Thursday, 7 April 2016

Chocolate orange date truffles

Food presents are my favourite. Among the best I've received in recent years: vanilla beans from Bali, a catering-size container of corn relish from Tasmania, biscotti baked in one hemisphere and mailed to another, home-roasted coffee beans, a dozen hot cross buns from my favourite Hobart bakery, a tin of homemade biscuits to last through Christmas and beyond, my mother's green pawpaw chutney (which I'm lucky enough to have a lifetime supply of thanks to her obsessive need to bottle everything she ever grew), and last week, a huge haul of premium grade cocoa from my American cousin Amy, transported across the Pacific Ocean and lugged halfway around Australia by her parents, who've been out here visiting. To thank them for being such good-natured cocoa-mules, I wanted to make them something with it to say thank you. I wanted to make something the gluten-free giver of the gift could eat, even if she wouldn't get to taste this particular batch (her folks are heading home on a three week cruise). Something to showcase the cocoa, in all its dark, bitter beauty. Happily I had just the recipe. It required only a handful of ingredients, all easily available: dates, orange, walnuts and cocoa. Blended together, rolled in extra cocoa to make an elegant truffle that just so happens to be gluten-free and dairy-free too. There's no refined sugar but the natural sweetness of the date and the orange in combination with the richness of the nuts and the cocoa create a taste not unlike the very best dark chocolate... which if you've recently OD'd on supermarket-grade milk chocolate Easter eggs, you will appreciate all the more. Just like a thoughtful gift*. 

* special shout out to my friend George too, for the beautiful plate these truffles sit on, which may not be edible but makes anything that goes near it infinitely more so.

Chocolate orange date truffles
Adapted from Dinner was Delicious

I used fresh dates as I was feeling luxurious but I'm sure dried would work too. If you don't have walnuts to hand, you could substitute any other oily nut like pecans or cashews.

1 1/2 cups pitted dates 
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup cocoa powder, plus another 1/2 cup for dusting
1 tablespoon orange zest
2-4 tablespoons orange juice

Using a food processor or blender, combine the dates, nuts, 1/2 cup cocoa and orange zest til everything is chopped up finely. Add orange juice a tablespoon at a time til the mixture reaches a nice dense consistency that lends itself to being scooped up and rolled in a ball. If too sticky, add more cocoa. If too dry, more orange juice.

Pat into truffle-size balls and roll in extra cocoa.

Keep in the fridge in an airtight container or under some plastic wrap.   



  1. That is a beautiful plate. Good cocoa powder is hard to come by, I usually have to make do with supermarket stuff

  2. Unbelievable!!!! It was worth carrying the cacao to you my sweet. Thank you. These are deeeevine!

  3. They look gorgeous Alice.

  4. Chocolate and orange. Yes!