Amaretto Darkness Protein Truffles

They say you shouldn’t mix water with chocolate.  They are usually correct.  But not always 🙂

Last week, I decided I would spend seven days … a whole week … abstaining from all things chocolate.  No chocolate, no cacao, not even in my post-workout protein shake.  I would not even work with chocolate in the kitchen.  No melting, tempering, dipping, or coating of any kind.  Just to see what would happen.  You see, I can’t imagine a life without cacao.  The stars would dim and die.  The air would grow thin.  My universe would implode.  Totally.   I love it that much.

But what does that mean?  What is the source of this passion?  Food cravings or a genuine love of the bean?

I’m currently eating and training to gain quite a lot of lean tissue, without gaining fat.  Big ask.  A seriously big ask for me.  Honestly, it would be a lot easier if I just popped down to my local butcher and bought kilos of trimmed eye fillet steak and made a skirt to wear.  Except that this would be insane.  In a Lady Gaga kind of insanity I’m just not prepared for now 😀  So, I literally force feed myself because training is, by comparison, the easy part.  I’ll always turn up for a workout unless I’m seriously incapacitated.   Eat eat eat it is then.  But I love to experiment with my diet.  Going sugar-free isn’t so hard.  Despite my love of baking, I don’t have the sweet tooth I once had, and limiting or eliminating refined sugars isn’t that big a deal for me.  I feel great.  Forget all the hyperbole about going sugar-free.  The best part?  You start to appreciate the natural sweetness in foods you may not initially think of as being sweet.  But chocolate?  If you follow this blog, you know I love the good stuff … and I like it really dark.  It’s clear I’m not addicted to the sugar.  So what am I addicted to?  The magnesium?  Maybe. 

What did I discover during that week?

I’m not actually addicted to eating chocolate.  I didn’t have any cravings to eat chocolate at all.  In the first few days I found myself reaching for it, but thinking “I don’t actually want to eat it, I just need to know it’s there”.

Ahhh.  Reassurance.

Let me give you some context.  I have over ten kilograms of chocolate and cacao in my house at any given time, spread across three rooms, often in full view.  Yes, I really really really love my chocolate.  Yet, I was able to abstain from consuming it, without a hitch.  Yes.  Even I’m impressed.  But I missed it’s company.  I felt like I’d betrayed my best friend.  Like I was giving it the cold shoulder.  I was despondent.  We were such a good team.  I even apologised to a bag of Valrhona couverture (the Araguani, my fave).  Yes, that’s pathetic, and yes, I did do that.   But I survived the week intact.  With the knowledge that I’m more emotionally attached to cacao than is probably normal, and I do appreciate it’s aromas and flavours and subtlety, but it’s not a food craving of mine.

So now?  I’m happy to have my chocolate and appreciate it even more, but I find I’m eating much less of it.  Since getting back on the cacao choo-choo train, I’ve only had two squares of chocolate (the divine Michel Cluizel Vila Gracinda … it’s like warm buttered toast).   But I feel good about being around it again and playing with it in the kitchen.  The aroma of melted chocolate, of fresh cacao when you toss truffles into it, to coat them … I’m a happy camper again.

With a genuine, passionate love of the cacao bean.  Validated.  I don’t care if it’s weird.  There are worse things one could do … like make clothing out of steak, for instance 😉

Truffles.  That’s my mission this week.  Because I’m on my health kick and need to cram in some more protein when my appetite isn’t looking, protein truffles sound like a damn fine idea.  Low in saturated fat and low carb … almost no carb one might say.   So I can scoff them any day.

I wanted them to be as creamy as possible without adding anything creamy to them.   A blend of micellar casein and rice protein isolate gives you a sweet creaminess and soft texture.  I love Amaretto so I added a little almond and natural almond extract.  OK I added quite a bit of almond extract … and water.  You can use almond milk or dairy milk if you like.  But water works really well and doesn’t distract from the flavour.  The casein adds a nice creamy flavour anyway.   The addition of a little cacao butter doesn’t add a lot of fat but it does add a little depth to the chocolatey-ness, flavour, and texture.  You can adapt these to any flavour you like using other nuts, adding pure peppermint oil instead of the almond extract, or a little coffee, spices, chilli, anything.  You could also dip these in some dark chocolate but that would impact on the macros.

They’re very intensely chocolate and amaretto flavoured and, considering the lack of any sweetener, they are sweet enough.  Delish.  The sea salt is enough to intensify the chocolate and bring out the sweetness of the nuts and protein powders.  If you are a slave to your sweet tooth and need more, add a little sweetener of your choice.

Proper truffles coming up soon.

Macros are provided at the end of the recipe.  A serving of three truffles provides 113 kCals, 9.3g protein, 7.8g fat (1.2g sat), 1.8g carbs (0.6g sugars), and 2.4g dietary fibre.

Makes 24 standard truffles (or make large ones)

Ingredients
30 grams unsweetened cacao (raw or good quality)
30 grams unflavoured micellar casein* (I use Professional Whey Micellar Casein)
30 grams unflavoured brown rice protein* (I use SunWarrior)
40 grams almond meal
55 grams 100% almond butter
12 grams cacao butter**
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, bean paste, or seeds from 1 vanilla bean
1/2 – 1 teaspoon natural almond extract/essence (I use two!)
a pinch of sea salt
water (or almond milk)

*If using a flavoured casein, I’d recommend chocolate or vanilla.  The same is true for the brown rice protein.

** Cacao butter is the fat in the cacao bean.  It is much more widely available now, particularly in health food and organic stores.  Brands selling raw cacao and cacao beans and nibs usually sell the cacao butter too.  If you really cannot find it (yes, you can!), then substitute a little coconut oil or organic butter.

Instructions
Melt the cacao butter in a heatproof bowl in a microwave for about 1 minute, or set the bowl in a larger container of boiling water, until it melts.

Place all ingredients, except the water, into a mixing bowl.  Mix on a low to medium speed until it starts to form clumps – a bit like dough before adding moisture.  As you mix, add water (or milk) a little at a time, until the mixture forms a thick paste, like a set ganache.  By a little, I really mean about a tablespoon or so at a time.  Don’t overdo it or you’ll end up with batter 🙂

Refrigerate the mixture for about 15 minutes.  Roll into truffle sized balls and toss in a little extra cacao.

Store the truffles in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  They are at their best if you let them sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours or overnight before eating.  Sometimes it’s just too hard to wait that long though 😀

Macronutrient Profile
Macros for protein powders are based on the ones I have used.  There might be slight variations between brands, but if using unflavoured casein and rice protein isolate, the differences will be very slight.

If you use milk instead of water, or add any sweetener, you will have to factor that into the macronutrient count.

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22 Comments

Filed under All Recipe Posts, Chocolate, Nuts, Protein, Protein Chocolates, Special Diet

22 responses to “Amaretto Darkness Protein Truffles

  1. Very unique recipe here for truffles! Glad to see you put some protein in these and did not include any sugar. If it tastes even half as good as they look I know I would be in heaven-yum!

  2. These look quite yummy – definitely landed on my to-try list 🙂

    ~M

  3. phoebe

    Yuuummmmyyyyy!!!!
    Just a quick question: Since I don’t have any almond meal, could I use coconut flour? Could that work?
    I’m not very good in the kitchen (as you probably can tell :))

    • Hi Phoebe, thanks!
      if you have almonds, you have the makings of almond meal (grind in grinder or food processor until fine). You can also use other nuts.
      Or you could add a little coconut flour and some extra almond butter (I am assuming the issue is not an allergy). Replace about half the almond meal with coconut flour and half with almond butter. That will ensure it doesn’t dry out too much. Coconut flour is a moisture absorber so a little goes a long way. Hope that helps!! 🙂

      • Phoebe

        Thanks 🙂

        I’ll go buy almonds and make myself some almond meal. Can’t wait to try it, yum!!

  4. Okay – you’re insane 😉 I could NEVER not touch 10kg of chocolate!!
    These look wonderful, I love the brown rice here! Definitely goes on my to do list.

  5. I love you pots. Instead I am not a fanatic of chocolote, I even do not really like to prepare it, so i admire what you do here with these truffles.. In fact I work with truffles (the fungus) totally different taste as you know, really Congratulations for all kind of efforts 🙂 Claire

  6. Top 9 on Foodbuzz!!!!!!! Congrats, and these look amazing. I see chocolate, amaretto, PROTEIN all in one, I definitely love this one!

  7. Sheri

    These look amazing! What a great after workout treat. And your pictures are fantastic!!! I will have to try these.

  8. Thank you everyone! I appreciate the support!
    I’m always stunned when a geeky funky protein recipe makes it into the Top 9 … I mean, it just seems wrong, doesn’t it? But it’s nice to know that people do enjoy them and that protein cookery doesn’t have to be bizarre and unappetising. Because it really doesn’t! 🙂

  9. Oh these look good! I’m definitely going to try them. I love this post. I also am eating a lot more protein these days to build some of my muscle back. It keeps leaving me year after year! Hahaha. Great site! Thanks for sharing with us.
    Julie

  10. Delicious 🙂 I like how you’ve got all the nutritional values too ~ Congrats for being Top 9!

  11. Sarah

    Yum! These sound fabulous! Now I just have to convert grams to ounces/cups :)!

  12. David

    Hi I wa just wondering what store you have been getting the cocoa butter and almond butter from? I can’t find them in a Coles or woolworths

    • Hi David,
      you can get almond butter at any Coles or Woolies – look in the health food section. I’d get Melrose Naturals from Coles rather than the Woolies one, as it’s much better. You can also make your own in a food processor from raw almonds. Just whizz them until you get a lovely paste. Easy and cheaper too.
      For the cocoa butter, I usually get Loving Earth brand from either a health food shop or organic grocer. It’s widely available around Australia. Stockists are listed on the Loving Earth site…just google them. But you can also substitute virgin coconut oil or a little organic butter – all good!!!

  13. debs

    Hi,
    I am hoping to make these little beauties today and i have all the ingredients except for the micellar casein… I’m not even sure exactly what that is, I am guessing some type of protein. I couldn’t get it in to of the health shops i went to. Anyway, would this recipe work with out it? Will it be ok with just the brown rice protein?
    thanks!

    • should be fine, Deb.
      Micellar casein is just a milk based protein. add some extra ground almonds or a mix of ground almonds and rice protein. ground almonds will make them more moist compared with adding more rice protein.
      I recommend sweetener of choice. Seems I’m in the minority with my love of the bitter cacao-iness!
      Also, the almond extract is optional and maybe not necessary if you use ground almonds instead of casein
      🙂

  14. debs

    thanks! I added an extra 15g of almond meal and 15g of the brown rice protein. Swapped the almond butter for peanut butter and added some agave for some sweetness (which i think they needed!). Turned out really well and are delicious. It seems I definitely made them too big though, i only ended up with 12.. although maybe I’ll eat less of them then. Cheers

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