Chocolate Truffles: sumptuously sugar-free!


Coconut has a place in my kitchen in a number of different forms. Shredded coconut isn't just great in granola and macaroons, you can blend it into a butter and boom! It has even more delicious uses. These truffles (which can be raw depending on your choice of ingredients) are just one.
On a nutrition note, it's also worth mentioning that dried coconut is a fantastic source of fibre (more than any grain, and it helps to balance the sugar hit in something sweet), and one of the only vegan sources of brain-supporting HDL cholesterol.

1 1/4 cups organic cocoa powder (plus more for coating)
1 cup maple syrup or raw organic honey
2/3 cup coconut butter* (aka coconut manna)
1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar (trust me!)
1/2 to 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt or grey sea salt (if "salted chocolate" is your jam, do the larger amount)

* directions to make your own coconut butter follow this recipe.

Portion all the ingredients in a food processor and give it a whirl until you've got a uniform mixture. Avoid over-handling the dough -- it will cause the coconut oil to separate out (not a big deal, but not as nice as if it all stays together). If the dough is warm, allow to chill in the fridge for a bit before rolling into balls (a small scoop really helps with this as it can get melty and messy in your hands, fast!). Place the balls on a parchment paper-lined tray, and then one by one, roll them through a small plate of cocoa powder to coat all over.
Allow them to set in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving, or if they've been in the fridge for a while, allow them to warm up at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

Makes a few dozen truffles (it really depends on what size you end up making them!).

Coconut butter

If you have a high-powered blender, coconut butter is inexpensive and easy to make.
Just pour unsweetened shredded coconut into the carafe, and give it a good whirl until smooth. 
4 cups of coconut = 3 1/2 cups coconut butter.

Use it in dessert recipes, smoothies, or as a whole-food non-dairy spread (use it on pancakes, waffles and muffins instead of butter!). Two tablespoons of this stuff has 5 grams of fibre (coconut oil and dairy butter, by comparison, have none).