After reading about Elena's homemade orange chocolate truffles, I thought that it would be fun to try making homemade truffles myself. I knew that I wanted to use hazelnuts, because they blend so nicely with chocolate, but I wasn't sure what to do about the unsweetened cocoa powder, which tends to be too bitter for my tastes. Rhubarb suggested using cacao nibs, and gave me some to try in the recipe. I think they lend a nice chocolately flavor to the truffles.
Rather than rolling the truffles in cocoa powder, I ground a few additional nuts in the food processor to create a hazelnut coating.
Vegans delight - these truffles are dairy-free!
1/2 cup cacao nibs*
a generous 1/2 cup raw hazelnuts, plus 1/4 cup for the coating (3/4 cup total, or about 1/3 pound)
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place 1/4 cup hazelnuts in a food processor and blend until they have a sand-like quality.
Remove the ground hazelnuts from the food processor, cover and refrigerate until later use.
Place cacao nibs and 1/2 cup hazelnuts in a food processor, and again blend till they have a sand-like quality.
Add the almond butter, agave nectar, vanilla and salt to the food processor, and process until smooth.
Scrape the truffle mixture out of the food processor and into a bowl; cover and refrigerate two hours.
After about two hours...
Set out a piece of wax paper or parchment paper, to place the finished truffles on.
Remove the truffle mixture and ground hazelnuts from the refrigerator.
Roll 1 teaspoon of the truffle mixture between your hands to create a ball.
Roll the truffle ball in the ground hazelnuts to coat, and place on the parchment or wax paper.
Repeat until all of the truffle mixture has been used.
Refrigerate until serving.
I get 18 truffles, and have enough ground hazelnuts left to coat a whole 'nother batch. (I put the leftover ground hazelnuts in the freezer to save them for later.)
*If you can't find cacao nibs, substitute chocolate chips.