Thursday, April 4, 2013

truffles in a small bowl

A Tiny Bowl of Truffles

At some point over the winter I ran across a great website called that has recipes for things to make and take with you camping. I like camping as much as the next person (depending of course on how much the next person likes camping), but it’s not something I do very often. The appeal for me of the site is not that it gives recipes specifically for outdoor activities, but that it gives recipes for things that can be made ahead of time and easily taken with you. Think of an eight-hour shift at work as a camping trip and you’ll see where I’m going with this.

I haven’t tried any of the make-your-own dried mixes yet, though I found many of them intriguing. The main thing that interested me were the recipes for healthy snack-type foods. You can’t eat a lot of crap when you’re out hiking, you won’t make it, so most of the snacks involved nuts and fruit and other whole foods. And also they don’t require refrigeration (obviously) and are easy to pack and carry with you.

I did food for the March Third Friday opening at The Scrap Exchange, and the show for the month was an installation by Elsewhere artists from Greensboro. For the opening, they did a live cooking show. They were highlighting foraged and fermented foods (mushrooms, sourdough, kimchi, etc.), so I decided we should have some raw food snacks, and I remembered the Trail Cooking site.

I picked raisin almond bars, which are extremely simple, and nut butter truffles, which looked similar to a peanut butter candy recipe that I make and like very much.

I was planning on splurging and getting cashew butter, even though it costs an arm and a leg, but I started to have second thoughts when actually faced with the SEVEN DOLLAR price tag. But then I took a deep breath and decided it was for a good cause and got it. And I also got peanut butter. And I continued to have reservations about using the seven dollar cashew butter and thought about just doing the peanut butter ones and returning the cashew butter but eventually I overcame my fear of seven dollar nut butter and decided to just Use It.

The original recipe is called Easy Nut and Chocolate Truffles and that is no joke, these are easy. And they are good.

It calls for 1/2 cup of nut butter, 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder, 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons of mini chocolate chips, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. You mix everything together and then scoop out balls and roll the balls in a coating of your choice.

I made two versions.

The budget version had peanut butter, regular cocoa powder, a combination of white sugar, brown sugar, and honey for sweetener, regular-size milk chocolate chips that I chopped up to make closer to mini chocolate chip size, and vanilla extract. I rolled them in unsweetened shredded coconut.

The deluxe version had cashew butter, a combination of regular cocoa powder and dark cocoa powder (Valrhona) that I had left over from the Baked brownies I made over the holidays (which were truly divine — and the spiced version from Smitten Kitchen were even better), the same brown sugar/white sugar/honey combination for sweetener, chopped chocolate chips, and vanilla extract. Then I mixed some of the dark cocoa powder with vanilla sugar that I make by putting the husks of vanilla beans (what’s left after I scrape out the seeds to make vanilla extract) in a small plastic container with granulated sugar and let sit forever.

The budget version was good, the deluxe version was really good.

But what I decided was needed was a super deluxe version. So I made those next. And those were the best yet — richer but much less sweet.

Here’s the recipe:

Cocoa Cashew Truffles

1/2 cup cashew butter
1 T dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T sugar
1-2 T brown sugar
1 T honey
1 tsp instant espresso powder (optional)
2 T chopped bittersweet chocolate (60%-70% cacao) or milk chocolate

For coating
1-2 tsp dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1-2 T vanilla sugar

Combine the first eight ingredients in a bowl and stir until all is combined and the cocoa/chocolate/sweeteners are all evenly distributed. Taste and add more sweetener if you’d like a sweeter confection.

Mix the cocoa powder and vanilla sugar together and put in small, shallow bowl or plate.

Scoop out using a tablespoon or other small scoop (I used a 2 tablespoon coffee scoop) and, using your hands, roll into a ball. Roll the ball around in the cocoa/sugar mixture to coat.

Share with people you like. Or keep and eat all for yourself. No one will know.

5 Responses to “Truffles”

  1. yonderlight Says:

    Holy savings! Please unleaven me and let me shop!
    This is one of my favorite times of year to shop at my closest grocery store, Kroger. Why? Because the Kosher food for Passover food is 80%- 90% off. Pesach may be past but a can of gluten-free macaroons for $ 1.31 with a fresh seal can not be passed over when I’m cruising the back aisles. Today I got a box of gluten-free Manischewitz chocolate cake mix for $ 1.70 as well as gluten-free egg noodles for $ 1.20, and a big bottle of blessed grape juice for under $2 that can not be beat.The standards applied to make the food pavre and even more strictly “kosher for passover” make me feel good about the quality of the product, normally I wouldn’t trust a cake mix for 1.70 and a gluten-free would make me seriously suspicious.
    I’m going to empty my change jar tomorrow and head back to soak up the savings. I’ll be “gleaning” the post-passover product rack before its all gone in a few weeks. Technically strict Jewish law prohibits “gleaning” at least in the fields after the harvest, it was left for the very poor. Personally, I feel qualified these days. I also appreciate the law that says growing fields should be left to fallow once every seven years, rest on the 7th year- its good for the land- I don’t know how many Orthodox farmers actually observe this but it makes good soil sense. There are a lot of glutenous things and flat bread at rock bottom prices too, and shabbos candles for .46 a box. L’chaim!

  2. All three versions sound delicious! So rich and decadent. I’m surprised that you found the recipe on a camping blog — we always took GORP and easy cheese when we roughed it in the woods — but I’d love to take another trip with your three batches of truffles instead!

  3. carrie Says:

    Another bunch of hiking-energy-type recipes.

  4. carrie Says:

    And these:

    I made one of the Catherine Newman ones and it was good. Kids refused to eat it, of course.

    And this for your friend buying matzoh at 90% off…

  5. lessisenough Says:

    Wow, those apricot truffle ones look great. I was looking through some old cookbooks recently and ran across my Aunt Blanche’s recipe for chocolate-covered figs, which I had completely forgotten about but remembered how much I loved those when I saw the recipe. I think dried fruit and chocolate is just a really good combination.

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