Happy Valentine’s Day to my lovely friends and family! Ok, now I admit I feel a little embarassed that I’m not going to go all out and make you a chocolate-laden souffle or red-themed something for V-Day, but truth is, I not only made red velvet cupcakes a couple of weeks ago, but also received red velvet cupcakes from my awesome coworker Donna this week (thank you buddy!). And count that fruit tart for Phong’s birthday. I’m all sweeted out!
So I’m making my fruit and nut “truffles” for you instead. Back in October, I went to the American Dietetic Association’s Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo in Chicago. They have this HUGE expo area where all these companies basically hurl free goodies at you, and I made out with things like free cookbooks, snacks, almond tins, etc. My arms got buffer just hauling bags of stuff around for three days straight. One of the free goodies we got were snack bars - now I’m not really a “bar” kind of girl, but I particularly loved the LaraBars, because they were all-natural and just full of great ingredients, like dates, almonds, and cashews. My fave was the Coconut Cream Pie flavor.
So last night, as I was loving my Friday evening of not doing anything and watching The Lakehouse on TV (don’t laugh), I realized I wanted to make a fruit and nut bar similar to what I had at the expo. To make them fancy, I made them into “truffles” and rolled them around in unsweetened coconut or almond meal, just because it was going to be Valentine’s Day. This is also great for my vegan and gluten-free friends out there (and I also have a friend allergic to chocolate, so this may be the only truffle she can eat!). No cholesterol, full of heart-protective monounsaturated fats, fiber, and antioxidants from the dried fruit. Love it.
Fruit and Nut “Truffles”
1 cup dried Black Mission figs, chopped
1/2 cup dried plums, chopped
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup unsweetened dried coconut, toasted
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
2 Tbsp almond meal
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp orange blossom water, optional
Extra almond meal or coconut, to coat truffles
1. Combine the figs, dried plums, brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, and continue to cook until the liquid thickens to a syrupy consistency. Take the pan off the heat.
2. Combine the dried fruit mixture, coconut, walnuts, almonds, almond meal, vanilla extract, and orange blossom water into a food processor. Pulse the mixture a few times until the ingredients are incorporated, about 5-6 pulses.
3. Take out the food processor blade and invert the mixture into a medium bowl. Working with your hands, form about 1-Tbsp sized truffle balls, and roll in extra almond meal or coconut as desired. Place uncovered in the refrigerator in a single layer. The truffles stay moist after refrigerating - serve yourself whenever!