These have waited a while to make it to the blog and my apologies for those who have been waiting! My first excuse is that they’ve hardly lasted long enough for me to get a decent picture. My second excuse is that kombucha had been waiting a while, too. Lastly, we left the desert for the summer and since arriving back in the Hudson Valley we’ve been enjoying family time and the region’s summer bounty.
But, we’re here now and these delicious morsels are getting impatient to make their debut!
This recipe comes in handy in 2 major ways for me. They are a quick and easy yet presentable goody I can whip up for play dates and other gatherings. More importantly, they’re a great, homemade sweet that I feel good enough about to give to Claire. I am well aware that I will not be able to control everything that goes into her mouth and little body, especially as she gets older, bolder, and sees what her peers are up to. For the time being however, I can control bit by bit the sweets and treats she chooses and therefore minimize as much as possible her exposure to unrefined products, dyes and other chemicals and worse yet, GMOs.
So, what is it about these truffles that make me feel so good? There are 3 short, sweet and simple answers: Cacao, Coconut, and Nut Butter (here, cashew butter, but almond butter and peanut butter have been equally, deliciously successful).
Cacao – Its history stems from South America and Mexico and their ancient cultures knew then what science is now confirming. Raw cacao is an incredible source of antioxidants. It is rich in minerals such as magnesium, iron, calcium, copper, zinc and manganese and in Vitamins A, C, E, and some B vitamins. As if that weren’t enough, the theobromine in cacao, a diuretic that aids in expelling toxins, is also a mood enhancer. That’s why you feel happy after you eat chocolate. Seratonin gets a boost, you get the happies. Oh, and in some circles it is considered an anti-aging food and a smart food¹. I’m personally not going to argue with that.
Coconut – Shredded coconut is the actual meat of the coconut and it is full of fiber (gut health galore), and minerals such as potassium, iron, manganese, and selenium. These all serve different functions of the body ranging from bone development, nerve and muscle function and regulating blood pressure. Coconut’s true claim to fame however, is its medium chain fatty acids (MCT). Fat, as you may now know, is a friend and the saturated fat in coconut is actually GOOD for you and your brain. It’s good for joint and nerve function and may even reduce triglyceride levels. We’ve been taught fat is bad, but not all fat is created equal and this fat is one of those good ones.
Cashew Butter – Cashews’ fatty acids (most of which are unsaturated) contain oleic acid, the same found in olive oil, and is good, good, good for cardiovascular health. Cashews also contain minerals such as copper and magnesium and are also particularly high in antioxidants. And if you’re looking to lose inches (or centimeters…however you roll) adding nuts and their butters to your diet would be a big help.
Aren’t you impressed with the über health benefits of this little truffle? That’s only the half of it…wait till you taste it!
Cacao Nut Butter Truffles
*adapted from Food 52 contributor (It’s a great site with great ideas and once I saw this one I had to try it!)
1/2 C dark chocolate (the darker the better)
1/2 C nut butter (I used Honey Cinnamon Cashew Butter)
1/4 C + 1 T brown rice syrup OR maple syrup OR honey
1 T coconut butter (optional)
2 T cacao powder
1T vanilla extract
1 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t sea salt (I used Himalayan Rock Salt because it was all I had.)
1 1/2 C unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 C finely chopped nuts (for rolling truffles)
Combine all ingredients, except shredded coconut, in a sauce pan and heat over low-medium heat, stir to blend well.
When the mixture is melted, remove from heat and mix in 1 C of shredded coconut. Let mixture cool completely.
When mixture is cooled, form tablespoon size balls and place on baking sheet. You should get 18-20 truffles. Roll the truffles in remaining 1/2 C shredded coconut and/or nuts, if using. Alternatively, you could fill mini-muffin cups with the cacao/coconut mixture and top with nuts or shredded coconut.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.