Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Truffles (vegan, gluten-free)

chocolate almond butter truffles

Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Truffles are one of my favorite desserts for dinner parties and holiday get togethers, as they are vegan and gluten-free, paleo friendly (if you use a very dark chocolate), and they are super cute arranged in little cupcake tins on a colorful platter. You can also box them up in little gift boxes to give for gifts. Just make sure to refrigerate the truffles until it’s time to gift them.

Get creative with coatings for your truffles– I use toasted almonds and cocoa here, but you can try any of the following:

  • chopped toasted pistachios
  • dried lavender flowers (see image below)
  • dried rose petals (make sure they are the edible variety found with bulk teas)
  • shredded unsweetened coconut
  • chopped roasted peanuts
  • carob powder (the combination of cocoa truffles and carob coating is great!)

truffles with lavender budsIn the recipe instructions, you’ll see that you need to work quickly when forming the truffle balls, using your fingertips, at least until coated with cocoa/almonds. Do not try rolling truffles in the palm of your hand, or they will melt! Otherwise they are really simple to make.

You’ll need to set aside some time for the truffle mixture to set in the refrigerator before forming them into balls, perhaps an hour or so. If you need to leave them longer than that and the mixture gets hard, no worries, just set out at room temperature for 30-45 minutes and they should be ready to roll.

Chocolate Almond Butter Truffles (vegan, gluten-free)
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (fair trade recommended)
  • 6 tablespoons smooth, roasted almond butter
  • 4 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • generous pinch unrefined sea salt or Himalayan salt
  • ½ cup blanched almonds, toasted and chopped finely
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder, sifted (fair trade recommended)
  • 24 mini baking cups
Instructions
  1. In a double boiler or saucepan with heavy bottom, gently melt chocolate being careful not to burn or introduce any water into the chocolate. Stir with wooden spoon, heat-proof spatula, or whisk until almost melted, then turn off heat and let sit until completely melted.
  2. In pot or separate bowl, add almond butter, coconut oil, vanilla and almond extracts, and salt. Mix until smooth and transfer to a glass or metal bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool and firm to the touch.
  3. Meanwhile, set out two bowls— one with almonds and one with cocoa.
  4. Using a melon baller or small rounded metal teaspoon, scoop out balls of the chocolate mixture. Working quickly (without rolling between warm hands), roll 2-3 chocolate balls at a time in either cocoa or almond mixture. You may want to coat half of the balls in each for variety. Once chocolate balls are coated, you can form into neater balls with clean, dry hands if needed.
  5. Place each truffle in a mini baking cup and place on a plate or platter, alternating almond-coated and cocoa-coated truffles around the platter.

Chocolate almond truffles recipe card
Print recipe card for your friends for the holidays!

Check out my upcoming Austin cooking classes here.

Happy holidays!

Winter Fruit Salad with Pomegranate and Coconut

Over New Year’s I was invited to brunch. With the weather being super cold (for Austin), I thought about making a soup, a pot of beans, or something warm! But the hostess asked if I could bring fruit… my hopes were dashed! My mind went to baked apples or apple crisp, but I wasn’t feeling inspired. Then I noticed the shiny red pomegranate in the fruit bowl that I had meant to use over the holidays. The idea was born for making a winter fruit salad with pomegranate, using fruits that are in season all winter.

I ended up with a combination of apples (3 varieties), pears, citrus, and pomegranate. The first time I made it I used Satsuma tangerines (a little bigger and easier to peel than clementines), but in the photos here (I made it again a week later) I used some delicious heirloom navel oranges.

For some added texture and sweetness, I added a handful of unsweetened, shredded coconut. Not exactly “seasonal or local” but easy to find in the stores around the holidays. I used the Trader Joe’s brand which I had bought for holiday baking (which never happened) and was surprised at how fresh and delicious is was. I’m actually thinking about making some coconut milk with the rest of it because it seems super fresh and sweet (although no added sugar).

 

Winter Fruit Salad with Pomegranate and Coconut
 
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This fruit salad is fun to make around the winter holidays when pomegranates are big, beautiful, and juicy. Use different kinds of apples and pears if you can find them to enjoy the different colors and flavors they impart.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert or Salad
Serves: 12 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 apples (different colors and varieties)
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tablespoons spring or filtered water
  • 2 pears, medium ripe
  • 2 Satsuma tangerines, clementines, or navel oranges
  • seeds of one pomegranate
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • ½ cup shredded, unsweetened coconut, plus more for garnishing
Instructions
  1. Slice apples and pears into bite-sized pieces. They can be thin slices or chunks, depending on your preference. Place sliced fruit into a large glass bowl and drizzle with lemon juice and water. Toss together to coat apples and pears, then drain before fruits release their own juices. This will ensure that apples and pears do not brown.
  2. Peel tangerines and peel into sections. Add to fruit bowl.
  3. Remove seeds from pomegranate by cutting pomegranate in half and tapping the back of the pomegranate with a large wooden spoon until seeds fall into a large bowl. Remove remaining seeds gently with your hands and take out any pith that went into the bowl. Add seeds to the fruit bowl.
  4. Toss with maple syrup and/or cinnamon, if desired. The salad is great on its own, but has a sweeter taste with the maple syrup and/or cinnamon.
  5. Add shredded coconut and toss together gently.
  6. When serving the salad, top with some additional coconut.

Read moreWinter Fruit Salad with Pomegranate and Coconut

Chocolate Coco Truffles

This recipe was inspired by my floral designer friend Amanda, who makes everything beautiful!

One year my daughter and I made these as holiday gifts for her teachers and garnished them with tiny basil flowers.

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You can also roll the truffles in cocoa, cacao, or carob powder or finely chopped nuts (like pistachios) instead of coconut flakes, as pictured in the cover image.

Chocolate Coco Truffles
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Raw
Serves: 12 truffles
Ingredients
  • 1 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped and packed
  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cacao powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened fine coconut flakes
  • extra coconut flakes, for rolling the truffles
Instructions
  1. Place the dates in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Strain the dates from the hot water (reserving liquid) and place in food processor along with chocolate chips and coconut oil. Pulse the ingredients until smooth. Add a little of the soaking liquid only if needed to blend.
  3. Sift the cacao powder into the medium mixing bowl and add coconut flakes.
  4. Scrape date mixture into the bowl with the coconut mixture. Using a spatula, fold ingredients together until well combined. Cover bowl and refrigerate 30-60 minutes.
  5. Once the mixture is cold, roll into balls working quickly so the chocolate does not melt and roll evenly in the remaining coconut.
Variations
  1. Roll truffles in sifted cocoa, cacao, or carob or finely chopped nuts insead of coconut flakes.
  2. Place rolled truffles in an airtight container in refrigerator to set.

 

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Enjoy making these treats for your friends and family this holiday season!

Almond-Orange Biscotti with Chocolate Drizzle

Make these for your next gathering of friends and family. Kids and adults will love them!

This recipe has been a hit when macrobiotic teacher and counselor David Briscoe teaches his “Macro-Vegan Italian Buffet” class to the professional students at The Natural Epicurean several times a year.

Almond-Orange Biscotti with Chocolate Drizzle
 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons flax seed meal (ground flax seed)
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1½ cups Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1¾ cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 6 tablespoons coconut spread
  • ¾ cup maple sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • ¼ teaspoon orange extract
  • zest of 1 orange
  • ½ cup gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened coconut milk, almond milk, or soymilk (room temperature)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Make 2 “flax eggs” by combining flax seed meal and water in a small bowl. Let sit for 5-10 minutes or until mixture is thick.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together gluten-free flour, almond flour, and baking powder. Add toasted, chopped almonds.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together coconut spread and maple syrup until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla, almond, and orange extracts, orange zest, and flax eggs. Stir to combine well.
  5. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and combine well by hand.
  6. Separate the dough into 2 halves. Using your hands, form 2 logs, each about 4 by 10 inches. Place each log on prepared cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven, slice into ovals about an inch thick, place back onto cookie sheet, and bake again for 10-12 minutes. Cool biscotti on cooking rack.
  8. Melt chocolate chips in a saucepan over very low heat with milk. When chips start to melt, remove from heat and whisk until smooth. While still warm, pour melted chocolate into small squeeze bottle (or Ziplock bag with a tiny piece of the corner cut off) and drizzle onto cooled biscotti. Work fast so that chocolate does not cool and become hard.
  9. Alternately, biscotti can be dipped into melted chocolate and coated with extra toasted almonds.

 

Gluten Free and Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

My daughter Isabel and I made our first cooking video together a few weeks ago. Well, actually, my daughter invited me to come do a video with her for her Curly Girl youtube channel. We decided to make Gluten Free and Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies because they are such a delicious treat, especially for people on gluten-free or vegan diets. I have been on a gluten-free diet for many years and appreciate finding recipes that are simple, tasty, and healthy.

vegan Choc Chip cookies-3

We used Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose flour to make our cookies, but we have also had success using plain brown rice flour or other gluten-free all-purpose flour mixes. I like Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose flour because it does not contain xanthan gum, which is known to be an intestinal irritant. The ingredients in this mix include: garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, whole grain sweet white sorghum flour, and fava bean flour. Because of the bean flours in the mix, it tastes unpleasant before it has been cooked, so don’t try eating the cookie dough before it is baked!

Gluten Free and Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
 
These cookies are perfect for the occasional treat for someone who is on a gluten free and/or vegan diet.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2 dozen cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon flax seed meal (ground flax seed)
  • 2 ½ tablespoons water
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (such as Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl or cup, mix together flax seed meal and water. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, or until the mixture has the consistency of a beaten egg. This is your “flax egg.”
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together coconut oil, almond or cashew butter, maple syrup or agave nectar, and vanilla extract. Add “flax egg” and mix to combine.
  3. In a larger bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and sea salt.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients in the larger bowl. Mix until smooth with a wooden spoon. Add chocolate chips. Batter will be sticky.
  5. Transfer dough onto 1 or 2 sheets of wax paper or parchment paper. Fold paper over the dough to make cookie dough “logs.” Put the logs into the freezer for about 15-20 minutes, or until dough has become firm.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  7. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of dough at a time onto the cookie sheet and form into round cookie shapes, leaving about an inch of space between cookies. These cookies will not flatten out a huge amount, so you can flatten them a little before baking them.
  8. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies begin to flatten and are golden brown on the bottom.
  9. Remove cookies with a spatula onto a plate and serve warm.
Notes
  1. Leftover cookie dough can be wrapped up well and stored in the freezer for up to a month and taken out as needed to make a sheet of cookies.

These cookies don’t spread out as much as normal cookies do, so be sure to flatten them out a bit before baking.

vegan Choc Chip cookies-5

These cookies go great with a glass of almond milk or coconut milk!

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Kid-approved! Please check out the video on Isabel’s Curly Girl channel.