Cocoa-Date Truffles – Low-fat, but Seriously (Seriously) Tasty!
July 13, 2012
The section on low-sugar desserts in Bon Appétit caught my eye last month, so I decided to make the Cocoa-Date Truffles and see how they measured up. I have long felt somewhat needlessly guilty while eating dates, since it almost feels like eating pure honey. So it made perfect sense to me that truffles made with dates as the sweet component would work. And, dates being extremely sticky, they would serve to bind the dry ingredients together.
I made the recipe twice – the first time was not too bad, but I felt compelled to explain that they were really low-fat and made with dates to anyone I had sample them. I tweaked several things for second batch, and that one required no such disclaimer – they were delicious! Chocolatey, with a nice coconut undertone.
For the first batch, since I’m always striving for low-fat (and because I had no coconut), I went with the oat option instead of the coconut option. The first change for batch two was to procure some reduced fat shredded coconut from Alfalfa’s (made by Let’s Do…Organic, ‘Fat reduction achieved by steam extraction’ — okay by me!). The second change was to swap out Ghiradelli Unsweetened Cocoa, and instead use Dagoba Organic Cocoa Powder. Honestly – they smelled equally inviting when I took a big whiff of both canisters to compare, but the Dagoba has fewer calories, less fat, and more fiber, and the second round tasted better, so that’s what I’m going with! The third change was to bump up the amount of cocoa and coconut by 1/3. And my last change was to throw in a bit of almond extract.
There was also a change on the mechanical front. For the first batch I used my small food processor, and for whatever reason chose to ignore the fact that it was really struggling to churn its little blade around. I kept on pushing the pulse and chop buttons, trying for ultimate smoothness. At some point, the tiny tendril of white smoke curling out of the back of the processor was enough to get me to cease and desist processing. The second time I sagely used the full-sized food processor, which was fortunately fully-qualified for the task.
As a side note, I would be fascinated to know just how they were able to get the truffles evenly, gorgeously coated with large pieces of chopped pistachios for the Bon Appétit photo. Mine ended up lightly coated with pistachio dust, but in order to get any amount of chopped nut meat on the truffles, I pretty much had to hand-apply it.
adapted from a recipe in the June 2012 issue of Bon Appétit
makes 16 truffles
8 oz pitted dates (I used California dates)
4 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
4 Tbsp reduced-fat shredded coconut (or regular)
1/2 tsp espresso powder
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 to 1 oz crushed pistachios for coating (salted or unsalted – your choice. I ground 1 oz, only 1/2 stuck)
sesame (or peanut) oil to grease your hands to avoid stickage
Put the first 3 ingredients into a food processor, and process until the dates are somewhat chopped up. Then add the espresso powder and the almond extract, and process until the mixture forms into a single moist, unattractive ball thrust to the side of the processor (some literary license taken here for dramatic affect).
Take the cocoa-date ball out of the processor, then coat your fingers and palms with a very light layer of sesame oil. Divide the ball into 16 equal pieces, then roll them into balls. Roll in the crushed pistachios to ‘coat’ (see above comment).
(made with reduced-fat coconut, and 1/2 oz pistachios)
1 truffle: 52 cals, 1 g fat, 1.7 g fiber