In pursuit of sugar-free happiness, I have been experimenting with some concoctions for “sweet” treats. They have proven to be quite successful (especially at our Tasty Tuesday evenings!). So, I thought I’d share these unrefined “recipes”, which definitely require and allow for a spoonful of creativity here and there.
Coconut date truffles
I have seen (and tasted) many variations of these cocoa/date balls, but started experimenting with my own sugar-free recipe a little while ago. Very easy to make, although a little time consuming (due to the rolling) but definitely worth it!
The bare necessities:
- 1.5 cups dried dates
- 3 tbsp coconut oil/butter
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 cup cocoa (raw cacao is even better)
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
The additions: Lightly roasted sesame seeds, toasted coconut, walnuts, cranberries.
- Chop the dates and just cover with warm water. Leave them to soak for a little while (30-60 min) so that they soften. I discovered this trick the second time I made them and saved myself a lot of time trying to squish hard, dry dates with a fork.
- Once the dates are soft, drain the water.
- Soften the butter and coconut butter in the microwave (but don’t melt otherwise it becomes too sticky and soft to roll into balls).
- Add the butter mixture, cocoa, vanilla essence and coconut to the dates and mix.
- At this stage, if you have a blender, you can just whiz it up to get a smooth consistency. But if you don’t, such as me, then use a fork to ‘mush’ (for want of a better word) everything together until it looks like the dark mixture in the bottom photo on the left. It doesn’t matter if it’s not completely smooth and there are chunks of date – gives some texture!
- Then, just roll spoonfuls of the mixture into balls (note: hands will get very chocolaty!).
- At this stage you can get creative with your own variations. My favourite is to roll them in some lightly toasted sesame seeds. Or to add some chopped walnuts to the mix before rolling. A combination of both of these laid out in a pattern on a plate looks quite impressive!
- Make sure to store them in the fridge so that they don’t become sticky due to the butter.
Whilst making, eating or even thinking about making or eating fat bombs, I will always have Tom Jones’ deep, husky voice in my head, as whenever I bring these out of the freezer as a treat, a certain someone in my life starts singing “Fat bomb, fat bomb, you’re my fat bomb”! If you’re still not sure of the link, or need some background music, click here.
My mother first introduced me to fat bombs, and they weren’t at all what I was expecting. They literally are little bombs of fat (ie. butter, coconut oil and cacao) made in moulds and kept frozen. Perfectly bite-sized, as a quick snack, a treat when you get home late, or a coffee-accompaniment after a fulling meal.
I don’t have any set “recipe” for my fat bombs as they are really simple and you actually just can’t go wrong. Also, with some variation in my quantities each time, they always turn out a little different, which is fun. The best part about fat bombs though is how creative you can be with what you add in to the fat bomb base.
You will need all of the following:
- coconut oil
- cacao powder
- vanilla essence or xylitol
- chocolate moulds (the silicone trays with small moulds are best)
I melt a block of butter and a few table spoons of coconut oil together in a saucepan (roughly equal quantities). Once melted, add cacao powder in similar amounts to the butter (although the more the better!) and stir together. I then often add a teaspoon of vanilla essence or xylitol (find out here if you don’t know what xylitol is). Then the fun begins! Plain fat bombs are richly delicious, but it’s also great to have a variety. Below are some ideas of what to add to the moulds before pouring in the melted cacao mixture:
- almonds, macadamias or walnuts
- cranberries, goji berries or pieces of apricot
- cacao nibs
- coffee beans
- desiccated coconut
And then you can also spice up the melted cacao mixture by stirring in a bit of amarula, coffee liqueur, cream (for a more dairy milk fat bomb), even pepermint essence (which I haven’t tried yet, but my mother uses often).
My top 3 combinations are:
- coffee beans with amarula-infused mixture
- a bit of macadamia butter (not the nuts, but the butter) added to each mould and then pour in the plain cacao mixture which gives an impressive marble appearance – a definite favourite with others!
- almonds and cranberries
Once the moulds are fill, put them in the freezer to set (a tip from me to you is to put the tray on a chopping board before filling the moulds, especially if you are using floppy silicone moulds, so that they are easy to transfer to the freezer without spilling. Pop them out later and do some quality control tasting before storing them in a container back in the freezer for later. I’ve yet to try some of the “Lindt-inspired” combinations such as adding a bit of chili or rock salt. Lots more opportunities for experimentation!