Renee Comet/USA WEEKEND
Show your love by making this healthy alternative to traditional Valentine’s candies.
These dark chocolate truffles are the perfect way to show your love to someone special. Filled with a tantalizing mix of dried apricots and ground almonds, made fragrant with warming spices, then covered in chocolate — they are not only indulgent, they are healthy, too. Think of it as candy with benefits.
Drying fruit concentrates its fiber and potassium. Crunchy almonds bring healthy fats, minerals and vitamin E, and dark chocolate is full of protective antioxidants (as are the spices). All of these nutrients are shown to protect your heart, although not necessarily from Cupid’s arrow.
For a presentation worthy of St. Valentine, put each truffle in a paper candy cup, place in a heart-shaped box and wrap with a big ribbon.
Apricot Almond Truffles
• ˝ cup whole, natural, unsalted almonds
• 1˝ cups dried Turkish apricots
• 1 Tb. honey
• ˝ tsp. ground cinnamon
• ˝ tsp. ground ginger
• 1/8 tsp. salt
• 3 ounces dark chocolate 60% to 70% cocoa solids), chopped
Place the almonds in a dry skillet over a medium-high heat and cook, stirring frequently, until they are toasted and become fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
Put the almonds into a food processor and pulse a few times until the nuts are coarsely chopped. Add the apricots, honey, cinnamon, ginger and salt to the processor; process until the ingredients are finely chopped and begin to stick together, about 45 seconds.
Roll the mixture with your hands into heaping teaspoon-sized balls and set them on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper.
Place a small bowl or double boiler over a saucepan of barely simmering water, over low heat. Place half the chocolate in the bowl and stir until melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the remaining chocolate, stirring until it is melted.
Roll the apricot balls in the melted chocolate, one or two at a time, until they are all covered. Place them back on the waxed paper, and then chill in the refrigerator until set, about 15 minutes. Serve and store at room temperature.
Yield: 20 truffles
Per truffle: 80 calories; 3.5g fat (1g saturated); 1g protein; 12g carbohydrates; 2g fiber; 0mg cholesterol; 30mg sodium
Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Taunton Press Inc., from The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life by Ellie Krieger. Copyright © by Ellie Krieger.