An easy 4-ingredient recipe for a surprisingly healthy treat!
My mom’s birthday fell on Thursday: two days after she started her new job, the same day of my dad’s critical 8-hour meeting, and the day before he flew to NYC. She planned ahead, buying her own birthday present the previous weekend and handing it to Dad for him to wrap and give, but because of their hectic work schedules, they “celebrated” with take-out on the couch in front of a Duraflame log fire.
Although Mom claimed, “I don’t need to celebrate—I’m not aging this year!” I still drove down Saturday to spend the afternoon with her. Over our favorite blueberry coffee cake, I surprised her with chocolate candles (they smell shockingly realistic!) and inspirational salad plates tucked inside a lavender gift bag. After nestling our leftovers in their crowded fridge, we watched Elf, decorated my dog with a festive blinking-light Christmas collar, and blitzed through stores searching for winter sweaters and stocking stuffers.
While waiting my turn in the long line at Kohl’s, my eyes wandered to their checkout stand displays. Packed with shiny bags of creamy Godiva chocolate truffles and peppermint bark, each one begged to be placed in my basket and taken home. At the Walmart next door, boxes of Ferrero Rocher hazelnut chocolates threatened to topple on my head as I balanced precariously on my tiptoes to inspect the Gingerbread M&Ms. And we vowed not to visit the mall; See’s dark chocolate truffles always called our names too loudly to resist!
Instead of indulging in those pricy, calorie-laden chocolates (well, for now at least… I can’t make any promises about Christmas Day!), I created my own healthier alternative: Dark Chocolate Peppermint Truffles. These rich, fudgy balls taste just as decadent but are secretly skinny, dairy-free and clean-eating friendly!
With the centers of my chocolate-filled wheat rolls as inspiration, I only used 4 ingredients for these low-fat truffles: cocoa powder, applesauce, honey, and peppermint extract. That’s it! Nothing fancy, and not one drop of heavy cream or melted chocolate. You probably store most of these things in your pantry already!
Although applesauce is included, you cannot taste it at all. Along with the honey, it acts as the glue to hold the truffles together, as well as providing a little natural sweetness. There are no fruit flavors in these skinny truffles—just lots of peppermint and dark chocolate!
For vegan truffles, substitute the honey with light corn syrup or agave. With its thick viscous texture, the corn syrup will better imitate the honey, but if following a clean-eating diet, opt for the agave instead.
To add to this recipe’s simplicity, no heating is required either. Like I mentioned, there’s no chocolate to melt and no cream to warm. All of the mixing is done at room temperature. Just measure each ingredient into a bowl, stir until combined, and stick in the fridge to chill. It’s the easiest chocolate truffle recipe you’ll ever make!
To form the truffles, roll a heaping tablespoon of the chocolate mixture between your palms to shape it into a ball. The chocolate may stick to your hands a bit, but it washes off easily with warm water. (Go ahead, sneak a taste—I won’t judge!) Place each sphere on wax paper or in mini muffin paper liners for a pretty presentation, and leave them in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Chilling helps maintain their circular shape and intensifies the minty taste.
Although I stuck with a simple appearance, try coating them in extra cocoa powder or confectioner’s (powdered) sugar for a polished look. I also contemplated rolling them in crushed candy canes or peppermint bark for an extra minty taste. That red and white layer would look really striking against the dark chocolate truffles!
Without revealing anything about these Dark Chocolate Peppermint Truffles, I presented them to Mom for her approval. As she sunk her teeth into the center of one of the decadent treats, her eyes widened. “They’re only 27 calories??” she asked. “Did you use a sugar substitute to reduce the calories?”
I grinned and revealed the recipe. “They’re just as rich as regular ones made with melted chocolate and heavy cream,” she declared. “They’re going to be one of the most popular recipes on your blog!”
I wonder if she’ll be right!