Friday, February 07, 2014

Clean Truffles

Are you following Sochi YogurtGate? No? American athletes have lost access to their rightful yogurt, and an international diplomatic crisis has ensued. The proper paperwork was not filled out, it seems, and while the undelivered yogurt languishes in a storage facility, the heavens rain down a plague of locusts. Also the Obama administration has asked for special dispensation from the Russian agency Rosselkhoznadzor, which is the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance. (Western Mass. locals: is this the Russian-government branch of Dave’s Soda and Pet City?) Those American athletes really need their yogurt really badly! Because they can’t just live on the chicken fingers and plain buttered spaghetti they’re ordering off the children’s menu. You can hardly blame the Russians for rolling their eyes. (“We khev yogurt. Flavor borscht. Very nice, very healthy.”) The cold war is alive and well.

But oooh, we love the Olympics. Every two years we get cable TV for two weeks, and we all stay up every night, binge-watching. But how can the Olympics parents take it? I went to Birdy’s LEGO Robotics championship in December and had a pride-induced stroke just watching a bunch of geeky kids program their dorkmobiles.
Be my raw-foods valentine.
Anyhoo. (Transition alert.) Speaking of healthy snacks! Clean Truffles are simply a version of these raw energy bars, with a flavor profile a little more like Misery Bars. But they’re bite-sized. Because I’m a firm believer in portion psychology. Haul me up a "snack-size" portion in the dipper of a back hoe, and I will eat the whole thing with a shovel; likewise, show me one through the eyepiece of a microscope, and I will pop it in my mouth and rub my belly, satisfied. These truffles are, for me, the happy medium. A little burst of protein, with a nice, low glycemic index so you don’t get any of the spiking blood sugar. Plus, they're ridiculously tasty: fudgy and rich, with a little tart cherry relief from the date-y sweetness. It’s not the Patriotic American Greek Yogurt of Democracy. But it makes a pretty perfect snack for regular schoolkids.

Clean Truffles
Makes 15-20

You can vary the nuts and/or the fruit here (I have some combo ideas here), just keep the proportions more or less the same. Also, you could roll them in chopped nuts or more cocoa powder or nothing at all. If you choose the latter, then call them “Naked Raw Truffles” and see what happens.

3/4 cup raw almonds
1/3 cup dried unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3/4 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon coconut oil, or as necessary (optional)
More dried coconut for rolling

In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, grind the almonds with the coconut and cocoa powder until it’s all nice and finely ground, then tip it into a bowl. Now grind the dates and cherries until they turns into small clumps, then add the nut mixture back in with the extract and salt and process again until a small handful of the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. If this never happens, then add in a few more dates and/or the optional tablespoon of coconut oil; conversely, if the mixture seems too damp, add more almonds and/or dried coconut.

Now pull tablespoon-sized clumps of the mixture out of the bowl and roll them into balls. Then roll them in the coconut. This process more like building a sand castle than like, say, breading scallops. You will need to pick up the truffle inside a handful of coconut and really kind of roll and squeeze it to get the coconut to stick. Unless your truffles are supremely moist, and then maybe it will be more like breading scallops after all. (Mmmm. Scallops.)

Store the truffles airtight in the refrigerator.


  1. These look great, and thank you for posting the Energy Bars recipe! There are some great flavor combinations listed in the full text that didn't make it into the rewritten version.

  2. I just want you to know that I misread "breading" as "breeding" at the end there, and was trying to imagine in what possible metaphorical context making these raw truffle balls would be like breeding scallops. Even with the words "balls," "naked" and "moist" in close proximity, I was having trouble.

  3. Shiloh7:12 PM

    Definitely going to make these if I can find unsweetened dried cherries and dates. These sound like Larabars. A couple of weeks ago I made a somewhat similar version that involved a can of garbanzo beans. They tasted okay the first day, but then the beany flavor intensified and let's just say I won't be making Bean Balls again.

    Just a few minutes ago I told my husband that I feel kind of badly about all the mocking Russia is getting right now. I'm very tender hearted and don't like that kind of thing. That aside, just before I read your post, I also told my husband that I wished we had cable because I'd like to watch the Olympics!

  4. Anonymous8:52 AM

    We made these as a gift for a teacher who eats "clean" and they were a huge hit. Thank you so much!