By Ellie Krieger
I'll be whipping up a batch of these swoon-worthy treats this Valentine's Day as an act of self-love. Sure, I'll share with my husband, but since he doesn't buy into the holiday and I am a firm believer in the BYOV (Be Your Own Valentine) approach to life, they will really be a gift to myself.
They are two-bite chocolate-covered confections, which not only offer pure, sensual pleasure, they do so in a better-for-you way, without much added sugar, making them all the more lovable. At their centre is a finely ground blend of buttery, toasted pecans, dried dates and digestive biscuits spiked with a bold, warmly fragrant combination of maple syrup, cocoa powder, strong-brewed coffee and vanilla extract.
That heady mix is rolled into balls and then coated in melted dark chocolate for a truffle-like presentation. Since each ingredient is so familiar, you might think you could easily imagine how a combination of them would taste together. But when I first bit into one, my eyes widened with surprised delight.
Exponentially more than the sum of their parts, the truffle ingredients enhance one another in the most magical, mouthwatering way – just the kind of thing that speaks my love language.
Pecan Mocha Truffles (Serves 6)
1 cup (120g) pecan pieces
3 full sheets digestive biscuits (50g)
¼ cup (35g) coarsely chopped pitted dates
2 tbs maple syrup
1 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbs strong-brewed coffee or espresso
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp kosher salt
⅔ cup (70g) chopped dark chocolate
In a dry medium skillet over medium-high heat, toast the pecans, stirring frequently, until fragrant and darker, about 3 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a plate and let cool completely.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the cooled pecans, digestive biscuits and dates and process until finely ground. Add the maple syrup, cocoa powder, coffee, vanilla and salt and process until combined.
Line a large rimmed baking sheet or large plate with wax paper. Using your hands, roll the pecan mixture into 12 balls, each about 2.5cm in diameter, placing them on the wax paper as they are formed.
Place a large bowl over a pot with 2.5cm or so of barely simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water). Add the chocolate to the bowl and let it melt, stirring occasionally. (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in the microwave by warming it in 20-second intervals, stirring well between each.)
Using two forks, roll each ball into the chocolate, letting any excess chocolate drip off before returning the truffles to the wax paper. Refrigerate, uncovered, until set, about 20 minutes, before eating or storing.