Sunday, August 7, 2011

On Love and Cookie Dough Truffles

I’ve been known to bake in August, much to my mother’s horror.  August, in Texas, is what I like to call “the indoor season,” for obvious reasons.  I don’t spend the entire month indoors; I still get outside for bike rides and the occasional and quite literal run to Starbucks for coffee beans, but in summertime Texas, the outdoors don’t entice me like they do the rest of the year.  So I spend my time nesting and cooking, waiting out the heat until the cooler days of fall saunter into my life.

I realize that it’s kind of stupid to have the oven and the air-conditioner running at the same time.  I feel dollar bills slipping through my fingers, money seeping out of my apartment on a breeze of baked granola and artificially cooled air.  To my mind, the best strategy is to not think about these things too much because summer is an awfully long season where I live, and it would be a shame to deny myself treats like Roasted Tomato Soup or Crunchy Brown Sugar Granola.  I do tend to avoid turning on the oven at every meal, and I eat a lot of leftovers, so I’m not a complete spendthrift about my energy consumption.  But the smart Texas cook turns to a different set of appliances to survive the summer: a food processor and the freezer.

Making Raw Cookie Dough Balls

I mentioned long, long ago that I would tell you the story of my little food processor.  Back in the Stone Ages, I dated K, who lived in a lovely condo but had no real drinking glasses.  All of his water cups were those giant plastic ones, which was so strange to me because he seemed like a grown-up, but here he was with frat boy kitchen supplies.  He needed grown-up glassware, so for Christmas, I bought him a set of drinking glasses.  They were very heavy, and I lugged them from the store to the L to my apartment, where they sat, gift-wrapped, until K broke up with me in March.  I was deeply disappointed about being dumped, but I was pissed—PISSED!—about those damn drinking glasses, which I would now have to lug back to the store to return.

I was so angry about the stupid glasses that I was filled with superhuman strength as I hauled them back to downtown Chicago.  I stepped up to the return counter, and the clerk asked, “Is there a reason for this return?”  I answered, “They were a gift for someone, but I’m not giving them to him now.”  The clerk, bless his heart, said, “He must have been a jerk,” as he ran my return through the system.  He handed me my receipt, and I realized that the best way to make myself feel better about having been dumped would be to buy myself a present with K’s returned gift!  I’d been thinking about getting a food processor for a while; I had a new cookbook that called for a food processor.  So I bought myself a little Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus.  The Cuisinart and I have now been together for far longer than K and I were together, and I daresay that we’ve been happier together as well.  In June, as I watched Matt making gazpacho using the Cuisinart, I thought about the ways in which our old lives intersect with our current lives.  Not only did K help bring me and the Cuisinart together with his returned gift, he helped bring me and Matt together because it was through dating K that I realized how desperately I needed to be with someone who could listen, empathize, and love in ways that didn’t come naturally to K.  To this day, I think that dumping me is the nicest thing he ever did for me.  Life is funny that way.

The Cuisinart and I have shared many moments together in the kitchen, making pesto and chickpea patties and now, cookie dough truffles.  I first found a recipe for these unbaked dough balls on Oh She Glows; since then, I’ve tinkered with the recipe to come up with something I really love.  Since the end of my Specific Carbohydrate Diet experiment, I’ve had bags of almond flour moping around my freezer, unused.  Swapping almond flour for the cashews in the original recipe seemed like a great opportunity to use up the almond flour before it went bad.

In my first batch of truffles, the only swap I made was almond flour for cashews.  Since then, I’ve dropped the oatmeal because I felt it made the dough gritty, subbing in more almond flour; lowered the salt; mixed up the sweeteners; and experimented with different chocolates.  But every version has been delicious: the dough, though (usually) vegan and relatively nutritious, tastes decadently rich and the texture is very similar to a traditional chocolate chip cookie dough.  It’s really kind of remarkable and a nice trick to have up your sleeve if you are into alternative cooking, such as making vegan or gluten-free treats.  I’ve probably made these truffles half a dozen times this summer, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I make them just as often in this final month or so of summer.  They’re too easy to make! 

Below is my favorite iteration of this sweet, along with a few notes to help you play with the recipe to your heart’s content.

Cookie Dough Truffles

Cookie Dough Truffles

Adapted from this recipe on Oh She Glows

Makes about 12-14 truffles

A few notes, just for fun:

* I’ve made versions of this recipe with honey and maple syrup; they seem pretty interchangeable to me.

* You could use a pinch or two more of the salt if you like, but I think I’m happiest with 1/4 tsp.

* I think this could easily be made gluten-free and grain-free by substituting a different flour for the pastry flour.  Perhaps coconut flour?  Or you could try going up to 1 cup almond flour and adding a bit of flax egg.  If I went that route, I’d start with 1/2 tbsp. ground flax mixed with 1 1/2 tbsp. water.

* My other favorite version of this recipe uses half of a Chocolove bar of Orange Peel in Dark Chocolate.  The orange peel is so delicious and adds this wonderful crunch to the truffles.  They are addictively good!  Consider yourself warned.  

3/4 cup almond flour

1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

2 tbsp. granulated sugar

1 1/2 tbsp. honey

1/2 tbsp. water

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup chocolate chips

1)  In a food processor, combine the almond flour, pastry flour, salt, and granulated sugar.  Buzz to combine.

2)  Add the honey, water, and vanilla.  Buzz to let the ingredients come together into a doughy consistency.

3)  Add the chocolate chips, and buzz to combine them into the dough.

4)  Scrape the dough into a small bowl.  Use your hands to shape the dough into bite-sized balls.  Tuck them into a container that you can seal tightly, and store them in the freezer.

Raw Cookie Dough Balls


Shannon said...

i haven't played with coconut flour enough yet, but that absorbs more moisture than other flours i think, so might be a tough to sub 1-1. i just whirred up a bunch of different kinds of balls (ha.) to use up a package of dates that had been hanging out in my fridge for too long! can't recall if i've tried these yet, but will have to... someday?

Rosiecat said...

Shannon, I didn't know that about coconut flour! Interesting--I wonder why it absorbs so much moisture.

Mmm, dates. A long time ago, I made some no-bake balls with dates, pecans, peanut butter, and honey. They were super-rich but so delicious...I should make them again and then I'd have a stash in the freezer!

Chrissy (The New Me) said...

What a lovely little story! I think this is one of my favorite posts yet. And catching up on your blog with a glass of wine is one of my favorite ways to spend an evening in. :)

Rosiecat said...

Aw, thanks, Chrissy! I'm especially flattered that this blog goes well with wine :-) I'm also a big fan of unwinding by catching up on my blog reading.