, but definitely check out the Ferry Building Marketplace if you have time! Not only are there a bunch of cute foodie stores with everything from cheese to fancy olive oil, but there’s also a Humphrey Slocombe ice cream place in there that’s delicious. I had no idea fudge sorbet could exist, but it’s (somehow) creamy chocolate bliss! I’d also recommend 4505 Meats for “The Best Damn Cheeseburger”. So good!

    1. I’ll put Kevin in charge of trying the cheeseburger while I test out the ice cream! Thanks for the recommendations Ellen!!

  13. Hi Sally! 

    I would highly suggest Bi-Rite Creamery for some sinfully good ice cream. It’s not gelato, but they’ve got unbelievably good ice cream (my fav is Ricanelas which is a cinnamon ice cream with chunks of snickerdoodle cookies in it). The roasted banana flavor is pretty good too and they have chocolate of course. This place is actually very close to Omnivore Books (about 5min away)!

    Another place I recommend is the Frozen Kuhsterd food truck. Frozen custard is very similar to gelato but creamier and maybe even better if I may be so bold to say! 😉 They also have unique flavors that differ from day to day. They will be in South San Francisco today from 11am to 2pm!

    Enjoy your stay in SF! Im going to try stop by on Saturday to see you! 🙂

    1. OMG that cinnamon ice sounds amazing! Can’t wait to meet you Danielle!  Thanks for the recommendations!!

  14. Stella @ Stellicious Life says:

    I LOVE bars and balls made with dates! SO deliciously fudgy and juicy. I’m seriously addicted to them, I keep sneaking ball after ball off the plate saying “just one more”, “this will be the last” 😉 Will have to try these… 😀

    1. I have the same problem!!

  15. Leah @ Grain Changer says:

    DATES ARE PURE MAGIC! I’m loving this slightly healthier truffle! I’ve made lots of indulgent date balls in my day, but whyyyy have I never thought of dipping them in chocolate? You genius, you 🙂 

  16. Even if it’s not for Valentine’s Day, I have to try this. Chocolate is my weakness and I know how good dates taste in dessert. I imagine a couple of these would be a great snack to eat after a workout or have stuffed in a bag for long trips! 

  17. I absolutely LOVE dates and have been looking to try some some desserts that are on the healthier side–looks like I will be making these this weekend! 

  18. Shashi at RunninSrilankan says:

    I adore using dates in baked treats as well as in no-bake treats and your’s sound fantastic, Sally! When I was younger, we ate fresh dates by the handful – even had them with tea, but never baked with them.

  19. Tyler Florence’s Wayfare Tavern downtown is a MUST.

    1. Thanks for the recommendation!

  20. demeter | beaming baker says:

    Sally!! I can’t believe you’re in the Bay Area! I lived all over the bay for decades!! (I grew up there). There are so many wonderful places to eat there, and many new places sprouting up every day. There’s a place called Holy Gelato in the Inner Sunset (neighborhood in SF) that serves some really fun flavors (think goat cheese and honey lavender), along with your beloved chocolate. 🙂 Have a great time on the book tour and a wonderful Valentine’s Day! <3

    1. Thanks for the recommendations! I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day too!! 

  21. If you want dessert, you HAVE to go Tartine and one of my favorite pizza spots, Little Star. I miss living in the Bay Area. Have an amazing time! 🙂 

    1. Thanks for the recommendations Jaclyn!!

  22. I really want to try making these! They are so pretty, and I love that you made them with dates. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  23. Warning: This recipe has delicious flavors, but it literally took an hour of blending and scraping in my cuisinart, which couldn’t handle it, and then my magic bullet, which finally sort of handled it, before coming together into almost the right texture. As you might imagine, this much blending was not good for the magic bullet – the base of the machine started smoking and part of it near the blade melted. Melted plastic does not smell or taste good. 

    I soaked the dates for 30 minutes and even added more liquid while blending. But this mixture was just too thick and sticky for all of the food processors and blenders within a 2 block radius of my apartment. I probably would never make this again.

    1. This is the exact recipe as my brownie date truffles posted a few years ago and I’ve never heard of this issue before. Did you change anything about the recipe?

    2. I found that adding a teaspoon or two of Maple Syrup (as Sally suggested) really helped in getting the ingredients to blend well. Hope that helps 🙂

  24. Kayle (The Cooking Actress) says:

    I’ll never cease to be amazed by the miracles dates can perform in sweets! These truffles look so decadent but they’re not bad for you! HOORAY!

  25. Alexa [] says:

    You are the truffle QUEEN, Sally! These look insanely delicious – I lovelovelove the dark chocolate-almond combo 🙂

    1. *blushes* thanks Alexa! I do love my truffles.

  26. Cathleen @ A Taste Of Madness says:

    Oooh! I think I want one of those spiraly things to make these truffles. They are so gorgeous!

  27. Sally, I have so many SF food recommendations for you. 

    For the chocolate gelato, Lush Gelato is decadent and delicious! If you’re okay with ice cream as well, Bi-Rite Creamery in the Mission is amazing. CREAM has amazing ice cream sandwiches (think tons of ice cream choices, warm & fresh-out-of-the-oven cookies, and the ability to mix and match things however you’d like!)

    I know you love pizza. Tony’s Pizza Napolentana in North Beach is hands-down the best pizza I’ve ever had in my life. The Eddie Munster is my favorite (it has honey and this delicious crisped up kale on the pizza. YUM). Tony has beat out Italian pizza makers at various international pizza making competitions. I highly recommend.

    North Beach is near Chinatown, and Golden Gate Bakery sells the most delicious egg tarts every. They’re always warm and freshly made. The only downside is that they’re open at very odd hours, so check this page to see if they’re open:

    Tartine Bakery in the Mission makes the most incredible pastries and bread. They’re super famous for a reason!! The morning bun, the croissants, the tarts; everything is delicious! 

    And one more delicious dinner recommendation: Cha-Ya (in the Mission on Valencia Street). They serve healthy vegetarian Japanese cuisine. Everything there is so freshly prepared; the portion sizes are pretty large, but the food they make is so light and healthy 🙂

    I have so so many recommendations, but those are some of my favorites from my absolute favorite city. Have a blast this weekend, Sally! <3

    1. Thanks for all the recommendations, I’ll need to extend my stay lol!!

  28. Hi Sally, These truffles are fantastic. I just made them. Love your healthy recipe! You can see how they came out in the link below. (I do not have Instagram account yet)

    ……………………………..Thank you for all your good recipes.

  29. I’ve never eaten a date in my life, but I have been searching for healthier snack and dessert items for my family.  I came across these and made them today.  Not gonna lie…the dates looked like cockroaches soaking in the bowl…but OMG, these are to die for! I used unsalted sunflower seeds, but I did add a generous 1/4 tsp. Of salt.  I also did one tsp. Vanilla extract and one tsp. Almond extract (YUM). I used Hersey’s Special Dark cocoa powder.  I had to add 2 more dates and a teaspoon of maple syrup to get them to come together.  I used Ghiradelli dark chocolate melting wafers and gave them all one turn of my sea salt mill after placing them on the parchment. These are better than any truffle or cake pop I’ve ever had.   I will definitely use dates again for desserts, even if they do look like roaches!  lol.  Thank you for the awesome recipe!!

    1. Haha dates certainly aren’t the prettiest!

  30. These were so frickin good! Received many compliments from friends and family. Will definitely be making them again! 

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