Dark Chocolate Truffles w/ Dates, Coconut & Toasted Walnuts

I love chocolate truffles, yet I always feel guilty when consuming more than one of them at a time.  If I ever buy some of those delicious hazelnut and chocolate ones, my favorites, my husband will attempt to hide them from me as to have them all to himself.  Then, it becomes a game of ‘truffle keep away’.  So, I decided to make some healthier truffles … ok, a little healthier truffles.  Maybe that will keep Kevin from wanting them all.

DARK CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES W/ DATES, COCONUT, AND TOASTED WALNUTS 

8 oz pitted Dates
1/2 cup raw Walnuts – toasted
1/4 cup sweetened shredded Coconut
1 cup dark Chocolate or semi-sweet Chocolate
2 tablespoons organic Butter
2 tablespoons heavy Cream
1/4 cup raw Walnuts – toasted & for garnish
1 lb Strawberries – washed & dried

Place the dates in a food processor, and pulse them to get them finely chopped into little pieces.  Place the dates in a bowl with the coconut.  Place the raw walnuts in a dry skillet on medium low heat, and toast them.  Please watch them closely, as they tend to burn very easily, since they are full of natural oils.  You may choose to chop them on a cutting board with a knife, or you may put them in the food processor, as I did, and pulse them to get a fine-ish chop.  Place the walnuts in the same bowl, with the dates and coconut.  Reserve 1/4 cup of the toasted walnuts to the side for garnishing the truffles.  Mix very well to form a cohesive mixture.

Roll the mixture into small balls, and place them on parchment paper.  Because of the high natural sugar content in the dates, which makes them sticky, the balls are formed very easily.  In a double boiler*, place the chocolate, butter, and cream, until the chocolate and butter melt and the cream warms up.  It is very important to use very good quality chocolate in this step.  *A double boiler is made of a bowl that sits on top of a sauce pan with simmering water.  The water should not be touching the bowl.  The steam from the simmering water in the pan warms and/or melts what is in the bowl.  

Grease a sheet of parchment paper in preparation for the “wet” truffles.  Now that the chocolate, butter, and cream can be stirred into a beautiful chocolate ganache, gently dip the date balls into it, making sure all side are evenly coated.  Place the “wet” truffles on the greased parchment paper.  Use the reserved toasted walnuts to sprinkle on top of each truffle.


If you are going to be eating the truffles sooner than later, place them in the freezer for half an hour to an hour.  If, however, you are making them for later in the day or the next day, place them in the refrigerator until about 10 minutes before you serve them.  Remove them from the freezer or the refrigerator, and use a cold spatula to scrape them off the parchment paper and onto a serving platter.  You may use your fingers, but the heat from them might melt or distort the beautiful ganache.  Cut up some strawberries for decoration and to serve on the side with the truffles.  In my humble opinion, these truffles taste best, when eaten with a fresh strawberry.  Yummy!


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