Thursday, December 12, 2013


When I was a kid living at home not needing to worry myself with cooking, I baked. I loved making an assortment of desserts, cookies, muffins, you name it. Eventually I moved away, got a job, a ring, a couple babies, and picked up a few food allergies. My bet is you know where this is going. I hardly bake anymore and definitely not many desserts or cookies. I focus most of my energies on cooking decent meals and wholesome snacks for my family, picking up [and re-picking up] toys, keeping the house in at least less than disastrous condition, enjoying a few hobbies, and helping others find ways to embrace a healthy lifestyle. This leaves little time for much else.

And yet, here we are, the season of parties and celebration and an endless amount of treats. I'm not complaining, it just presents a bit of a pickle for a girl who doesn't do much in the "dessert" area.

Enter these truffles. Easy. Quick. Minimal effort. Allergy-free. Super delicious. And a bit more virtuous.

These truffles have become my go-to dessert whenever the occasion presents itself and just never get old. The original recipe for Pumpkin Truffles comes from Daily Bites and I've adapted that recipe for the peppermint truffles listed below.

Enjoy friends and may you be so blessed this holiday season.

Makes about 10 medium or 15 small truffles

3/4 c. coconut butter
3 - 4 T. pure maple syrup [+ 1/4 c. pure maple syrup is making coating rather than using sweetened chocolate chips]
1 vanilla bean, scraped*
2 tsp. peppermint oil, divided
pinch sea salt
4 ounces of either allergen-free chocolate or unsweetened chocolate or carob, chopped
2 T. coconut oil
if using unsweetened chocolate or carob, you will need:
1/4 c. pure maple syrup

Combine coconut butter and 3 - 4 T. maple syrup in a small pot over very low heat. Stir until melted [the mixture will start out creamy and a bit liquid looking and as it melts get more pasty]. Remove from heat, pour mixture into a small glass mixing bowl, and stir in scraped vanilla bean [the pod contents not the pod*] and 1 teaspoon of the peppermint oil.

Place bowl with truffle "dough" into the freezer and let set for 10 - 20 minutes or until the mixture is a bit firmer and can be easily rolled into balls.

Form the cold mixture into small balls [should make 10 medium or 15 small balls] and place on a wax paper lined plate or baking pan. Return to freezer for an additional 10 minutes.

While the nugget part of the truffles is freezing, make the chocolate or carob coating. Over very low heat, heat chocolate or carob chips or pieces, coconut oil, and maple syrup [if using unsweetened chocolate or carob] in a small pot. Whisk constantly until just melted and remove from heat. Add 1 teaspoon of peppermint oil, stirring to combine.

Take truffle "nugget" out of the freezer and dip each ball into the chocolate to coat completely. Place them back onto the baking sheet and, once all the the truffle balls are covered in chocolate or carob, return to the freezer to solidify coating. Once firm, remove truffles from freezer and, using a spoon, carefully drizzle additional coating over the truffles. Return to freezer. You can freeze any leftover coating for the next batch or toss with a large handful of almonds to make peppermint chocolate-covered almonds or you can use almond pieces to make peppermint almond bark.

Once the coating has solidified, place truffles in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator or freezer until you are ready to serve.

You can also make coconut truffles by adding shredded coconut [enough to make a firm dough] and using coconut extract in place of peppermint.

*If you're wondering what to do with the pods [because, well vanilla beans are expensive so who wants to waste!], place scraped beans in a small airtight jar and cover with rum. Place in a dark cupboard and let stand a few weeks. Voila! Pure vanilla extract!

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