Sunday, July 15, 2012

Basic & Easy Chocolate Truffles with Goat Cheese (Make them latte, banana-rum, cinnamon, or just plain flavored!)

So I'm back from my 3 month vacation to the US, hence the long hiatus in my blog. While back, I discovered The Fresh Market had opened up right in my town, across from Trader Joe's. The Fresh Market has officially replaced TJ's as my favorite grocery store (although TJ's is still a close second! And I just love the people who work there!). I also went to the beach a couple times, laid out for hours and got a tan that will last me for the rest of the year. On my last night there, my besties and sister gorged ourselves silly on crabs. Can't leave Baltimore without picking crabs smothered in Old Bay! Anyway, it felt so great to be back home with friends and family, but now I'm back and ready to share some more recipes!

These truffles are something I've been making for awhile now. I've seen a lot of recipes out there for raw brownies / truffles using dates as the sweetener, but most of them use a good bit of ground nuts, or melted chocolate, or heavy cream. Which is great, there's nothing wrong with using those ingredients. However, I try not to consume too many nuts for the sake of my omega 6:3 ratios. And sometimes (okay, most of the time) I just don't feel like setting up a double boiler to melt some chocolate. Also if I'm going to eat dark chocolate, I like to slowly savor a piece of 99%+ in my mouth, letting it melt as I bask in hedonistic joy, and then wash it down with a glass of red wine.

I got the idea of using goat cheese with these truffles while looking for recipes using dried dates, since we had bought a whole bag of them. Saw some recipes for some goat cheese stuffed dates, and I figured goat cheese and dates were a good match. I wondered if I could incorporate goat cheese and dates in a raw truffle. Tried it out, and I was right! The truffles are pretty primal / paleo friendly, unless you aren't eating goat cheese. Here's Mark's stance on cheese. I allow myself some goat cheese from time to time. Dates are a high fructose food and high in sugar though (as most dried fruits are), so if you are in the middle of leaning out and trying to lose body fat, don't overdose on these!

This recipe is pretty simple, you can't really mess it up. But it tastes like a bona fide gourmet truffle. The goat cheese is what really gives it its depth of flavor and richness. You can't really taste the goat cheese, but you can taste hints of the distinctive tartness that goat cheese has. It melds together so wonderfully with the cocoa. The first time I made these, I just threw some chopped up dates in my magic bullet, eyeballed about a tablespoon of goat cheese, and kept throwing some cocoa powder in there until it had the consistency I was looking for. And really, I never measure anything out when I make these. I just add stuff here and there until it's just right. So for the recipe below, you can measure everything out to the exact tablespoon, or you can just eyeball it and add more of this and that until it's perfect. I like keeping my recipes nice and simple.

The recipe below is more like a base for the truffles. I've added different things and made many different variations of these, and all have turned out fantastic.


What you'll need:

  • Magic Bullet or food processor (I used my Magic Bullet)
  • ~ 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more in a little bowl for dusting
  • ~1-2 Tbsp Goat cheese
  • Dried medjool dates (about 13-14, coarsely chopped)
  • Optional: Chopped nuts (I used macadamia nuts) in a little bowl to cover the truffles
  • A little bit of cream, yogurt, or milk to soften up the paste if need be

  1. Place the dates, about 1 Tbsp of goat cheese, and half of the 1/4 cup of cocoa powder in your Magic Bullet / food processor. Pulse until a ball forms, or until it comes together and most of the dates aren't into chunks anymore. The consistency should be kind of mushy, but not too overly wet that you can't shape it into a small ball. If it's too sticky / wet, add more cocoa powder and pulse again until it's the right consistency. If it's too dry, add a tiny bit of cream / yogurt / milk. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides.
  2. Wet your hands, and depending on how big you want your truffles, take about 1/2 a Tbsp or 1 Tbsp of the mixture and roll it into a ball. Drop it in the small bowl of cocoa powder and shake the bowl around until the truffle is covered in the cocoa powder. You can also cover it in the chopped nuts instead. 
  3. Take the truffle out, and place on a plate or on wax paper. Repeat until you use up all the mixture. 
  4. Chill in the refrigerator for a couple hours until set.

There are so many different variations of these truffles that you can make. 
  • For a latte-esque truffle, add a bit of instant coffee powder, vanilla extract, cinnamon and ground cardamon.
  • Feeling in the mood for s'mores? Add some marshmallows to the mixture when you are pulsing, and roll the truffles around in crushed graham crackers. And how about Oreos? Rolling them around in crushed Oreos may be non-paleo, but definitely tasty. 
  • For a fancy adult treat, add a bit of mashed banana, dark rum, and roll the truffle around in flaked coconut.
The possibilities are endless. What truffles will you make?

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