This is a difficult time of year for those of us who, for any reason, don’t eat refined sugar!!! The goodies that I’m posting this month can help get us through the holidays feeling great, without compromising our health, and without feeling deprived. Some of the recipes are from other blogs, and I am very careful about giving credit when that is the case! Today’s Mandarin Chocolate Truffles recipe is from the wonderful blog www.againstallgrain.com. Be sure to check it out- Danielle’s recipes have never failed to impress me! The fudge is one of my own recipes- if you share either of these please give credit where due-thank you!
My husband and I went to a Holiday open house the other night and I was of course wondering if I would need to fix us some dinner when we got home! I just never know when I go to a function whether or not there will be food that fits our lifestyle, and for someone like me who doesn’t often eat the things that are NOT on my approved list, these events can prove a daunting experience. The last thing I would ever want to do is make a hostess feel badly by not eating any of the food offered! Because my Paleo lifestyle is not only by choice, but by necessity, I seldom eat sugar, grains or un-known oils, knowing that if I do I will pay a price for several days afterward with stiff, sore joints and fatigue, not to mention the long term effects of increased inflammation. SO imagine my delight when we went to the buffet table and discovered a Paleo eater’s smorgasboard! Our hosts had provided the following deliciousness for their guests: Sliced meats, deviled eggs, a vegetable tray, a citrus shrimp platter, smoked oysters, a cheese plate, and a few other non-Paleo things like rolls and sweet and sour meatballs and various cookies. We were delighted and enjoyed ourselves and were so happy that we could praise our hosts for their wonderful food! It is pretty rare that we go someplace where there is NOTHING we can eat, but it is oh, so wonderful, when we are able to choose from many different selections and not feel like we are sticking out in the crowd! Something to think about for all of us when we are entertaining is to make sure there are selections for anyone with special dietary needs, including Paleo, celiac, vegetarian/vegan or diabetes.
These wonderful truffles from www.againstallgrain.com are a bit time consuming, but very much worth it! And my fudge recipe has several variations, all of which are quick and easy-peasey! Let me know if you try either of them!
Mandarin Chocolate Truffles
3 tablespoons raw cacao butter, chopped
1/4 cup raw honey
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons coconut butter (Artisana makes a great one!)
3/4 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons fresh clementine or mandarin juice, strained of pulp
1 teaspoon mandarin zest -plus additional for sprinkling on top if desired)
dash of sea salt
Fill a small sauce pan with a few inches of water, and bring it to a boil over high heat.
Place the cacao butter in a heat proof bowl, and place it directly over the boiling water, but not touching it.
Stir for 1-2 minutes until it has started to melt, but there are still some solid pieces. Remove the bowl from the heat, then whisk in the coconut oil and honey.
Pour the mixture into the bowl of a food processor, then add the cacao powder, coconut butter, vanilla, juice, zest , and small dash of sea salt.
Turn on the food processor, and process for a minute or so until your mixture is smooth and thick.
Spoon the chocolate into a bowl, and refrigerate for 45 minutes.
After it has chilled, use a spoon to scoop out balls about the size of a tablespoon from the bowl.
Roll them between your palms to form smooth balls. Place them on a parchment lined tray then place the tray in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes. Be carefull not to roll them too much or the heat from your hands will melt the chocolate. Your hands will get messy!
1/2 cup raw cacao butter
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
2 tablespoons honey, liquified
While the balls chill again, make your chocolate coating by placing the cacao butter in a heatproof bowl set over a small pot of boiling water.
Again, whisk for 1-2 minutes until the cacao butter has started to melt but there are still a few small solid pieces. Remove from heat, add the honey and cacao powder, then whisk vigorously to combine and make a smooth, thick syrup. If it’s too thick, put the bowl back over the hot water for 30 seconds.
Remove half of the balls from the refrigerator, then working one by one, drop them in the coating and roll them around until fully covered. Poke a toothpick into the top to pull them out of the bowl, and twist it around slightly to let the exceess chocolate drip off.
Use another toothpick to help release the truffle back onto the parchment lined tray, then sprinkle with the zest and let harden at room temperature. Pull the other half of the balls out of the fridge and repeat the coating process above.
-The coating hardens best when the balls are cold when dipped
-Don’t place the truffles into the refrigerator right after you dip them or they will produce condensation on the outside. Let them harden at room temperature first and then when completely cooled place in the fridge for storage in an airtight container for 2 weeks or in a cool dry place for 1 week. ENJOY!
Cheryl’s Paleo Fudge
In a double boiler over simmering water, melt and stir until smooth:
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup powdered cocoa powder
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of sea salt
Remove from heat and add:
3 tablespoons almond butter (any nut butter will work)
Stir until well combined.
OPTIONAL: 1 cup of chopped nuts or your choice (almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts)
1/2 cup chopped dried fruit (raisins, cherries, cranberries, apricots etc. get the kind with no sugar!)
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground espresso powder (this would need to be added to the bowl while over the simmering water)
Spread evenly in a parchment lined loaf pan; mixture should be about 1/3-1/2″ thick. Place in refrigerator for about an hour to firm up. Easiest to cut when you remove it with the parchment paper and cut it on the paper on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife-pushing the knife down into the fudge rather than ‘sawing’ back and forth- and clean the knife between cuts. The fudge melts quickly, so keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Store refrigerated in a covered dish. ENJOY!