Earl Grey Tea Infused Date & Almond Cacao Truffles.
This flavourful and nutritious dessert is quick and easy to make, composed of just a handful of whole food ingredients. Free of refined sugar/flour/oil, these healthy ‘truffles’ are satisfyingly sweet, sure to be enjoyed by everyone. As a longtime fan of tea, I often incorporate this ancient beverage into my cooking, used as a seasoning or spice, in both sweet and savoury dishes. Rehydrating the dried dates in Earl Grey instead of neutral water, boosts the flavour of the dessert in a healthy way!
All tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant, an evergreen bush that grows predominantly in Asia. The process of oxidation causes the tea leaves to turn a darker colour, from green to what we know as black tea. While green tea is famous for its antioxidant content, black tea is also healthful as a source of polyphenols antioxidants (including catechins) which may help protect our cells. Some studies show that the antioxidants in black tea may also reduce atherosclerosis (clogged arteries), especially in women, helping to lower their risk of heart attack. Other evidence has found drinking black tea regularly may lower ones risk of diabetes, reduce cholesterol levels, and help prevent osteoporosis. However, further research is required to confirm these early findings (1).
Earl grey is my preferred type of black tea with its distinct citrusy flavour and aroma, derived from bergamot oil, which is added to the tea leaves. This natural oil is extracted from the peel of the bergamot orange, a greenish citrus fruit grown in Italy. Bergamot contains bergamottin, an antioxidant that is also found also in grapefruit peel/oil. To enhance the taste of bergamot, I added fresh orange zest to this recipe, which brightened the dessert and provided a dose of Vitamin C!
– Almonds, 2 cups
– Dates, 2 cups (pitted)
– Early grey tea, 2 bags/2 tsp loose tea – steeped in 1/4 cup of hot water.
(Try to buy organic Fair Trade tea – I like the Four O’ clock brand)
– Orange zest and juice from 1 small organic or well washed orange
– Vanilla (bean or vanilla bean powder)
(Or use a non-alcoholic Vanilla essence by Frontier – a Canadian Fair Trade Organic company. Avoid alcohol-based vanilla in raw/uncooked desserts like this, as it leaves an undesirable taste without being burnt off in the baking process)
– Unsweetened desiccated coconut, 2 cups
(If you dislike coconut, replace with crumbled nuts/seeds ex:pistachios/hemp hearts)
– Cinnamon, 1 teaspoon
– Cacao, 2 heaping tablespoons
(Try to buy organic Fair Trade cacao like Natural cocoa powder by Camino – Canadian brand)
– Sea salt, 1 small pinch
1. Steep the pitted dates in brewed earl grey tea and the juice of a small orange. Let the dates marinate for an hour or so.
2. In a food processor, pulse the almonds, cacao, vanilla, cinnamon and sea salt into a textured crumb. Set aside in a bowl.
3. Add the soaked dates (minus soaking liquid) and orange zest to the food processor. Mix until a paste is formed. Add the dry mixture back into the food processor with the date paste and pulse until a ‘dough’ is formed.
4. Roll the mixture into equal sized balls and coat in desiccated coconut. Place the truffles in the freezer for an hour to set, allowing them to firm up and become fudge-like.