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Bitter-Sweet Vegan Chocolate Truffles

If you follow me on instagram, you would have seen some experimenting going on in my kitchen last night. I was working on a healthier version of the sweet potato chocolate truffles I made earlier this year. The older version was a a bit of a cheat as it used chocolate, which had processed sugar and some milk solids in it. They were delicious and I don’t mind eating chocolate as a treat but  I wanted to challenge myself to make a true vegan and paleo version. I guess just to see if I could but also, of course, for the health benefits. I didn’t use any recipes so this was a true experiment! You can use the ganache` mixture to make truffles or as icing for a cake, like my paleo chocolate cake. For this deliouse ganache`  I used cacao butter, cocoa, dates, coconut flour and sweet potato and boy are the truffles made from it delicious! A great addition to the end of a meal or to accompany a coffee, tea or a nice glass of full-bodied red wine. I hope you enjoy them.

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Recipe

Ingredients

1 medium sweet potato

120 g raw cacao butter

4 tbsp cocoa, plus about 1 cup extra for rolling the truffles in

3 medjool dates, roughly chopped

1 tbsp coconut flour

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Bake sweet potato whole with skin on for 30-40 minutes or until it is soft and squishy to touch. Set aside to cool enough for you to peel it.

2. Place cacao butter in glass or metal bowl set over a small pot of boiling water and melt gently. Once it is melted, whisk in the cocoa.

3. Peel the sweet potato and place the flesh in a food processor with the dates. Pulse a couple of times to combine. Add the warm cacao butter mixture and pulse to combine.

4. Pour mixture out into a medium mixing bowl and sprinkle over the coconut flour. Mix together and if using as icing on a cake spread over the cooled cake. If using for truffles, set aside for 10-15 minutes to cool and start to set.

5. To make the truffles, place the remaining cocoa on a plate for rolling the truffles in. Roll the truffles into small bite sized balls and then roll in the cocoa. Place in a container or on a plate large enough to let all the truffles sit flat. Leave covered in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set.

6. Serve straight from the fridge with your chosen beverage or as a dessert plate with some bliss balls.

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Vegan Lime and Mango Cheeze Cake

This dessert is raw, vegan and paleo as it is based predominantly of nuts with no cheese, processed sugar or dairy in sight. The base is made with a combination of nuts and sweet dates to stick them together while the filling is made from cashew nuts blended to create a beautifully smooth paste that takes on the flavours of lime and coconut perfectly. Diets aside though, this is a truly delicious cake that has been boyfriend and kid approved, so you don’t have to save this for those following a diet. Serve it to anyone and I guarantee they will be impressed.

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Recipe

Ingredients

Base

8 medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped

2/3 cup walnuts (Activated* are ideal)

1/3 cup almonds (Activated are ideal)

1/4 cup shredded coconut

pinch celtic sea salt

Filling

3 cups cashews

3/4 cup coconut nectar

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice ( I used 5 but this will vary according to how juicy they are)

3/4 cup coconut oil

Topping

2 fresh mangoes, flesh removed (you could also use defrosted frozen mango)

lime juice and coconut nectar, to taste

1/3 cup shredded coconut

1 lime, zest finely grated

To serve

1 fresh mango, peeled and flesh thinly sliced

coconut ice cream

Method

1. Grease and line a 25cm round springform cake tin.

2. For the base, place the walnuts, almonds and coconut in the food processor and pulse until resembles the texture of bread crumbs. Add dates and pulse until well combined. Press into the base and place in the freezer while you make the filling.

3. For the filling, wash the food processor and add all the filling ingredients. Pulse at high-speed until smooth and creamy. Pour onto the base layer and spread out evenly. Return to the freezer to set firm enough to pour over the topping.

4. In a blender, blend the mango and add the lime and coconut nectar to taste. You won’t need much so add each in small amounts until you reach the right balance of sweet and tangy. Pour over set filling layer and spread evenly. Sprinkle over the coconut and lime zest and return to freezer to set for at least 4 hours.

5. To serve, remove from freezer to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Use a sharp hot knife to cut slices of the cake. You can heat the knife by placing it under hot running water. Do this between each slice. Serve with fresh mango slices and small scoop of coconut ice cream.

* Activated nuts have been soaked in water over night to activate the digestive inhibitor and then dried out at a very low temperature to retain their nutrients. For this reason they are considered to be more nutritious and easier to digest. You can find them at all good health food stores.

Recipe adapted from www.taste.com.au

Apricot and Coconut Bliss Balls

This recipe comes straight from the cookbook “wholefood for children” by the amazing wholefood chef Jude Blereau. This is a regular creation in my kitchen so I just had to share it with you. I’ve renamed them because they are absolutely bliss! But the recipe is exactly the same a Jude’s. These bliss balls are best eaten nice and cold and are a great afternoon pick-me-up or a nice addition to a sweets plate for a party. I usually make a combined tasting plate of these with my paleo chocolate cake and sweet ‘chocato’ truffles. The only sugar in these balls of bliss come from the dates and apricots, and the fat from the coconut fills you up and gives you slow released energy too so you don’t get that crash like you would from a processed sweet. Dates and apricots also provide you with a variety of vitamins and minerals and are a good source of fibre all of which you would not get from a candy or a chocolate bar. So if you are going to have a sweet treat try these little balls of bliss!

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Recipe

Ingredients

95 g dried apricots (preferably sulphur-free), roughly chopped

55 g dates, pitted and roughly chopped

185 gr coconut butter* (spread)

1 tbsp coconut oil, melted, if required

25 g desiccated coconut

Method

1. Process the apricots in the food processor until they are finely chopped and beginning to come together.

2. Add the dates and coconut butter and process until combined.

3. Scrape down the sides, if needed and continue to pulse again. If the mixture does not come together, add the coconut oil and pulse again.

4. Roll mixture into small balls and then roll them in the coconut and place on plate.

5. Leave in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.

6. The balls will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

*Coconut butter is the coconut flesh ground into a paste. It is also sometimes called coconut manna. Do not mistake coconut oil for the coconut butter you need for this recipe, as some coconut oils call themselves ‘butter’. You must use the true coconut butter made with the whole flesh in this recipe, otherwise the balls will fall apart. So make sure you check the ingredients that it is made with the whole coconut flesh.

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