Since Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, I thought that I would share a recipe for something sweet, a bit indulgent, and… pretty darn healthy, actually. When it comes to desserts, I try to consult my raw, “whole food” recipes before resorting to whatever I’m craving at the moment. Last weekend, the craving was brownies, but I really wanted to avoid bringing a pan of buttery, sugary, caffeinated treats into the house. (Especially because I know that I would dole out kid-sized portions for dessert and then keep returning to the pan for “just one more piece” after they’ve gone to bed.) So there was no better time to look through Stephanie Tourles’s Raw Energy for something sinful(-tasting) and chocolatey(-tasting) that we could all enjoy as either a dessert or an energy-boosting snack.
Carob truffles are a dream come true: they are made of dense, healthy, filling foods, but taste like candy. Stephanie’s original recipe for Almond-Raisin Cocoa Bites calls for raw almond butter and raw cacao powder, but I chose to use easier-to-find (and arguably more kid-friendly) ingredients, substituting peanut butter and carob powder. Carob is a legume that is roased and used as a caffeine-free substitute for chocolate, making it a great choice for an evening dessert. Peanut butter is usually made from roasted peanuts, but it’s worth the time to search for the unroasted version to avoid any hydrogenated oils. Made with peanut butter, raisins, and carob, these treats are filled with iron, protein and vitamins. The dark brown color makes them look like dessert, but they’re healthy enough to be a good snack at any time of day.
Finally, for a special, Valentine’s Day treat, I took truffles that had been rolled in shredded coconut and flattened them to about 1/2″ thickness with the bottom of a juice glass. Then, using a butter knife and my fingers, I shaped the truffle into a heart. A bit cheesy, yes, but that’s one of the perks of cooking for kids: when else are you going to get bonus points for presenting foods that are in the shape of hearts, stars, leaves, candy canes and the like??
Wishing you all a sweet Valentine’s Day!
Once the dough is made, you can shape it any way you’d like: press it into a greased pan and then cut into squares; roll into balls; or get crazy and cut, pinch, and press it into shapes.
1 cup peanut butter (made from unroasted peanuts, if possible)
1 cup raisins, chopped
1/2 c. carob powder
1/4 c. raw honey
2 tbs. water (filtered if possible)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Unsweetened, shredded coconut, for rolling (optional)
Extra carob powder, for sprinkling (optional)
Mix the peanut butter, raisins, carob powder, honey, water and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Use a wooden spoon or your hands to mash the mixture until it comes together into a big ball of dough.
Pinch off small pieces of dough and roll into 1″-sized balls (or see notes at top for other shaping ideas). Roll the balls in shredded coconut or sprinkle them with carob powder, or leave plain.
Arrange the truffles on a plate and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour to allow them to set. Transfer the truffles to an airtight container and leave in the refrigerator until ready to eat. The truffles will last in the fridge for 2 to 3 weeks.
Makes about 40 truffles.