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Chocolate, hazelnut and date truffles

Chocolate, hazelnut and date truffles

Barely a day goes by when I don’t eat chocolate in one form or another. It will always be my favourite mid-afternoon pick me up, my perfect pudding, even breakfast on a bad day. I’m always looking for inspiring new ways to add a little fix to my day and with these truffles I can nearly convince myself that it’s healthy too!

chocolate, hazelnut and date truffles

I’m lucky to have a great local independent health food shop, so the inspiration for these little truffles came from a little weekend meander around the store. I often come out of there with jars of the weird and wonderful, plus bagfuls of good intentions, but I think these are one of my favourite creations yet.

The main ingredient of these truffles is dates. Their rich, toffee flavour and sticky, fudgy texture makes a great alternative base for a truffle. Add some luscious hazelnut butter and a dash of cocoa and you have a quick, easy and sort of healthy treat! I think the dates and nuts make these a lot more satisfying than regular truffles too – I’d struggle to eat more than two at a time.

You need to buy pitted ready-to-eat dates to ensure both maximum fudginess and minimum effort. Place 500g dates in the bowl of a food processor. Add 4 generous tablespoons of hazelnut butter (around 150g) and 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder. Blitz together for a minute or two until thoroughly blended. The texture should be firm but sticky enough to hold together. If it’s too dry and crumbly add a splash of water, it will just depend on how moist the dates were in the first place. I also had on hand a packet of ground almonds in case it was all too sticky, but I didn’t need them.

Roll into small balls between the palms of your hands. I made 20 with this quantity of mixture. I coated half in another dusting of cocoa and half in some toasted chopped hazelnuts. Add around 50g chopped nuts to a dry frying pan and toast gently for a few minutes over a medium-low heat. It will seem like nothing is happening for ages, but keep your eye on them as they will suddenly brown very quickly. Use to coat the balls once the nuts are cool.

Store in a cool dry place.

Shopping list:

500g pitted dates

150g hazelnut butter

3tbsp cocoa powder, plus extra for coating

50g chopped hazelnuts

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