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!

Mineral-Rich Energy Bars (V, GF)

Creating a nutrient-dense, delicious energy bar

This month I started a new yoga program and realized I needed to make some nutrient-dense snacks to take with me. I remembered Jessica Porter’s classic recipe for Crispy Brown Rice Bars (a healthy, macrobiotic version of Rice Crispy Treats), but wanted to add some extra goodies to make them more hearty, like: 

  -pumpkin seeds or pepitas (high in potassium, iron, magnesium, and zinc)

  -unhulled sesame seeds (high in copper, manganese, magnesium, calcium, and more)

  –dulse flakes (high in iodine, protein, Vitamins B6 & B12, and more)- one of my favorite foods

  -almond butter (high in protein, fat, magnesium, calcium, and potassium)

These mineral-rich energy bars are good for boosting the thyroid, building bone density, or for anyone feeling depleted that needs more minerals.

Choosing the right brand of brown rice syrup makes a difference

Make an effort to find the special brown rice syrup I recommend in the recipe— Suzanne’s Specialties Genmai Rice Nectar. It is available online and in various natural foods stores. (I used to be able to buy it in Austin but now I have to order online.) It is much more clean tasting and delicious than other brown rice syrups (such as the Lundberg brand which is more bitter), as it is made through natural fermentation rather than a chemical process. You could try making this recipe with another sweetener, but you may need to adjust the other ingredients due to viscosity and sweetness (honey is much sweeter, maple syrup may be a little too thin to hold the bar together).

Mineral Rich Energy Bars (V, GF)
 
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These no-bake energy bars are the perfect post-workout or lunchbox snack. They are packed with nutrients including complex carbohydrates, protein, fat, and many trace minerals.
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12 bars
Ingredients
  • ½ cup organic brown rice syrup (Suzanne’s Specialties Genmai Rice Nectar recommmended)
  • ⅓ cup organic almond butter
  • a few grinds Himalayan sea salt or a large pinch sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon virgin coconut oil (optional)
  • 1½ cups crispy brown rice cereal (One Degree or Erewhon brands recommended)
  • ½ cup organic green pumpkin seeds (pepitas), toasted
  • ¼ cup organic raisins
  • 1 tablespoon dulse flakes
  • 1 tablespoon unhulled sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 piece parchment paper
Instructions
  1. In heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat brown rice syrup, almond butter, and salt over low to medium heat until bubbly and well combined. Remove from heat and stir in coconut oil if the mixture is too thick (depends on the brand of syrup you use).
  2. Add cereal, pepeitas, raisins, and dulse flakes to the almond butter mixture and fold in until well combined using a heat-proof rubber spatula or wooden spoon coated with a little coconut oil.
  3. Lay piece of parchment paper on a flat surface (large cutting board or countertop).
  4. When mixture has cooled to the point you can handle it without getting burned, and turn mixture onto parchment paper. Moisten fingertips with a little water, and press down into an even layer, about ½-inch thick. Sprinkle evenly with sesame seeds and lightly press down.
  5. Using a sharp chef knife, cut into bars or squares.
  6. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days or refrigerate if storing more than a few days.

Be creative!

Be creative and try different combinations with what you have on hand. Some other ideas for add-ins to replace pepitas, raisins, dulse, and sesame seeds: sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, coconut flakes, slivered almonds, candied ginger, or chocolate chips (freeze ahead and make sure mixture is cool before pressing into the bars). You could also try tahini (sesame butter) in place of almond butter. 

Interested in learning more? I’m offering healthy cooking classes in Austin this fall/winter. For class descriptions and registration information, click here.

And please drop me a line to let me know how your bars came out!

 

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!

vegan Choc Chip cookies-6vegan Choc Chip cookies-7

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