One day my friend, Mat, was reminiscing to his mom, Clair, about an ice cream store he worked at while in college. “I told her that I got so sick of ice cream that for two years after I quit I couldn’t go near it.” At which point Clair mentioned that as a girl she worked for years at the chocolate counter at Gimbel’s, one of New York’s famous retailers. Gimbel’s let you eat as much chocolate as you liked on the job, so long as you didn’t take any home. “I asked Mom if she ever got sick of chocolate. She just looked at me like I was nuts and said, ‘Why would I?’” Which brings us to these little morsels. For chocolate aficionados, nothing provides a better fix than a truffle. My friend Wendy, an incredible chocolatier, designed these confections from a scrumptious mélange of chocolate, dates, orange zest, and ground nuts, all rolled in coconut. I could tell you that the reason to eat these is because they’re high in protein and phytochemicals, but how ’bout we just call that a nice side benefit of yum! Since you’re going to indulge in a chocolate dessert, be sure to make it the best by using high-quality chocolate.
Makes 20 truffles
1/4 cup finely diced dried apricots
2 tablespoons boiling water
2 ounces dark chocolate with a 64 to 72 percent cacao content, finely chopped
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons almonds
1 cup pitted and halved Medjool dates
1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest, or 1/2 teaspoon orange oil (not orange extract)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Soak the diced apricots in cold water for 5 minutes.
Stir the boiling water into the chopped chocolate and let it stand for 30 seconds. Using a small whisk, stir until the chocolate is completely melted and glossy. Coarsely grind the almonds in a food processor, then add the dates, orange zest, salt, and the chocolate mixture and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl; drain the apricots well and stir them into the chocolate mixture. Cover and chill for approximately 2 hours, until firm. Scatter the coconut on a large plate. Scoop up approximately 1 tablespoon of the chocolate mixture and roll it into a smooth ball between your palms, then roll it in the coconut to coat. Repeat with the remaining mixture, then place the truffles in an airtight container and chill thoroughly before serving.
Photo Credit: Leo Gong
Reprinted with permission from The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery. Copyright © 2009 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA