Put your hand up if you have a secret chocolate stash. Desk drawer? Highest kitchen cupboard? Bedside table? On the rare occasion that my kids would find my hidden chocolate, I’d usually shamelessly look them in the eye and say something like, “oh, you wouldn’t like that chocolate. It’s too strong/spicy/fruity.”
Thank goodness they were so naïve and trusting when little. Today, I am little more generous when it comes to sharing my treats, and these delicious truffles are a favourite in our house. With loads of flavour and natural sweetness, they are rich and satisfying. Vegan, gluten-free and packed with protein, fibre and potassium, they’re not only nutritious, they’re also a great nut-free goodie to tuck into a lunchbox. What better way to say ‘I love you’ (including to yourself) than with a healthy, homemade treat that tastes decadent but is actually good for you?
1 thin slice raw beet (peeled)
1 tbsp warm water
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, divided
1 tsp water
1 1/2 cups pitted dates
3 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tbsp quinoa flakes
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
1 tbsp maple syrup
Pinch of sea salt
2 – 3 tbsp water or strong brewed coffee
Cut beet slice in half and place in a small bowl; add 1 tablespoon warm. Let sit 15 minutes until the water turns vibrant pink. Discard beet and set water aside for tinting coconut garnish.
While beet juice is steeping, look at your initial quantity (1 cup) of coconut. If it is in large strands, as mine was, dump it on a cutting board and chop it a bit so the pieces are finer.
Divide the 1 cup coconut into two shallow bowls.
To one bowl, add the beet juice, 1 teaspoon at a time, stirring well after each addition. The coconut will take on a lovely pink hue; keep adding juice till you like the colour. Spread the coconut out in the bowl and let it dry a bit while you make the truffles.
To the white coconut bowl, add 1 teaspoon of water and stir well to blend. The coconut will stick better to the truffles if it is a bit damp.
Purée dates, cocoa powder, coconut, quinoa flakes, orange zest, maple syrup, salt and 2 tablespoons of water or coffee in a food processor until quite smooth.
You want a moist dough that will stick together without being too wet to form a ball (pinch a bit together with your fingers to check).
If dough is too dry, add more liquid (water or coffee), ½ teaspoon at a time. If you overdo it on the liquid, add more coconut or quinoa flakes, ½ teaspoon at a time, until mixture reaches desired consistency.
Shape dough into approximately twenty balls, about ¾ inch in size, and roll in white or pink coconut.
For gifting package them in some of those little boxes you’ve been saving for ever, knowing you’d need them one day, with mini muffin pan liners to separate the truffles.
Store the ones you’re planning to devour yourself in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Makes about 20 guilt-free truffles.
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