Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Ricki’s Tempting Truffles

I read blog posts so often and get inspired by the wonderful recipes. I drool and swoon. I bookmark and plan. Then life gets in the way of good intentions. I get distracted. It can take months or even years before I actually make the recipe. So today’s recipe is unusual because within 15 minutes of reading about Ricki’s Carob Coconut Sweeties I had made my version of them. Why? Let me tell you:

1. The recipe is so simple and quick to make. I can make it in the amount of time it takes a baby to take a deep breath between cries. Well, almost!

2. My version is made of ingredients in my cupboards. No palaver of dressing Sylvia in a cardigan and hat, putting her in the pram, crying on the way to the shops, battling my way through the supermarket, queuing behind some arrogant old man arguing with the check-out chick, and rushing back in time for another feed.

3. It is as gooey, chocolatey and coconutty as my favourite grubs but with less processed ingredients. It feeds the inner child in need of comfort food but with an adult’s appreciation for nutrition.

4. Ricki understands that sometimes we need to make ourselves food that gives instant gratification but will not linger temptingly once the urge passes. This recipe has mercifully small quantities.

5. It comes from Ricki’s wonderful Diet, Dessert and Dogs. I love her recipes which are always inspiring and interesting.

I have been reading Ricki’s blog since late in 2007 when her recipes started inspiring me. It is always a pleasure to see her posts pop up in my blog reader. She is creative, entertaining, and generous. Diet, Dessert and Dogs is written with humour and poignancy and always has something interesting to offer. Whether it is a new word (such as chillaxing), a new ingredient (such as coconut oil) or just a recipe that I know I must try (such as these these heavenly truffles), I can be guaranteed to find it on DDD.

Ricki also has a fine appreciation of dietary restrictions, having faced many of them in her own life. She has lots of interesting recipes suitable for vegan and gluten-free diets. So refreshing after the same old recipes in magazines and cookbooks. And Ricki is always up for a challenge. Most recently she has been on an anti-candida diet (ACD). Her list of what she must not eat on this diet shocked me but it is admirable and amazing how many delicious creations she continues to enjoy despite this.

One of her recent ACD recipes were the Carob Coconut Sweeties which I mentioned above. They were just so good I have now made them 3 times and on one occasion didn’t even both making balls but just ate the mixture straight from the bowl. They have that sort of informality. I was even happy that E wasn’t interested in it. All the more for me.

Ricki sometimes has ingredients that are beyond my reach. In her recipe she used carob, chia seeds, stevia liquid and hemp seeds – none of which have ever graced my kitchen. So I substituted using what was about. I tried using less cocoa in the first batch (see photo below) but they do need the 2 teaspoons that Ricki instructed. They are both vegan and gluten free. I think these would be nice healthyish snacks for children and I have wondered about trying a nut-free version with just coconut, tahini, cocoa and maple syrup or honey. The other substitution I would be interested in trying is different nuts and nut butters. I have finished my ground almond stash but have some chopped peanuts and have wondered if they could be substituted.

There are many more of Ricki’s recipes I am keen to try (chocolate pate, vegan molten chocolate cake, and pumpkin bread pudding with caramel sauce, to name just a few). Her tempting photos make you forget about dietary restrictions. These recipes will have you drooling whatever your diet. Ricki has spent many valuable hours getting her versions of the recipes just right and even ran a baking business for a few years.

But there is exciting news. Ricki has a new sweet cookbook which will be released on 15 May 2009. I can’t wait to get my copy. As you will see above, I love her recipes and highly recommend them to any reader who has not yet discovered her charms. The book is called Sweet Freedom and you can see some preview photos at Ricki’s cookbook blog. Ricki describes the book as featuring ‘delicious, foolproof recipes for baked treats and other sweets designed for those of us with dietary restrictions’.

If you like the sound of her sweet treats that I have described here then this could be a cookbook for you or even for your friends and family. If you are interested, I encourage you to look at this post for information about how to purchase it. Ricki has also invited anyone to leave a comment on that post to go into a draw to win a free copy. I told you she was generous didn’t I?

Coconut Almond Balls
(Adapted from Diet, Dessert and Dogs)
Makes 5-6 balls

¼ cup desiccated coconut
1 heaped tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
1 heaped tbsp almond butter
2 tbsp ground almonds (or coconut)
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp cocoa
1 tsp cocoa nibs (optional)

Place all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and stir until combined. Use your fingers to roll teaspoonfuls of mixture into walnut-sized balls. Ricki advises to place in fridge to firm up but I like them a little soft.

See Ricki’s post for an anti-candida version.

On the Stereo:
The Best of Brahms


  1. Mmmm I was eyeing those off when Ricki posted them! I love your variation too (like you Hempseeds don't exist in my household and while I have Chia seeds they're not very tummy friendly towards me :().

    I have these bookmarked for my to make list!

  2. My husband grew up eating these sort of balls and he loves them. Thanks for sharing the recipe-I think he'll be delighted if I made them!

  3. Mmm these look like awesome little treats. You should try her cocoa nibbles (almonds, dates, cocoa, tiny bit of vanilla). SO GOOD!

  4. I had also seem these little delights but had passed them up in my own kitchen since they contained so many unusual ingredients. It's very nice to see that you can make a tasty alternative using more regular storecupboard standbys. Especially if they're good enough to eat from the bowl! Hear hear on your kind words for Ricky too - I love her blog.

    By the way, is it Sylvia who cries on the way to the shops, or you after all the stress of getting out of the house!?

  5. Wow, Johanna, your version of these look just fantastic! Of course I'd do the chocolate flavor myself if I could have cocoa more often (next phase of the diet--yay!). And THANK YOU for saying such wonderful things about the blog (do I pay you now or later)? ;) I think I'm blushing.

    Seriously, would you like to be my PR person???

  6. Oh, I've been meaning to make these too! Too many recipes, not enough time. Your substitutions are good ones and I will consult both your recipe and Ricki's when I do get around to making these.

  7. I have never used tahini in a dessert before. I'm intrigued. They sound delicious.

  8. These look so gooey and delicious! I always love Ricki's recipes :)

  9. thanks Vegetation - hope you enjoy these

    thanks Lorraine - they will appeal to adults who had these sort of treats as a child

    Thanks Ashley - you have me eyeing off how many dates I have left - must try these

    Thanks Lysy - mostly it is sylvia crying :-)

    Thanks Ricki - glad you are going into a phase where you can have more chocolate - and my description of the blog is well and truly deserved (but of course would love to be paid in baked goods if only customs let them through)

    Thanks Lisa - if only there was time and energy to make more recipes!

    Thanks Susan - tahini is great in sweet food - check out fig and almond slice and fruit nut and tahini slice on my index for other ideas

    Thanks Holler - yes she does have such great recipes

  10. Wow, these "balls" sound and look so good...nice for appetizer. Yummie!

  11. I adore Ricki's blog, and I so enjoyed reading your wonderful retelling of the creation of one of Ricki's recipes! I've been dreaming about this recipe too - thank you for reminding me that I need to prepare these soooooon!

  12. thanks Juliana - these would be good party food i bigger quantities

    thanks astra libra - hope you get to make it soon

  13. My father is a huge fan of coconut almond balls and I always try to bake one for him whenever we see my parents. He has yet to be fully blown away by any of the recipes i've tried. Simplicity is key, and yours looks perfect! Can't wait to try it. thanks for the shearing your post.


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