Between work, singing and this allegedly-healthy global walking challenge, I seem to be in a constant state of exhaustion at present, which is not conducive to blog posts. It doesn’t help that I’m so tired I’m actually following recipes at the moment… However, I have a big excursion planned tomorrow for my walking team – we’re going to leave work at 3:30 and walk 13 kms to Williamstown, and then go on a Ghost Tour after dinner. My team is, in fact, the slowest of the three teams at work, but we are also the coolest, because we do outings! And surely that’s what really counts?
I’ve planned this outing in ridiculous detail – 8 weeks into the challenge, a lot of us are flagging or have minor injuries, so not only have I planned a very precise route, I have arranged it so that every kilometre or two, we get within shouting distance of a railway station or a bus stop, to allow anyone who needs it to ride the rest of the way.
And, of course, I am providing snacks – healthy, energy-giving snacks, to speed us on our way. I recently made Almost Vegan’s Five Minute Blondies with Hannah’s Raw Chocolate Icing (with avocado!), which were awesome, but a bit messy for my purposes, so I turned the blondies into truffles, and added a bit of ginger and cinnamon to suit their caramel goodness. But I couldn’t stop at one recipe, and I had leftover dried figs and dried apricots from a pilaf yesterday, and hazelnuts and pistachios also hanging around the house, and raw cacao, and before I knew it, I had two recipes on my hand.
Herewith, before I fall asleep on my keyboard, Nearly Raw Chocolate, Hazelnut and Fig Truffles and Raw Apricot, Orange and Pistachio Truffles. The chocolatey ones are kind of amazing – I didn’t think they tasted very chocolatey, but the chocolate sort of creeps up on you – you taste it for several minutes after you have one. The apricot truffles are a lot like those little apricot delight squares they used to sell at the canteen at my primary school, but with pistachios and orange-flower water giving them a lovely, perfumed flavour. And they are so healthy! Ish…
Your Shopping List for Hazelnut, Chocolate and Fig Truffles
Your Shopping List for Apricot and Pistachio Truffles300 g dried apricots (the soft kind work better) zest of 1 orange 50 g pistachios 1/2 teaspoon of orange flower water
You could roll the hazelnut and chocolate truffles in cocoa powder, if you liked. And, while it seems a pity to spoil the middle-eastern nature of the apricot ones, by doing this, you could roll them in coconut. Or dip them in white chocolate and the others in dark chocolate, which point you’ve pretty much admitted that you aren’t trying to be health-foody any more.
Now what will you do with it?
This is so ridiculously easy. For the chocolate and hazelnut balls, blitz the hazelnuts and cacao powder in a food processor until finely ground, then add the dried figs and maple syrup until everything comes together into a ball. Chop the chocolate, and either add to the food processor (which will grind the chocolate quite finely if you aren’t careful) or knead into the mixture with your hands. (Do take it out of the food processor first. And if you would rather not alarm your significant other, it’s probably a good plan to turn off the food processor at the wall before sticking your hands into it to get out the truffle mixture (Andrew is so sensitive…).
For the apricot balls, blitz the dried apricots until they are finely chopped and beginning to come together. This will take ages, but perservere. Add the orange zest, orange flower water and pistachios and blitz to combine (or chop the pistachios coarsely and mix in by hand at the end). A little cardamom would also be nice here.
Roll whichever mixture you are making into small balls, and refrigerate. Eat, happily. Possibly while making the other mixture.
First, let’s all just pat ourselves on the backs, because these truffles are vegan, gluten-free and low GI. But not nut-free or low fructose, alas, and in the case of the fructose, you pretty much have to skip this recipe entirely. You can swap out nuts for things like rolled oats, cacao nibs or biscuit crumbs, or, for the apricot ones, shredded coconut, but these really are designed to be glued together with fruit and made sufficiently un-sticky to eat with nuts.
But! You can vary the combinations of fruit and nuts pretty much infinitely! This is what makes it so awesome! Seriously, think of any dried fruit and nut combination you like, and it will probably work – it’s just a matter of adding things to the food processor until you get a consistency you like, and then adjusting the flavour with spices, liqueurs, pieces of glacé fruit, chocolate, carob powder, or different sweeteners like honey, agave nectar or the syrup from glacé ginger. The world is your oyster, really. Rolled oats do grind down quite well here, if you want to make your mixture less sticky (and even lower GI). Macadamias are great for a buttery flavour, especially combined with dates. I do recommend looking at the Raw section of Wayfaring Chocolate for more inspiration from Hannah.
But really, this whole concept is just begging to be played with creatively. And what do you have to lose?
This time last year…Recipe: Tropical Chocolate and Amaranth Cake Learning about Vegetables Vegan Marshmallow Attempt #2 Recipe: Sfoof! Turmeric and Semolina Cake