(aka a Nutella Flavoured Energy Powerhouse)
I will not be doing a dry January this year (I never do), nor will I be doing Veganuary. Extremes in the harshest month of the year make no sense to me. I don’t think they do for anyone. Normality, and a little more self control are what I am aiming for. More exercise. Real food, lots of cooking. A little less meat, more fish, a lot more veg, and a lot of joy in the kitchen.
One issue I face is dealing with the snack attack. Yeah, you know what I mean. About 3pm, or whenever your digestive hormonal dip comes, you want something sweet, right? Something to lift you out of the deep? Now, I have the thing for that. It tastes fantastic, takes minutes. and stores really well. So, you can bring them to work in a little lunchbox, or keep them at home for when you need a little something-something.
This style of recipe is not new on this here internet, but maybe it might be new to you as it was to me. You know when you get an idea, and you play with it, and you think, I AM ON TO SOMETHING HERE. And then you google it and see a tonne of people doing similar already? That. Somethings are just in the ether. Anyway, ignore all that and just believe me when I tell you that you need to make this. They will satisfy every craving for something you probably shouldn’t eat (like Haribo), and you will feel great after.
Using dates as the sweet base for these truffles, I grind roast hazelnuts first, until relatively small, then I add cocoa (YES: Nutella flavour klaxon!). They need some fat to lubricate and soften (and yes folks, fat is no longer on the naughty step, nor is cholesterol, I do despair a little at all the conflicting constantly changing nutritional advice), coconut oil is a good choice and what I use as I like the flavour and the texture. It means the recipe is dairy free too. If butter is your preferred, it works well, but you will need to keep your truffles refrigerated. I also add some chia seeds.
Chia seeds are an ancient Aztec food, as valuable as maize, for energy and nutritional content. They are still part of the food culture in much of Latin America. There is lots of protein in chia seed, although there are some questions as to how available that is to digestion. What is good about them is that they are full of Omega-3 fatty acids and minerals, and a little goes a long way. They are an energy powerhouse too, so I put a little in my smoothie in the morning and I put a little in these truffles too. They add a nice bite. Flaxseed would work, if you can’t get your paws on chia seeds. Or just a little extra hazelnut.
Dates are a super food (and that term is so over used, isn’t all food super, when it comes down to it?), being gorgeous, rich and completely natural. I first started experimenting with them when I had a little too much time in the Dubai duty free (4 hours between flights en route home from Australia many moons ago). I spent my leftover foreign currency on dates, and lots of them, plain and stuffed with nuts. That was when I discovered the joy of a simple marriage of a date and an almond or a hazelnut. Then I put blue cheese in too and wrapped them with a bacon cummerbund before roasting for a perfect bite with friends. Dates can be naughty, and they can be nice, that depends on how you want to play with them.
I am pretty hooked on these. I know you will love them.
Are you on Snapchat? I am! Once I discovered it was a terrific and easy resource for sharing recipe videos and travel snippets and anything, really, I was hooked! It took me a while to figure out just how easy it was. The videos are only live for 24 hours and then disappear, so come on over ASAP if you want to see what I have been up to. My every day cooking that rarely makes the blog is all on there too. I am eatlikeagirl on there (as well as on twitter, facebook and instagram). Here is a snippet from today, and making these truffles. Spoiler: they worked out gorgeously in the end.
Note: these are not pro videos, obviously, but a series of videos taken throughout the day, a max of 10 seconds each. Photos too. Great fun! They also look much better on the phone than in this youtube upload, but I just wanted to give you a taste.
Any other recipe / culinary travel snappers out there? Please let me know!
- 100g blanched roasted hazelnuts (roast them for 10 minutes at 180 deg C or until golden)
- 50g coconut oil
- 50g cocoa for the truffles, and 50g for rolling in
- 2 tbsp chia seeds (or ground flaxseed)
- 160g dates approx, weight with stones removed
- 2 tbsp maple syrup (or honey if you can't get maple syrup)
These are so easy. You need a food processor or good blender. Pulse the hazelnuts until small, then add the cocoa (hello Nutella flavours!), chia and dates. When a fine paste has been formed, add the coconut oil and maple syrup (the maple syrup may seem excessive given the sweetness of the dates but they do add a layer of flavour). Put in a bowl and cover with cling film before refrigerating. Don't be alarmed if there is a layer of liquid, this is just the coconut fat.
After half an hour, stir the mixture through so that everything is well combined. Shape the mixture into small balls and dust in gorgeous cocoa. Eat at your leisure and enjoy! I would store covered in the fridge until you want them, just for consistency, but they are ok on the counter too.