Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dried fruit, nut, and coconut truffles recipe

Dried fruit, nut, and coconut truffles
I've alluded to the fact that I've moving and some of you have inquired about my new destination, and I can finally announce that I'll be heading back to Georgia this summer.  I'm incredibly excited for many reasons: 1) I'll be very close to almost all of my family and a lot of my friends, 2) I have a job doing exactly what I want to do, 3) I won't have to put up with winter anymore, and 4) I'll be very close to Atlanta (one of my favorite cities).  It's been a grueling few months of applications, interviews, and decisions (though it was nice to be in the position to have to make decisions), and I wanted to do a backflip when I called to accept the job this week.  Then I realized that I don't know how to do a backflip and would most certainly end up in the hospital if I tried.  So instead, I started cooking.  You see, for the past month and a half, I've been gone for about half of every week.  Academic interviews are a lot of fun (and I've eaten some of the most amazing food I've ever had), but they're tiring and take up an insane amount of time.  I've missed my sanity, but also my kitchen.

Weekend Herb BloggingSo, it was time to try something fun.  What's more fun than truffles?  I had never made truffles before, but a recipe in this month's cookbook of the month caught my eye.  These truffles are very different from what you normally find - they do have a subtle chocolate flavor (from cocoa powder), but mainly consist of dried fruits, including dates, and nuts.  I started cooking with dates about the time I started the blog - I bought several books about cooking with natural sweeteners, and of course dates are perfect for that.  I have now become hooked.  My only problem with dates is that I hate chopping them, but I finally learned that the process is simplified if you cut them up with kitchen shears (just make sure to clean the blades before the date goop becomes too hard).  Luckily, you don't even have to worry about chopping them in this recipe.  I really enjoyed these - they're sweet, but the coconut provides the perfect contrast so that they're not cloyingly sweet.  They're still slightly gooey, but harden up the longer that you refrigerate them.  They were the perfect fun treat to celebrate my eventual return to the south :).  I'm submitting these truffles to Weekend Herb Blogging, which is organized by Haalo from Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once, and hosted by Anna from Anna's Cool Finds this week.

Dried fruit, nut, and coconut truffles (adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health)
(Printable version)

1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pecans
1 cup dates
1 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries (look for ones sweetened with apple juice)
1 cup water
2 tsp orange zest
2 tsp lemon zest
1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 Tbsp honey
1/2 - 1 cup shredded coconut

Toast pecans and walnuts over medium heat in a dry skillet, stirring frequently.  When they become fragrant (about 5-7 min), set them aside and let cool.  Then pour them into your food processor and pulse until they become the consistency of a nut meal (don't overdo it).  Pour this into a mixing bowl and set aside.

Combine dates, apricots, cranberries, and water in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 min.  Reserve the water off of the fruit and add the softened fruit to the food processor.  Pulse until it becomes a paste, adding back some of the cooking water if necessary.

Add the fruit paste, zests, lemon juice, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and honey to the mixing bowl and stir well to combine.  Spread out 1/2 cup coconut (you may need more later) on a small plate, and take a small piece of the mixture (about 1 Tbsp) at a time, and roll it in coconut.  Place each truffle onto a parchment lined baking sheet (they're extremely sticky at this point, so keep them in a single layer).  Once you have rolled out all of the truffles, refrigerate for at least an hour, and store them in the refrigerator if you have leftovers (they keep for a few weeks).  Makes about 3 dozen.


Julia said...

Congrats on the new job and the move!!

Tasty Eats At Home said...

Much congrats! And these truffles sound amazing. I LOVE the citrus zest. Yum!

Anonymous said...

I know exactly how you feel. I moved up to Baltimore back in '01 from Louisiana. Worked up there until '03 and decided I had enough of the winter and really missed the south. I was very glad to get home. Congratulations on getting back home & good luck. This recipe looks great!

Katie said...

Thanks, everyone!