Are you looking for something special to make for your Valentine (or yourself!) that’s also good for you? My Cherry Filled Chocolate Date Truffles are the answer!
These little treats will never let on that they’re healthy! They are ooey-gooey chocolaty, sticky-sweet divinity, and with a gushing cherry in the middle. Who doesn’t love that?! They remind me a bit of a cordial cherry, but softer, with a more balanced sweetness. Chocolate and cherry are a classic combo! Plus, they’re easily customized!
How to Make Chocolate Date Truffles
Besides how delicious these are, I really love how easy they are to make! Just a handful of wholesome ingredients in a food processor, and you’re most of the way there!
For this healthy Valentine’s Day dessert, I used deglet noor dates. They’re nice and soft, and I can get giant bags at my local Costco; I love that (because I love to snack on them sometimes, too!). You can use any kind of date, though. Just make sure you remove any pits, and roughly chop them if they’re large.
I chose walnuts because of their awesome heart healthy qualities. I prefer them toasted, but raw would work too. If you don’t like walnuts, you can use any kind of nut – though if you pick almonds I’d recommend grinding them up first. If you want to make it nut free, choose sunflower seeds or another seed you like.
Use whatever cocoa powder you have on hand. If you’re buying more, I recommend Dutch processed cocoa. It has a milder flavor than natural cocoa. Of course you can use natural cocoa – just be aware your truffles may be a little more bitter, which you might not mind!
Now the chia and flax seeds. Grind them together in a spice grinder or coffee grinder before you add them to your food processor. I tried just tossing them in whole at first, thinking they would grind up in the mixture, but they didn’t, and the truffles were really seedy. Tasted great, still, but the little seeds tend to get stuck in my teeth, and I don’t like that. Plus, we can’t really digest them (meaning we can’t get their awesome nutrition) whole.
Vanilla extract to balance out the flavors. Once you have all those things in the food processor, just pulse it to start breaking everything down, and then process on high until it is very thick. Now you can add a little water, a tablespoon at a time, while it’s running until you get a thick batter. Don’t thin it too much! You want to be able to mold it, and it needs to be sticky for that.
You’ll want a pair of plastic exam gloves for molding. Like the kind your doctor or dentist wears to examine you. You can find them at pharmacies in the medical supplies area. Trust me on this. Otherwise, it just sticks to your hands and it’s almost impossible – not to mention frustrating – to form it into balls. (Voice of experience talking here!)
Now (and not before now!) take the cherries out of the freezer. This is 100% the best way to get those little buggers in there with all their juices. If the cherries are even slightly thawed, the juice runs everywhere, makes a huge mess, and then there’s no juice inside the truffles. It won’t take long for the cherries to thaw inside the truffles.
To assemble these, use a tablespoon, and scoop out some of the batter. Form it into a little bowl shape. Do the same with another tablespoon of batter. Now place one cherry inside one of the “bowls” and place the other “bowl” on top. Seal the two sides together, and smooth out the ball so there are no cracks that juice could leak out of.
Now you can roll your truffle in whatever you like! I recommend cocoa powder, shredded coconut (wouldn’t it be fun to dye it pink?!), or crushed nuts like almonds or even pistachios. The sky is the limit! Tell me in the comments what you roll yours in!
These will keep in the refrigerator for a few days – if they even last that long!
I love dates for their natural caramel-like sweetness. Because they’re a whole food, they’re full of fiber and other nutrients that refined sugar just doesn’t have. They boast a good amount of potassium, magnesium, and manganese as well. Because they are a dried fruit, they are a little high on the calorie side, so be sure to consume them in moderation. These chocolate date truffles are a great way to eat them!
Walnuts are well known for their heart healthy benefits. They are high in heart healthy fats, mostly in the form of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids (polyunsaturated fats). In addition, they’re a good source of manganese and copper. Walnuts seem to be helpful in decreasing total cholesterol levels, LDLs, and triglyceride levels (1).
Even though all that fat is the heart healthy kind, it still makes walnuts high in calories – another food to consume in moderation. Just 1/4 of walnuts has almost 200 calories!
You’ve no doubt heard of the supposed health benefits of chocolate. But those benefits don’t really apply to chocolate bars. Unless you’re eating the darkest of dark chocolate, all the extras you get along with that cocoa, like cocoa butter, whole milk, and sugar, can negate the healthy effects.
But adding cocoa powder to otherwise healthy foods, like these chocolate date truffles, can enhance heart health! Cocoa has been found to be overall anti inflammatory, probably due to its high antioxidant content. Research on other effects cocoa may have on the heart is conflicting. So for now, choose the darkest chocolate you can (the darker the chocolate, the more antioxidants it contains), and consume small amounts at a time.
Chia Seeds and Flax Seeds
Chia seeds and flax seeds are excellent binders, because they absorb water and become gel-like. That helps hold these treats together. That same property may help them decrease your cholesterol!
They are both excellent sources of fiber, and contain mainly omega-3 fats. Chia seeds do have a notable amount of calcium and manganese, while flax is high in thiamin, magnesium, and manganese. Both seeds have a tough outer layer that is hard for us to digest. Flax more so, but both seeds transfer far more nutrition when they are ground.
Chia and flax are both excellent high fiber egg replacers in baked goods, too. To replace one egg, simply allow one tablespoon of the ground seed to sit in 3 tablespoons water for a few minutes to gel.
If you make these, let me know in the comments! I love hearing from you!
Cherry Filled Chocolate Date Truffles
These little treats are so decadent and yet so healthy. They're perfect for Valentine's Day or absolutely any time! Chocolaty, creamy, nutty, with a little pop of cherry inside. What's not to love! Leave the cherries in the freezer until right when you need them – it will make them much easier to work with!
- 1 2/3 cup pitted Dates
- ½ cup Toasted Walnuts (or Sunflower Seeds to make nut free)
- 5 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 2 Tbsp Flax Seeds, ground
- 2 Tbsp Chia Seeds, ground
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract (or Almond extract)
- 2-3 Tbsp Water, as needed
- 12 Frozen Cherries
- For finishing: Cocoa powder, shredded coconut, crushed almond pieces, etc.
Add the first 6 ingredients to a food processor or blender, and process on high until well blended, scraping down sides as needed.
Add water, a tablespoon at a time, to the running blender/food processor, until the mixture forms a thick, dough-like consistency.
Using plastic gloves, measure out 1 tablespoon of the mixture, and carefully form it into a bowl shape. Repeat with another tablespoon of the mixture.
Place one frozen cherry in one of the dough "bowls", and place the other on top. Carefully seal the two bowls together, to form a sphere. Smooth out the sphere so no liquid can leak out.
Roll the truffle in cocoa powder, shredded coconut, crushed almonds, or anything else you desire.
Repeat with remaining mixture.