Date and Nut Chocolate Truffles… gluten-free.

Date and Nut Chocolate Truffles… gluten-free. Ever since I made my first homemade larabars, I started buying dates and nuts more than ever. As much as I didn’t care for dates before the larabars, it all changed when I began to combine them with nuts. Now, I most always have dates and nuts in the freezer… not only for making larabars, but also for these date and nut truffles. 
I’ve been making these “truffles” for some time now…. well, ever since last year. At the time I had I wanted to make something different with the batch of date and nut paste I had just mixed. Normally I’ll make the larabars and cut them in squares. But this time around I rolled them into small balls and wanted to “upgrade” them a bit. I  suppose I could have rolled the date mixture in coconut, or chopped nuts, or cocoa, but I really wanted them to look like “real” chocolate truffles so I opted to dip them in chocolate. The chocolate just turns the somewhat humble date and nut paste into something quite elegant and irresistible!  
Normally I add unsweetened shredded coconut along with the dates and nuts, but you can add more nuts if you don’t care for coconut…. though for me, coconut makes all the difference:) Most times, I vary ingredient amounts…. don’t necessarily measure things out. So sometimes I’ll use less dates, more coconut, more nuts, and oftentimes I’ll use a variety of nuts. Amounts don’t have to be that precise, but you do want enough dates so you have a paste that won’t crumble. So adjust ingredients to taste.  
I love to keep these truffles in  the freezer for long term storage, or in the fridge for the short term. What I noticed: one truffle can go a long way(!). But it does satisfy my sweet cravings, and I don’t necessarily feel guilty eating one or two:) Also, the better the chocolate, the better the truffle. In a pinch, you can use a good brand of chocolate chips. I like Ghiradelli or even Guittard. Dark chocolate works best. 
Incidentally, for this particular post, I ended up using chocolate chips… I ran out of my good chocolate and so wanted to show you this recipe, that I settled for using chocolate chips:). Just don’t heat up the chocolate too much… you still want a few bits of chocolate showing, then stir. The residual heat will eventually melt the chocolate completely. And remember to keep the chocolate truffles in the fridge or freezer if you don’t temper your chocolate. Hope you enjoy…  

Note: You don’t necessarily have to toast the nuts, you can use them raw if you like. I had a sandwich bag with 30 dates,  and because I wanted to  finish the bag, I used them all. But you could use less dates, or add more nuts to balance out the dates. 

Tip: If you like you date mixture to have a bit more texture, opt to process less. The longer you process, the smoother the paste. But keep in mind, the date mix should be processed enough so you can form balls.
~If you have extra melted chocolate,  you can use it up by adding some walnuts and mixing to coat. Drop by tablespoonfuls unto a parchment paper and refrigerate Makes the best nut clusters!

You will need: makes about 40 (1 inch balls)
20-30 medjool dates(I used 30 this time)
2 cups lightly toasted walnuts(or other nut of choice, pecans are great
1/2 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut 
2 TBS dark cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon, or to taste
flavorings of choice( vanilla, rum, orange zest, etc,)  
melted dark chocolate, for dipping 
1. Lightly toast nuts.
2. In a bowl of a food processor, add  all the ingredients.
3. Process date mix for 1-2 minutes or until paste forms into a ball. You may need to knead the mixture a bit by hand to get it to stick together.
4. Form balls, place on  a parchment/plastic wrap plate or tray and freeze until firm… I left mine overnight, took them out to defrost a bit as I melted the chocolate.
5. Dip date balls in melted chocolate one at a time. Remove with a fork, tap fork on edge of bowl to remove excess chocolate. 
6. Place dipped truffles on a parchment/plastic wrap lined plate or tray. Repeat with the rest.  You can dip your fork in the melted chocolate and drizzle over the top of the truffles to add a different look…. or even sprinkle a few pinches of shaved chocolate, nuts, coconut, etc. But you will need to do this when the chocolate is still wet.  
2013 02 26sweetpotatocrackerskimchidatetruffles

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