Thursday, August 11, 2011

Recipe: Chocolate Macaroon Truffles

One of the most common search terms on our blog is "sweet rice balls." Who knew that we would write a blog about moving to Kathmandu and end up with a Google footprint for this creation?

Anyway, today I offer you another recipe in this genre, minus the rice. And several other things. In fact, this recipe for raw chocolate macaroon truffles is entirely different from the sweet rice balls, with the exception that the two desserts share the same shape.

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This recipe was first inspired by some overripe bananas taking up precious counter space.

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When bananas begin to brown, I usually peel them, cut them up, and toss them in a ziplock bag in the freezer for smoothies and banana soft serve. Today, though, I decided to do something different because we already had a stockpile of frozen banans. I started thinking about using the overripe bananas in a dessert -- love a good banana muffin -- but we are somewhat limited when it comes to baking because we don't have an oven.

So, moving on. My mind wandered to raw desserts. I have always wanted to try making a raw macaroon, and I already had an unopened bag of shredded, dried coconut in the pantry. I wondered if I could use the overripe (and thus very sweet) bananas in place of maple syrup, honey, or other sweetener in the macaroons. The answer? Yes! But a caveat: bananas in Nepal trend on the very sweet side, so you may want to add a bit of maple syrup, agave nectar, or honey if you are making this recipe with standard bananas.

I based my recipe on this one, but I made some ingredient adjustments and also made a smaller batch, given that this was one big experiment. The recipe itself could not be simpler, and it's a particularly great dessert for hot summers when you do not want to turn on the oven (that is, if you have one. I no longer make such assumptions).

Chocolate Macaroon Truffles (raw, vegan, gluten-free)

INGREDIENTS

1 cup shredded dried coconut
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup mashed overripe banana
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with your hands, forming a large ball of dough.
2. Divide dough into roughly 20 small balls.
3. Freeze, refrigerate, or just eat immediately. All versions are delicious.

Start with 1/2 cup of mashed banana and add additional sweetener at the end if necessary.

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The more cocoa you use, the richer the taste.

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Don't be alarmed that here in Nepal I find coconut oil in the hair products section at the grocery store.

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Though frequently used as a hair oil in South Asia, it is also 100% edible. Promise. (And yes, I know that this stuff is most likely not the same as the cold-pressed extra-virgin coconut oil that I used to buy from Whole Foods, but we don't have Whole Foods here. Did I mention that we don't even have an oven? So I make do with what I've got).

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I was pleasantly surprised to find vanilla extract (er, okay, flavoring) at the grocery store.

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After tossing all the ingredients in a ball and mixing them by hand, the dough comes together.

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One GIANT macaroon.

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Kidding. Here are the bite-sized versions.

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We're pretty pleased over here with the results and are already plotting the next version (peanut butter, maybe?).

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