Cocoa Date-Nut Truffles: A Sweet Deception

Posted on 13 February 2016

Deep dark chocolate truffles with flecks of walnut and hazelnut feel so much like a naughty indulgence that you’ll catch yourself stealing them when nobody’s looking. But why? They are entirely fruit and nuts, without any added sugar or cream. These wholesome concoctions play such a trick on our confection detectors that this recipephany may be more appropriate for April Fool’s Day than Valentine’s Day.

The idea for these truffles came from my sister-in-law Sheila. A few years ago she brought us some soft and creamy Medjool dates and a recipe for turning them into no-bake vegan brownies. We mixed up a batch, rolled them into balls and called them “Cocoa Medjools.” I’ve embellished the recipe, but I would never dare tamper with its magic formula. Throw minimal ingredients into the food processor or blender, and minutes later you have hand-crafted heirloom-quality artisanal chocolate truffles infused with the complex sweetness of dates. And go ahead, sneak as many as you want.

Cocoa Date-Nut Truffles

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • ½ cup roasted hazelnuts
  • Dash salt
  • 1¼ cup soft pitted dates, either Medjool or Beglet Noor*
  • 1/3- ½ cup cocoa, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon Triple Sec (optional)
  • Additional ground hazelnuts and/or grated chocolate

Process walnuts, hazelnuts and salt until ground. Add dates and process until mixture sticks together. Add cocoa powder and vanilla (and Triple Sec if using) and mix until blended. Add a tiny bit of water if too dry. Roll into balls. Roll in ground nuts and/or grated chocolate. Refrigerate.

*If using drier dates, soak them in water to soften and squeeze out excess.

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