Cookie Dough Truffles, Take Two

It’s been a while since my three-year-old ate beans other than in tofu. It’s also been a while since I whipped up a batch of my cookie dough truffles. Thankfully, I can solve both problems with one delicious and nutritious treat!

The first time I made these truffles, I used peanut butter and garbanzo beans as the base. This time, I’m using sunflower butter (which has also made appearances in my power balls and bars) and great northern beans. Like many beans, great northerns are jam-packed with fiber, protein, iron, and folate. Beans are a true super food and incredibly versatile. They’d have to be if I’m using them in dessert, right?!

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Please excuse the mushed appearance of these beans, which came from a can. Remember, always try to buy dry beans and soak and sprout/cook them yourself. I am working on finding a system that works for me, but for whatever reason, I have a terrible time digesting beans that I’ve prepared. They are the only item I buy canned, ideally organic and/or with no salt added whenever possible.

Anywho, today’s PSA aside, we are ready to roll, literally! These truffles make for an easy snack for humans big and small…

…or, dip them in melted dark chocolate, let harden, and bring to a party. I love seeing the look on people’s faces when they can’t get enough of my food and then I tell them it’s vegan. Since when is vegan food supposed to be repulsive?! 🙂 Enjoy!

FORMULA BASE: COOKIE DOUGH TRUFFLES

Yields 16-20 balls

  • 1 ½ cups cooked or sprouted white beans (e.g. garbanzo, great northern, cannellini, etc.) –> I’m using great northern.
  • ½ cup seed or nut butter (nuts/seeds ONLY) –> I’m using sunflower.
  • 1/8 cup+ liquid sweetener (e.g. agave syrup, maple syrup, etc.) –> I’m using pure maple syrup.
  • ½-1 tsp extract (amount depends on flavor intensity) –> I’m using homemade vanilla.
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt (optional) –> I’m opting out.
  • ½ cup chips (e.g. chocolate, dried fruit, chopped nuts, etc.) –> I’m using a heaping ¼ cup of mini-semi-sweet chocolate chips (vegan). This time around, my dough was a tad too sticky to roll, so I also added ¼ cup ground flaxseed and unsweetened desiccated coconut (I keep both on hand in my pantry at all times).

Combine all ingredients—except the chips—in a food processor and run until smooth.

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Transfer dough into a bowl and stir in chips. Using a melon baller or teaspoon, form into balls and roll in your hands until smooth.Ready to eat immediately! Store leftovers in the fridge.

 

 

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Back-to-School Power Balls

Truthfully, these are anytime super food snacks, but I made them specifically to send Nolan off to summer camp at his new school, so alas, the title of this post.  If you’ve already tried making them, you know that my power balls are filling enough that two or three make for a solid snack, and sweet enough (but not too sweet) that they could practically pass for healthy truffles.  They are the ultimate school snack and one that I’m sure Nolan’s friends will have their eyes on.

There’s nothing unusual or new to report with this version, as these power balls include all ingredients you’ve seen in my previous posts.  The star today is sunflower butter—which made its first appearance in my dark chocolate sea salt power bars—since it is nut-allergy friendly.  Many schools have strict rules about peanuts on campus, making sunflower seeds an excellent alternative.

Using a melon baller, I made these power balls extra small so that they are bite-size for Nolan and easy to snack on between activities.  I’ll admit, whipping these up takes a lot more time than picking up a box of fruit snacks at the grocery store, but it’s well worth providing my kids the best nutrition possible to get through their busy days.

Looking for a different shape and slightly different formula?  Check out my power bars!

FORMULA BASE:  POWER BALLS

Makes 12-14 small balls (or 20-ish mini-balls)

For the dough:

  • 1 cup nut or seed butter (nuts/seeds only) –>  I’m using sunflower.
  • 1 cup uncooked whole grains –>  I’m using rolled oats.
  • ½ cup unsweetened dried fruit (without added oil) –>  I’m using 6 small pitted medjool dates.
  • 2 tbsps natural liquid sweetener –>  I’m using 1 tbsp agave syrup.*
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Garnish ideas (approximately 4 tbsps):

  • Raw seeds -> I’m using 2 tbsps of ground flaxseed.
  • Raw finely chopped nuts
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes -> I’m using 2 tbsps of unsweetened, desiccated coconut.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Finely chopped unsweetened dried fruit bits (without added oil)
  • Melted dark chocolate (which will re-solidify after dipping)

*I cut 1 tbsp of sweetener because the sun butter I happen to be using was pre-sweetened.  I never buy nut or seed butters that contain added salt, oil, or sugar, but the lady that used to watch my kids had an excess of sun butter that she was concerned would go to waste.  I’m not going to pass up free plant-based butters (which can be quite expensive), so I needed to adjust my formula today.  🙂

Turn your whole grains into flour using your food processor or blender. You could also use rolled oats as is. The texture of the balls will be different, but rolled oats are one of few grains soft enough to be palatable without becoming flour.

Combine the flour and your remaining ingredients in a food processor. Run until a thick, pliable dough forms. You will probably have to scrape down the sides of the processor with a spatula at least once.

Shape the dough into 1-1 ½ inch balls and roll in garnish.

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Enjoy immediately or store in the fridge.

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Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Power Bars

Nolan has decided that his favorite food is chocolate. “Chocolate is a good snack, Mom.” Nolan wants chocolate on or with almost everything he eats. Thankfully, his mama is hip to the word on dark chocolate, which is all he’s ever had. Like a lot of people, I grew up on milk chocolate, which I think most would agree is richer and more palatable. Dark chocolate is an acquired taste, but now that it’s all I eat, the rare instances when I have milk, my tastes buds are blown away by how cloyingly sweet it is.

Why make the switch from milk to dark? Many milk chocolate treats contain sugar and milk as their primary ingredients when it is the cacao bean that contains the powerhouse nutrients. Once you get past the slightly bitter and certainly less sweet taste of dark, you can now consume chocolate that provides true health benefits. Dark chocolate that is 72% cacoa or greater is jam-packed with protein, fiber, and antioxidants. It is heart healthy and can boost brain power, too. YUM!

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Of course, like all sweets, we can’t overdo it with even dark chocolate. Cacoa does contain fat and when made into a chocolate bar, for instance, also contains added sugar. Point is, a little bit of dark chocolate every day—yes, I eat it every day folks!—is not only not going to hurt you, but will provide you with powerful nutrients. Opt for fair trade whenever possible.

What do I say when Nolan wants chocolate? I give it to him. Not in unlimited quantities and only after or in conjunction with another snack or meal, but like me, he eats it every day. (For the parents out there who may be wondering about amount, if the average dark chocolate bar is three ounces, he has half an ounce or less in a day. Hopefully that helps you to visualize the quantity!)

Today’s rendition of my power bars also incorporates a touch of pink Himalayan sea salt, which is loaded with minerals. A little bit is ok. 🙂 If I didn’t sell you enough on giving dark chocolate a try, Travis said that these power bars are one of the best things I’ve ever made. So, there’s that. Enjoy!

FORMULA BASE: POWER BARS

Yields 9 square bars*

For the dough:

  • 1 cup uncooked whole grains –> I’m using ¾ cup wheat berries (learn about wheat berries by checking out my multi-grain salad formula) and ¼ cup ground flaxseed.**
  • 1 cup unsweetened dried fruit (without added oil) –> I’m using pitted medjool dates.
  • ½ cup nut or seed butter (nuts/seeds only) –> I’m using sunflower.
  • 2 tbsps natural liquid sweetener –> I’m using agave syrup.
  • Extract and/or spices to taste (optional) –> I’m using 1/8 teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt.

Garnish ideas (up to ½ cup):

  • Raw seeds
  • Raw finely chopped nuts
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Melted dark chocolate to pour over the top (which will re-solidify after chilling) –> I’m using 3 ounces of 72% cacoa + a sprinkle of pink Himalayan sea salt.

*Double the recipe to make double the bars, or, to achieve thicker bars.

**Yes, I know that flaxseed is not a whole grain. Just wanted to add a little texture and different nutrients to the bars today. 🙂

Turn your whole grains into flour using your food processor or blender (my Vitamix has a dry blade pitcher).

Then, combine the flour and your remaining ingredients, except the garnish. Run until a thick, pliable dough forms. You will probably have to scrape down the sides of the processor with a spatula at least once.

Turn the dough out into a mixing bowl. Use your hands to combine half of your garnish (unless it’s melted chocolate) and to break up any clumps of dried fruit and/or butter. Firmly press the dough into an 8 x 8 pan lined with wax paper.

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Evenly distribute the remaining garnish, pressing into/pouring onto the top of the bars.

To melt dark chocolate: Use a double boiler (not the microwave). Fill a sauce pan with about an inch of water and turn it up to medium high heat. Place a glass bowl containing your chocolate on top of the pan. Stir chocolate occasionally until it completely melts. BE CAREFUL OF ANY STEAM COMING UP FROM THE SAUCE PAN.

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Chill the bars for at least 2 hours before cutting into the desired size and shape. Store in the refrigerator.

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