For the past few months, I’ve been taking Fran Costigan’s Essential Vegan Desserts course with Rouxbe. I did Rouxbe’s Plant-Based Professional course a two years ago, and I absolutely loved it. Eager to learn more, I signed up for Fran’s class as soon as it was offered. While I consider myself to be pretty good at coming up with savory recipes, I struggle with creating my own dessert dishes. Baking has always been too much of a science for my artist’s brain.
The course teaches the fundamentals of vegan baking, and I have learned a lot. There are a lot of little details that I didn’t know before. Did you know that muffins and cupcakes should be baked on the top rack in the oven so they come out with nicely domed tops? Because of the homework, I’ve been eating a lot of sweets, and my freezer is stocked full of baked goods.
For the course’s final assignment, students are tasked with throwing a dessert party and making five different types of bite-sized vegan treats. I decided to have a Valentine’s Day chocolate party. I made a few of Fran’s recipes for the project, but since I’m taking the class to be able to create my own dessert recipes, I also came up with several of my own treats. These Vegan Chocolate-Almond Date Truffles are one of my creations.
These date truffles are soft and chocolaty, without being overly sweet. They’re so easy to make that you’ll feel like you’re cheating, and they’re easily customizable to suit your tastes. If you don’t like almonds, you can use another nut or coconut. You can add a little liqueur instead of almond extract. And you can roll the truffles in other types of coatings, such as hemp seeds, sesame seeds, or cocoa powder.
These little treats are perfect to serve your sweetie (or yourself!) this Valentine’s Day.
- ½ cup raw almonds
- 1 ½ cups medjool dates (about 12), pitted and soaked in water for about half an hour
- ⅓ cup raw cacao powder or natural cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- pinch of sea salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped cacao nibs
- 2 tablespoons toasted almonds, chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
- Place the raw almonds in a food processor, and process until they’re crumbly, resembling a fine meal.
- Add the dates, cacao powder, vanilla extract, almond extract, and sea salt. Process until well combined and smooth. The mixture should stick together easily. If it’s too dry, add a little water, a tablespoon at a time.
- Spoon the mixture into a bowl. Scoop out the mixture by the tablespoonful and roll into 1-inch balls.
- Place the coatings in to shallow dishes, and roll the truffles until well coated.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready serve.