There are times when I am gripped with inexplicable urges to bake, or create something dessert-ish, and I so I find myself in the kitchen, agonizing over some ridiculous creation until 1 in the morning, determined to produce something edible, even if it means losing hours of precious sleep before I find myself in a different kitchen, on my feet for another nine hours or more, stewing over some other recipe (my job, I mean).
And so that's what happened this past Sunday. I created, and then I brought them to work, and my coworkers loved them, more than I had expected, so I felt compelled to recall my mad midnight experimentation and share the recipe. I've been meaning to post this all week, but, alas, my habitual laziness, combined with the physical exhaustion resultant of working in a restaurant, and also (more probably) my obsession with finding a nicer blog layout (despite numerous failed html codes, endless googling and confusion), has delayed this post until now.
I hope you won't delay in making these, however, as they really are quite delicious. You could probably even get away with eating them instead of meals, especially if you're doing something like serving in a restaurant, running around like a very confused and very dumb bird, sweating in more places than you feel comfortable talking about, and then getting so desperately hungry that you feel prepared to eat your customers' faces off. Or maybe just their food.
Peanut Butter Coconut Truffles
These treats aren't overly sweet, but they're very rich and satisfying, so you won't feel the need to eat much more than one or two to feel satisfied. Perfect for a midday (or midnight) snack!
Peanut Butter Balls
1 1/4 cup Rolled Oats
1/2 cup Chickpeas (cooked, or from a can)
1 tsp Salt
1 cup Dates
1/2 cup water
1 cup Natural Peanut Butter (smooth or chunky)
1 tsp Maple Extract (optional)
1. This step is optional, I just choose to toast my oats because it gives them a delicious nutty flavour. Toast rolled oats, either in an oven at 350˚ or in a frying pan over medium heat. If toasting in the oven, spread on a baking sheet and place on the middle rack, checking the oats every five minutes or so to give them a stir. Once they become golden brown (about 10 - 15 minutes) remove them from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. If toasting in a pan, stir frequently until browned. (Keep a close eye on them - many a time I've burned oats in a pan when I wasn't watching them closely enough. If you start to smell burning oats, take them off the heat immediately).
2. Transfer your oats, chickpeas and salt to a food processor. Process until the chickpeas are ground up with the oats.
3. Place dates and water in a pot and bring to a boil over medium heat, then simmer until most of the water has been absorbed. Add peanut butter and maple extract (if using) and stir to combine. Remove from heat.
4. Add peanut butter mixture to the food processor and process until it forms a dough (it will probably become a giant ball that moves slowly around the food processor).
5. Roll dough into small balls and place on a cookie tray lined with waxed or parchment paper. You can stop here and skip the coating step, and have peanut butter energy balls instead. Just place tray in the freezer for at least thirty minutes, then transfer to a container and store in the fridge.
Coconut Coating (inspired by this recipe)
*Note: I made this without paying any real attention to the amounts, so this is basically a guideline.
1 - 1 1/2 cups Coconut Butter (you could also use coconut oil)
1/4 cup Cashew Butter
1/3 cup Maple Syrup or Honey (or you can use a mix of both, as I did)
1. Place coconut butter (or oil) in a pot and melt over low heat. Stir in the cashew butter and maple syrup/honey.
2. Remove from heat.
3. Working with your hands, scoop out about 1 tbsp of coating mixture and press it onto a peanut butter ball. The mixture will be sticky and difficult to work with, but just be patient, using your fingers to spread it around each pb ball, adding more coating as you need it. Place back on your lined cookie sheet and, once all the truffles have been coated, transfer to the freezer for about an hour. Once the coating has hardened, store the truffles in a sealed container in the fridge or freezer. They will keep well in the fridge for at least a week, and up to a month in the freezer.