chocolate nut butter truffles

tray1It’s late afternoon on a very warm Saturday in Perth. I’m curled up on the couch in comfy slacks, tapping on blackened keys whilst being continuously nudged by the wet nose of Loki. He’s a little bit sick of my passion for writing this week. It’s detracted my attention from his quick brown paws and beckoning eyes on multiple occasions. He’s taken to alternate strategies for attention, like dropping things off the back of the couch onto my head, keyboard or the timber-clad kitchen floor. I become easily engrossed when I write, so… let’s just say I’ve learned certain things the hard way. Like the level of attention required when holding hot tea.

Anyway, the intention of this post was not to continue rambling about Loki (though he did visit the vet yesterday and I did trim his wispy grandpa beard). Rather, I just want to share in a sentimental fashion about life, the universe and everything that’s been significant over the past couple of weeks.

Including peanut butter, because… well, peanut butter. You get me, right?

bowl

If you’re a regular reader of the Mess, you’d be aware that I’ve been in a bit of a funk over the past twelve months. Certain events led to maudlin thoughts and general pessimism which in turn informed some melancholic narratives. Well, enough is enough. It’s a new year and I’m done with subjugation and general inertia. There’s something beautiful happening in my consciousness which is inextricably linked to mindfulness and positivity.

Yep, I said it. Positivity as a cognitive strategy. I should probably have forewarned you of the cliched #inspo territory but it works, people, particularly when mixed with gratefulness and acceptance (that’s when the mindfulness comes in). I’m letting myself embrace each moment for its individual benefits, discomfort and impermanence. The cloud is finally lifting.

pot

In reflection, these realisations are rather comical, seeing as I’m a social worker by formal training. I’m used to dialogues of self care, impermanence and resilience on a daily basis. For other people, not me, akin to a plumber who never fixes his own dripping tap (due to post-work fatigue, lack of impetus, general excuses and probably a touch of laziness).

I’m therefore claiming this bojon period (thanks Alanna!) as a time to transition theory to practice. I’m excited. Life is good.

And you know what? So am I.

ing2mix dough

So, back to the recipe below. Let’s call them ‘little balls of happiness’ (‘nut butter’ somehow translates into ‘happy’ for me) to be shared with the best of friends. In past decades, I would have made these with just peanut butter and a pile of powdered sugar (as per the original peanut butter ball) however both age and wisdom have inspired the reinvention of this much-loved treat.

This incarnation contains just 100% natural nut butter, powdered peanut butter (see my notes below regarding PB2 nutrition vs. peanut flour), maple syrup and non-dairy dark chocolate with a touch of sea salt (the use of Bahen & Co cracked coffee bar also contributes the crunch of a bitter coffee bean here and there). Mixed nut butters also contribute added nutrition from calcium-rich tahini, omega-3 rich pure-state Super Spread and protein-rich peanut butter.

I was even going to go as far as using raw chocolate (such as the coating on my salted tahini date caramel slice) instead of melted dark chocolate but, well… it’s a little less stable in the summer heat.

And I’m intending on sharing these happy treats far and wide.

tray2Chocolate Nut Butter Truffles

Makes 28

Filling:

  • 1 cup 100% natural nut butter (I used a mixture of Mayver’s crunchy peanut butter, hulled tahini and Original Super Spread)
  • 2 tbsp dark roast peanut flour or powdered peanut butter* (I used PB2), plus a little extra if required
  • 3-4 tbsp pure maple syrup, to taste
  • pinch of sea salt flakes
  • water, if required (for correct consistency)

Coating:

  • 200g good-quality dark chocolate (I used 75g Bahen & Co cracked coffee for a touch of depth mixed with 125g plain 70% cocoa non-dairy dark chocolate)
  • flaked sea salt, to sprinkle (optional)

In a medium bowl, mix together the nut butters and maple syrup until well combined. Taste and add a little sea salt if desired. Sprinkle in the powdered peanut butter, then mix until you have a smooth ‘dough’. Here’s where you need to use your instincts: the mix should be soft and cohesive (see image below), not dry or crumbly (if you experience the latter then add a few drops of water and mix again). If your mix is too wet, oily and/or sticky, sprinkle in a little more powdered peanut butter and mix again.

doughball

When the mix reaches the right consistency, roll teaspoonfuls of the mixture into balls and place onto a lined baking tray. Refrigerate or freeze for 15-20 minutes.

balls

Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl (preferably glass) over a pot of gently simmering water until smooth and glossy. Remove from the heat and place on a stable surface. Using two forks, drop each frozen ball of nut butter dough into the melted chocolate mixture, roll until evenly coated, then pick up, allowing excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl (I’m not a perfectionist when it comes to this process, however if you’d like perfectly glossy truffles invest in a truffle dipper or follow this Saveur tutorial). Carefully place back onto your cold lined baking tray. Sprinkle with a few flakes of sea salt (optional).

Carefully return the baking tray to the refrigerator until the truffles have set.

inside

pb2

*Powdered peanut butter (in this case, PB2) is basically peanut flour (peanuts that have been pressed/defatted to remove most of the oil content) with additional salt and sugar. It’s a processed, imported product with added refined sugar so it goes against three of my key principles of eating (whole foods, refined sugar free, locally produced and/or grown) but for some reason I was curious enough to purchase it.

It’s not terrible; it’s still relatively low in sugar (1.0g per 2 tbsp serving as opposed to average 3.0g for traditional peanut butter), has no trans fats (much better than Jif or Skippy, which contain hydrogenated soybean and palm oils – basically trans fats – and emulsifiers) and reports being non-GMO (see Bell Plantation’s FAQ’s).  It’s a little grainy and dry when mixed with water (as per the suggestion for reconstituted peanut butter) but works well as an agent to soak up natural nut oils (such as in the recipe above) and/or to mix into baked goods and sauces.

If you’ve got peanut flour on hand, I’d totally recommend using it as an alternative to the PB2 in this recipe. However, use of either powdered peanut butter or peanut flour will work similarly to create a dough-ish consistency with increased protein and peanut butter flavour. It’s useful to note that traditional buckeye candy and peanut butter truffles use a hell of a lot of powdered sugar to the same effect (somewhere between 2-3 cups per cup of peanut butter) so whether you use peanut flour or powdered peanut butter with the natural sweetener, you’re still winning.

pb22

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35 responses

  1. I’m glad you’re finding yourself in a better place. The wonderful thing about mindfully looking for the positives is that life just keeps getting better, in those lovely upward spirals that Barbara Fredrickson so famously talks about. Go you!! ☺️

    • Very true lovely! Thanks so much for the encouragement. I can see that we’ve both found some similar benefits re meditation and mindfulness, so difficult to sustain but so worth it! Sending you hugs, may this year be a great one! xx

  2. I admire the direction you are taking with regards to the food you put in your body, What I love about these sort of treats is that they look and seem decadent without any guilt. You know you are eating something that does a body good. Very nice Laura and glad to see you back!

    • Thank you so much lovely! It’s lots of fun being back, let’s just hope I can sustain things past January haha! Loki will hate it but he’s also got lots more time with me at the moment whilst I’m off work. So it’s a balance, methinks ;)

    • It’s an interesting idea! I definitely wouldn’t swap it as a low fat alternative to normal peanut butter (it just doesn’t have the same creaminess, though the peanut butter flavour is ok) but it’s fun to bake and experiment with! Thanks lovely, hope you’re well! x

  3. I am all for the positivity! And also am all for these but butter truffles. There is something similar her in the states called “Buckeyes” – but yours look much better!

    • Yes I’ve read about buckeyes! They’re named after a nut, is that right? I think they’re similar to the peanut butter ball recipes that I read, except that the chocolate is dipped differently. They’re pretty stuffed full of powdered sugar too… which I would have adored as a child but my sweet tooth ‘doth protest too much’ these days ;)
      Thanks David!

  4. Laura, negativity is an awful thing – I know because I get caught up in it more than too often. I’m glad that you’re stepping out of it, very glad indeed. And I can also relate that with my “academic upbringing” as a pharmacist, I tend to care a great deal about other people, and then not give enough love to myself. What lovely little balls of happiness, they look delicious and awfully complicated to shape, lol. Lets make sure that we stay in positivity and happiness this year to make it a great one. xxx

    • Sorry for the late reply to this Sofia, I completely agree that most people who gravitate towards health careers have a tendency to ‘give’ too much (as in, we put our own needs and self-care behind that of our clients or friends!). Occupational hazard. Definitely glad that both of us are working towards positivity, calm, health and happiness this year! Sending you hugs. Do you still think you’ll head back to Aus some time this year? xxx

  5. yum! these DO look like little balls of happiness!!
    anything with peanut butter and I’m there :) delicious work Laura!

    and yay for positivity! happy 2016!! all the best for the new year :)
    xx

    • Bec! Hello lovely! Sorry I took so long to reply to this, hope that you are doing well! Are you splitting your time between Australia and the UK these days? I need to catch up on your news! xx

  6. So glad, Laura, the things are sunnier for you– It’s so good to hear. And these treats look super!! I’ve never in my life heard of powdered peanut butter! How else could I use it?? I’m thinking!! I’ll have to put out an online search. Hope this year ahead is the best! xo

    • Haha, it’s an American invention I think! Just a twist on peanut flour. Some smart cookie realised that peanut flour contained the peanut taste but much less fat/calories because the oil is extracted to make it ‘powdery or floury’ you could say. And boom… powdered peanut butter appeared! It only started being stocked in Australia a couple of months ago so it’s new to me too :) As for other uses, I’d probably just recommend using it for baking. I don’t really like it as a peanut butter substitute (not oily enough, how is the irony!) but I am going to experiment a bit more with banana milkshakes and smoothies too. I think it’d be good. Thanks lovely Rhonda! xx

  7. Hey Laura! Sorry you missed me here but I was ill. Now, I am back to see what yummy posts that I have missed,..so many!
    I made those lovely treats & loved them so much! Divine! xxx

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