I love the concept of 'healthier' desserts. They're something to satisfy the sweet tooth, but are made with wholesome ingredients. What's not to love, right?
Well, I also think it arguably depends on what they taste like - because if I said I prefer a slice of refined sugar-free/gluten-free/dairy-free/raw cake over regular gooey chocolate cake, I'd be totally lying. And so while there's nothing wrong with enjoying the real deal - I very much sit firmly in the camp of eating with flexibility, and without restraint or guilt - I love 'healthier' takes on recipes that taste good, can fill the void for those with certain dietary restrictions, and also include nourishing ingredients. Win-win-wins, all around.
These salted caramel truffles are my favourite sweet treat at the moment. They have a deliciously gooey date salted caramel centre, covered in a hard outer dark chocolate shell - so satisfying to sink your teeth into! While they're a little fiddly to make, they're worth the effort. I also like that they're pre-portioned - one will totally satisfy a roaring sweet tooth.
What are medjool dates? These are a large type of date, with a wrinkly dried outer skin and soft sticky inside. They're very sweet, and have a characteristic caramel flavour - perfect for desserts, binding sticky bars or smoothies. They're often found in the fresh produce section of the supermarket, somewhere amongst the chilled fruit and veggies, rather than the dried fruit aisle. Like other dried fruit, dates are a concentrated source of sugar - each of these truffles containing about one whole medjool date, which works out to be a typical portion. Enjoy as a yummy sweet treat :)
Salted Caramel Truffles
Peanut butter caramel
12 medjool dates
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp melted coconut oil
3/4 - 1 tsp sea salt (start with 3/4 then taste test!)
100-150g dark chocolate
To garnish - your pick of 1+: chopped peanuts, almonds, cacao nibs, pistachio, coconut...
1. Soak the medjool dates in hot water (enough to cover them) for 10 minutes. Drain.
2. Add to a food processor all of the ingredients for the date caramel and blitz until you have a smooth puree. You may need to stop the blender and scrap down the sides a few times (depending on the size of your food processor). Using a spatula scoop mixture into a bowl and place it in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm up.
3. Remove the bowl from freezer. Line a plate with a piece of baking paper.
4. Here's where it becomes fiddly - begin rolling balls using a heaps tsp of the mixture. You may notice the mixture has slightly firmed, but is still sticky. If you find it's sticking to your hands making it difficult to roll, simply wet your hands with a few drops of water/wash and dry your hands, before rolling. The mixture will repeal your hands, and you'll be able to roll spherical balls! You may need to rewash/wet your hands every few balls, or as needed. Aim to roll 10-12 balls. Place plate in the freezer for another 30 minutes.
5. Melt dark chocolate into a small bowl (microwave or double boiler method). Place a ball into the melted chocolate, and using 2x tsp roll the ball in the chocolate until completely covered. Pick up ball between teaspoons and let excess chocolate dribble off. Place choc-covered ball on cold freeze plate and decorate with a garnish (e.g. an almond/peanut/sprinkle of cacao nibs) on top. The chocolate will quickly harden before your eyes. Repeat with remaining balls.
6. Place balls back in freezer for another ten to firm. Enjoy! Store truffles in freezer ideally, or otherwise fridge.
To ensure these are vegan and dairy-friendly double check the chocolate you use. Most good quality dark chocolate is vegan, but still review the ingredients list for any milk products, or ingredients derived form milk (e.g. whey, casein, milk fat or milk solids).