These truffles are completely chocolate free, using the much underrated and underused carob. When I started my quest for an interesting carob recipe, my boyfriend screwed his face up in disgust. After a childhood of carob treats due to an eccentric mother who had a passion for looking after her children’s health, his opinion is that there is no substitute for chocolate. I have proved him wrong. They do have a fair amount of peanut butter and honey, which will cancel out the benefit of carob being so low in fat. However, carob is a source of protein and calcium and does not contain stimulants often found in chocolate e.g. caffeine and theobromine. Pure carob powder is an alternative for those with dairy or gluten intolerances and allergies. Because it is naturally sweet, less sugar is needed when baking with carob and it is palatable in its natural form (unlike cocoa which is very bitter in its raw form).
Don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate but it is nice to try an alternative, especially one with so many positive nutritional properties.
Note: Carob drops may contain dairy, so I recommend reading the packet.
makes approx 24 truffles--
¾ cup peanut butter (I used salt free)
½ cup carob powder
½ tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa
¼ cup roasted and chopped nuts
¼ cup chopped dried fruit
Add the peanut butter, carob powder, cinnamon, honey and vanilla to a food processor. Process until the mixture is well combined.
Add the chopped nuts and fruit and pulse until evenly distributed through the mix. Then add the quinoa, mix and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Roll mixture into balls. If you are using different coatings, roll balls for the coconut and carob powder about the size of a cherry tomato and the balls for the ganache a bit smaller. The ganache is a much thicker coating and this will method will ensure all the balls are all of similar size, no matter what the coating.
Coconut and carob powder coatings
Place the coconut and carob powder in bowls and roll the balls.
Ganache coating (if you can eat dairy)
As carob does not have the properties of chocolate, it is a little harder to work with. Place ½ cup carob drops/chips/buttons in a bowl over a simmering pot of water (bain-marie). Don’t let the water rapidly boil; just a slow simmer (rapidly boiling can cause the carob to seize). When the carob has nearly melted (there may be a couple of lumps), take the bowl off the heat and add a little walnut, almond or a light-flavoured oil. Don’t use standard olive oil as the flavour will be too strong. Stir the oil, little by little until a melted chocolate consistency has been achieved. Put the ganache back over the heat if you still have lumps.
I recommend covering the balls in all three of the coatings. As well as looking impressive having different truffles, the ganache is a little trickier so it will save time.
Add 1 Tbsp rum instead of the vanilla (adding a little more carob powder if the mixture is too wet).
Use almond butter instead of peanut butter (almond butter is available from health food shops and some supermarkets but is more expensive than peanut butter)
If you don’t want to use fruit, use more toasted nuts or sunflower and sesame seeds.