I recently attended a Whole Foods blogger event in Wellesley featuring Chad Sarno, consulting research and development chef for Whole Foods Market and coauthor of the new cookbook Crazy Sexy Kitchen with New York Times bestselling author and cancer survivor Kris Carr. We each received a copy of the cookbook, and after thumbing through it I found a plant-happy collection of vegan recipes, most of which are a half to one-page long with a philosophy toward non-dairy, gluten-free, alkaline, and low-glycemic foods. I appreciated the introductory chapters on cooking basics that guide you through the vitals like various knife cutting techniques and how to prepare whole grains and beans. There are several unusual but easy smoothie concoctions and fresh salad dishes that I'll be sure to test for this blog in the near future.
On this particular night, I was inspired watching Chad whip up quick and delicious creations right before our eyes. He demonstrated an array of 2-bite vegan appetizer recipes (see pic below!) that we lucky bloggers sampled in abundance—one bite after another popped with maxed out flavor.
I decided to recreate his sweet ending of cocoa truffles: a no-cook, no-fuss treat that has my stamp of approval as a healthful dessert! That night Chad didn't provide the recipe and was just throwing in a little of this and that, so later he did email this version below and gave me permission to reprint it. A few notes that it uses almond meal, which is ground up blanched almonds. You can probably make your own, especially as one 16 oz. package of Bob's Red Mill costs a hefty $12.99. The date paste adds natural sweetness; I panicked after blending it because it looked like pure liquid but it thickened up after a few minutes. The final mixture resembles a dry dark chocolate brownie batter. It is very rich and amazing so make the balls small and savor each one! If it tastes too bitter, you can use a bit less cocoa or add some sugar/honey.
Chad Sarno's Cocoa Truffles
1 cup almond meal/flour
1 cup rolled oats, ground into course meal
3 T almond or cashew butter (I used peanut butter)
3/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1 1/4 cup date paste* (or add enough until the mixture binds well)
1 T vanilla extract
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with a wooden spoon until well blended. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- Roll or shape into small balls.
- Coat surface of balls with coconut, cinnamon, Grape Nuts, crushed nuts, smoked salt, or more cocoa. Serve immediately or refrigerate for future munching!
*To make date paste, blend 1 cup of pitted dates with 1 cup water