It’s ten minutes after dinner, and you suddenly get the craving for something sweet. It’s time for Chocolate Almond Coconut Date Truffles.
Maybe you’re cleaning up the dishes, or checking over the kids’ homework, or settling in for some Netflix. Whatever you’re doing, when you have these Chocolate Almond Coconut Date Truffles on hand, you have a sweet way to answer your sugar cravings – but with no refined sugar.
These truffles are packed with all the flavors of that coconut-almond-chocolate candy bar you know, but are naturally sweet thanks to pitted dates. Lightly toasted slivered almonds add extra nutty flavor, and the chocolate flavor comes from unsweetened cocoa powder. For this recipe, I used Trader Joe’s Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. It blends up smoothly and tastes rich; it’s great cocoa powder, and perfect for this recipe.
Unsweetened coconut used to be more difficult to find, but it seems that coconut in all forms has become a lot more popular lately, so finding the unsweetened variety should be easier.
I found my unsweetened coconut at an Indian grocery store. I like the finer texture for both mixing into the truffles and rolling at the end. If you can’t find finely-shredded unsweetened coconut, you could pulse a coarser variety in your blender or food processor a few times to break it down a bit more.
A word about toasting nuts
If you’re a dedicated multitasker (like me!) and think you can get away with setting up the food processor, making some tea, etc. while toasting nuts on the stove… you’re probably wrong. These babies go from zero to overly toasted and burnt in no time flat. So keep and eye on them, and toss or stir them often. The entire toasting process takes about 5 minutes.
If they’re over-toasted or taste burned, they’re no good. Chocolate Almond Coconut Date Truffles don’t have a lot of excess sugar to counteract any bitter, burned flavors. Toast carefully.
Making Chocolate Almond Coconut Date Truffles
When the nuts are done, transfer them to the bowl of a food processor and allow them to cool for a bit. Then add the cocoa powder and pulse until finely chopped.
When you’re processing the almonds and cocoa, you’re looking for an evenly-chopped mixture, not a paste. Don’t process too long, or you’ll have chocolate almond butter. (Hmmm…)
After you add the coconut, vanilla, and dates, pulse the mixture until you still have some quarter-inch date chunks. That’s when it’s time to add the water, and the dates will be fully processed by the time you’re finished.
The amount of water you’ll need to add depends on the moisture content of your dates. I’ve had to use anywhere from 3-5 tsp of water, sprinkled over the mixture as you continue to pulse it in the food processor. It’s ready to go when the mixture begins to pull together and travel around the food processor bowl in larger clumps.
When you pinch a bit of the mixture together at this stage, it should hold together easily.
Divide the mixture into balls using a tablespoon dipped in water. You should get about 14 one-tablespoon-sized balls. Roll them in coconut. I like to place 3 of them in a ramekin and swirl it in a circle on the countertop. This coats the balls quickly and easily.
Serve right away, or refrigerate in a sealed container.
These rarely last more than two days in my house. Hide them in the back of the refrigerator if you must.
Chocolate Almond Coconut Date Truffles
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder – see notes below
- 24 pitted dates
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut – unsweetened, divided
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3-5 tsp water
- In a dry skillet, lightly toast the almonds over low heat until golden and fragrant, being careful not to over-toast. (They should not smell bitter or burned.) When finished, pour them into the bowl of a food processor and allow to cool for a few minutes.
- Add cocoa powder. Pulse until nuts are finely chopped. Don’t over-process – you don’t want to make nut butter!
- Add the dates and 1/4 cup of the coconut. Sprinkle with the vanilla extract. Pulse until the dates are chopped into pieces about 1/4 inch in size.
- Sprinkle the mixture with 3 tsp of water. Continue to blend the mixture in long pulses, adding more water 1/2 tsp at a time, until it starts to come together in clumps.
- When you can pinch the mixture and it holds together, it’s time to form the balls. Measure out tablespoon-sized amounts and roll them into balls. You should get about 14 balls.
- Roll the balls in the remaining 1/4 cup of coconut. Store truffles in the refrigerator or enjoy immediately.
- Use a good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder for this recipe. I like Trader Joe’s Unsweetened Cocoa Powder.