Ok. So these really aren’t truffles per se. But I couldn’t get myself to call these Chocolate Pistachio Date Balls. Truffles have the connotation that you’re going to want to savor the flavor of these. Like truffles, they’re simple, only requiring 4-6 ingredients (depending on if you coat them in chocolate…but, really, that’s not an option). Unlike truffles, they’re dairy free and naturally sweetened only with dates!
BUT, while we’re on the topic. Names like “energy balls/bites” are a great way of telling our brains that we can dismiss moderation. Yeah. I said it. All food has some form of energy. And yes, these are whole ingredients where the only processing is that of your food processor to blend them up. But I say this as a reminder to myself as well. I have vilified certain foods all of my life and then rationalized eating healthy ones in excess.
Post Whole30 John and I have continued to talk about what foods are “worth it.” I have decided that when I want to indulge in less healthful food (meaning foods with less nutrients…like muffins, because of love them) that I want to be a part of that process by making it. Because I can’t live a life where muffins, brownies, and frosting don’t exist. Therefore, by playing a role in its creation, I know that I am making a conscious choice, instead of choosing food because of convenience, stress, comfort.
So when I wanted to make a birthday treat, I wanted to make something that existed along the conservative end of the indulgence spectrum. So if I were going to limit the sugar, butter, and chocolate, I had to make sure that other factors were fulfilled in order to feel satisfied. In that case, I highlighted two factors: texture and ingredients. I find that so much of my experience of enjoying food is because I love the texture so much (i.e. Bread, muffins, nut butter).
I just adore those rectangular bars like Larabars and RX bars. During the Whole30 I made sure that I limited my consumption, mostly, to create some mental separation of dessert being played off as being healthy, leading to overconsumption. However, with knowing that I wanted a birthday treat, I wanted to recreate that chewy texture studded with some crunch from some nuts. Dates serve as the perfect base for that naturally sweet chewiness. Soaking the dates prior to processing them ensures the creamiest and chewiest of textures.
In regard to ingredients, I wanted some type of chocolate and nuts, so adding some cocoa to the dates was an easy choice, because it also acted as a thickener to the dates. Growing up I always loved pistachios, mostly because I liked cracking them open from the shells. My father and I used to go to the grocery store and scoop out a big bag full of shell-on pistachios from this large barrel (that probably violates some health code now). Birthdays are all about memories, so adding some pistachios seemed like the next obvious step.
So we have the dates, cocoa, pistachios, and pinch of sea salt to create a super simple dessert that come together in a matter of minutes with the little help of a food processor. These are also infinitely adaptable. Notice a trend with my recipes?? I don’t like rules. I don’t want you to follow rules either. Add whatever you want. Adjust the texture by adding more nuts. Heck. Throw in some coconut, another type of nut, more cocoa. Whatever. Do it. Go crazy. Just don’t forget the salt. It will enhance the flavor of whatever you end up putting in them. Finally, scoop out about a tablespoon or so and roll them into balls. They don’t have to be perfect. Unless you’re me. Then they have to be perfectly uniform. (Notice the pics.)
Then, because it’s my birthday, I coated these little cuties with some dairy free chocolate with a bit of coconut oil. I sprinkled some of them with some finely chopped pistachios and some with sea salt for John. You could also drizzle some of the remaining chocolate, which would be pretty.
Let them sit for a bit until they cool. Then enjoy. Or dive right in. And savor these, knowing that you made a dessert that’s naturally sweet, grain-free, (potentially) vegan, and made from whole ingredients. I’ll also remind myself that it’s still a dessert and try to eat half of them. But it’s my birthday, so whatever.
- ~2 cups dates (320g)
- 4 tablespoons cocoa (25g)
- 1 cup shelled pistachios (100g)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1½ cups Enjoy Life Chips
- 2 teaspoon coconut oil
- Finely chopped pistachios or flaked sea salt
- Soak the dates in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain.
- Place all 4 ingredients in a food processor. Begin by pulsing to combine. Then process on high until fully combined. You can decide how smooth you want it to be. Adjust the texture by adding more nuts if you like.
- Scoop 1 tablespoon and roll into a ball. Place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes until firm. (You may be able to skip this step if the mixture isn’t too soft.)
- In a glass measuring cup or small bowl, microwave the chocolate and coconut oil for 1 minute, stirring a few times. Microwave for increments of 30 seconds until the chips are completely melted, stirring between each interval.
- Drop one truffle at a time in the chocolate. Using a fork, remove the truffle from the chocolate and gently tap the fork on the edge of the cup in order to remove excess chocolate.
- Place on the wax paper lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle with crushed pistachios or sea salt if you desire. Repeat.
- With any remaining chocolate, I typically drizzle it over the truffles.