Tahini, Date & Chocolate Truffles
These are forever known as magic balls to me. Yes, I realize this leaves a lot of room for interpretation, and lord knows what kind of keyword traffic that’s going to lead to In Jennie’s Kitchen. Once you learn why, you’ll understand the beauty and well, magic, of these Tahini, Date & Chocolate Truffles.
I should preface this by saying I wrote this post before the apocalypse, also known as the election of 2016. Actually, I wrote this that morning, with so much hope, so much optimism. For everyone saying that’s what we need now, and to give him a chance—I say nope, nada, zilch. Every last effort needs to go into not accepting, not being complacent. This article from the Times of Israel is a great example of why we need to stay energized, and committed to the opposite of complacency.
I’m not saying we should all abandon the U.S. I love America, and chastised my little one today when she said it was an awful country. I explained that it’s a place that guarantees freedoms and equality for all. And now I’m terrified for them, my half Jewish children. Girls, who may one day be told they have no control over their inherent reproductive rights. And we’re just one tiny bit of the equation in the Republican party’s plan to erase freedoms and inalienable rights. I told her now is the time to work at Making America Great Again since a bunch of people drank the crazy juice one week ago.
Back to the balls, though. The true mystery of them lies within the adaptability of our palate, and taste buds. Before setting out on this new eating journey two months ago, I was a full-on sweetaholic. When faced with the prospect of a doughnut, or losing a dress size, I always felt life was short, eat the doughnut (I’ve wanted a LOT of doughnuts the last seven days). Losing weight (19 pounds and counting!) has been a very pleasant side effect of being highly selective of what I eat now, and never the goal. It’s so hard to phrase that in a way sounds anything less than limiting, or denying myself the foods I love.
The truth, though, is that with a little effort, you can retrain your mind and body to like, even crave, certain foods. I quit so many foods cold turkey, it’s too many to list, but if you’re wondering: coffee, sugar (even unrefined), wheat, nightshades (tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, bell peppers), eggs, dairy, alcohol, and meat are the heavy hitters. I feel incredibly fortunate that I wasn’t burdened with headaches or withdrawal of any kind. And I’m not recommending that this is what you should do. It’s just what worked for me, and my approach to getting my body back to feeling amazing.
Two months later, the food choices I make are vastly different now. Quinoa and I have a lovely relationship, and I never thought I’d say this, but I hunger for it if more than a day or two passes since I’ve had it. I know, it’s crazy, to me most of all. I finally figured how to cook it perfectly, and will share that with you soon.
As for sweets? Well, I really don’t want more than a few bites of anything dessert like these days, and if it’s too sugary, then just about a bite will do. Once I made the decision to quit it all, I was able to make the connection that my proclivity for sweets was more about my mood, and unhappiness with other parts in my life. Cakes, cookies, candy on a daily basis weren’t making me happier. They were just filling a void I was ignoring. Still, they’d been such a part of my life, the in-between weeks before I came to this new crossroads were tough (tougher than giving up coffee and fresh mozzarella cheese!).
When I was in Hudson, NY, and popped into Talbot & Harding to check it out, these Tahini, Date & Chocolate Truffles caught my eye immediately.
They actually called them balls, and I just chuckled to myself that no one could figure out a better name for them. For the sake of writing about them here, we’re going with truffles. I bought one single, solitary
ball truffle to try, and took it in piece of paper to go. One bite, and I was weak in the knees.
I know, I’m with you again here. How can a former sugar addict be brought to her knees by a truffle that’s made withe dates, tahini, and cocoa? Okay, there’s a pinch of sea salt and some vanilla extract in there, too. It sounds impossible. But it’s not.
My newly recalibrated palate was satiated by the earthy, natural sweetness from the dates. I’ve been in a love affair with anything sesame since as long as I can remember. And the cocoa added just enough chocolatey taste to seal the deal.
I went home that night and started tinkering in the kitchen. I suppose I could’ve just called the store to ask for the recipe, but I geek out on reconstructing a recipe. It only took two passes to get the consistency and flavor I wanted. I snack on them once or twice a day, guilt-free, knowing I’m satisfying my new sweet tooth with better for me food.
You can play around a bit with the extracts if you like. Swap in almond or orange for the vanilla. Try rolling the shaped truffles in finely ground almond meal, shredded coconut, or cocoa powder, if you like, too. These would be lovely hostess gifts for the holidays, and great to put out with a buffet if you’re hosting any parties.
p.s. As we turn our thoughts to Thanksgiving, and some of you settle down to contentious family dinners (never been so happy for a quiet dinner with my tribe of 3!), there are countless other who can use a helping hand. Buy an extra bag of groceries, and donate it to a local food pantry. Sign up to help serve Thanksgiving dinner (great way to avoid the crazy uncle), and most of all, remember that help is needed year round. Kindness costs nothing, so sprinkle that stuff like fairy dust every moment you can.
Have you signed the petition, urging President Obama to appoint Merrick Garland to the SCOTUS? Click here. You can also call the White House at (202)-456-1111, and leave your request with a live operator (I was on hold less than 10 minutes!).
Tahini, Date & Chocolate Truffles
- 6 Medjool dates pitted
- 5 tablespoons 47 grams tahini
- ¼ cup 25 grams cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of fleur de sel
- Hulled sesame seeds toasted
- Add the dates, tahini, cocoa, vanilla, and fleur de sel to a mini chopper. Pulse until the mixture form a smooth paste. Be patient, as this takes a few minutes; let’s say 5, or so.
- Using a small cookie scoop (2 teaspoons), portion out the truffles. Roll them into balls. Pour some sesame seeds in a zip top bag, or container. Add a few truffles at a time, and give it a shake to coat them all over.
- Store truffles in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
The link to The Times goes here: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/thank-you/2405161
(Also a good link, just not the right one.)
Thanks so much for catching that, Rene. Link has been fixed! xo-Jennie
I appreciate your honesty and integrity in presenting your feelings and concerns. I think we were all too complacent and worried about offending anyone – I didn’t even have a Hillary bumper sticker. Our needed reflection includes life choices which in turn includes food; so, your attention to food is right on the mark. I think many of us have been lazy, both in the political arena and with our food. No more.
A wise person once said, “if your business is not politics, then politics should not be in your business.” As business owner, I would never, ever share my politics on my website. During this crazy political season, I took refuge on Pinterest, food blogs, Food Network, etc. but after opening your blog today and reading your commentary on politics, I realize that your blog is no longer a place for those of us looking to do what we love doing, reading about and cooking food. For that reason, I’m going to unsubscribe to your blog. I want my food pure, and untainted. If you want to make political comments, consider starting a different blog.
Thank you so much for your words and wonderful recipes. Thanks also for the link to that article from the Time of Israel. Dark times, indeed, for our beloved USA. We have to be vigilant and vocal in our opposition to hateful people and policies.
My blog. My words. Your choice to read or not, but don’t tell me what to do in my virtual home. I wouldn’t tell you how to run your business, or what to do in your home, so you might want to follow that example, too. Obviously, many people feel differently than you.
You go girl! It is interesting how many like to tell you what to do or not do. I love that you always write from your heart first. That is a good thing.
LOL, when I first read your comment above, I thought you were referring to mine, and re-read what I had posted, to see if I had said anything that might be misconstrued, then noticed Ruth’s post above mine. I am not an expert on history but have reading about how Germany’s democracy fell in the 1930s and it seems that if people had been more aware, more vocal and outspoken about the hate and bigotry early on, it might have made a difference. Who knows? I just think we have to continue insisting on being heard, and commend you for your words.
And, you have great recipes! 😉
I am so excited to try these, Jennie! I am also a food person…it has always been my lifeblood. And, like you, I’ve used it to fill voids, manage stress, and make excuses for not being kind to my body. I’ve been on a very similar journey recently, removing dairy, alcohol, coffee, wheat, sugars, even most fruit, in an attempt to get my body to a proper alkaline ph. I’ve heard about the benefits of eliminating night shade plants, but haven’t gone there yet, and while I love meat, the side of me that loves animals is beginning to win out. I can hardly stomach it, although I REALLY crave the protein. The first two months of doing this went great, and I felt amazing, but the last two have been a real struggle. I resist black and white eating, so I might dapple in those (addictive) foods, but once I have a little bit of wheat, or sugar, or dairy, I crave nothing else. Thus, I now feel like I go back to my old habits more often than not. It’s discouraging. All that to say, it gives me SERIOUS hope to hear you are on a similar eating journey. I look forward to reading more about it here, and benefiting from your exploration in recipes that support it!
Finally, it is odd that people should feel it appropriate to tell you what to write on your website. This isn’t a recipe database. It is a place where you write about your personal journey, and as a woman of the kitchen, food naturally weaves in and out of your narrative. I, for one, am grateful for those who are speaking to sanity, in the midst of this time of utter insanity…it makes me feel less alone. Perhaps those who don’t want to hear it, are resisting taking a good look at themselves and their biases, predjudices, and selfishness, because, dear god, how can anyone think this is ok.
Thank you for your reminders that THIS IS NOT NORMAL. I really appreciate this platform not being an escape, but a reminder that we can collectively work to fight against the injustices and hate this next administration has ushered, and will continue to usher in. We need these reminders to avoid complacency and resist normalizing what has occurred.
I have always enjoyed your blog and recipes although we come from very different places. I focus on what we have in common…love of food. I just don’t understand this hate of people who think differently (60,000,000 people at that). Do you know anyone who voted for Trump? I realize people think all of his supporters are white supremacists, bigots, homophobes, etc. but all 60,000,000 of them falling into those categories seems unlikely. I wish you lived closer and we could have a conversation, cup of coffee, and one of those chocolate banana muffins.
I,too, wish you were closer to talk. While I try to reconcile that generalizations like this sound unfair, the reality is that a vote for him meant that an endorsement of racist and homophobic rhetoric, and sexist behavior. I do not say this to start an argument. The KKK is holding a parade to celebrate. The KKK. Is that a group you, and the other 60 million people feel comfortable being associated with? If that resonate, then deep reflection is necessary. It’s not enough to say “I’m not racist”. People have to make choices that reflect the sentiment. I truly hope you read the words with an open mind, and I appreciate your polite manner in opening up this conversation. -Jennie
Thank you for the wonderful recipe, Jenny. I have a jar of tahini sitting in the fridge that must get used up, and these truffles are the perfect way to start. And thanks also for the petition link, which I have already signed. Keep your comments and recipes coming, because many of us need both.
I think an even wiser person would say that, in our already great nation, “Politics is every citizen’s business”. I don’t understand people who try to dictate what you can and cannot post on your own blog. It is one thing to have a different opinion, but quite another to suggest that others cannot do the same. If they prefer to go elsewhere, well they can go in peace, and try not to let the door bang them in the behind on their way out. I for one will continue to look forward to every comment you post here, and obviously there are many others who will do the same.
Keep saying what you think Jennie. I for one appreciate it. I agree your blog, your words. I can certainly understand your feelings. My daughter who is in her 40’s was devastated last Tuesday. Now the turmoil in the transition what a mess. She will win when all said and done over 2 million votes. The electoral college needs to go! God help this country.
Sweet Jennie. I am not sure how I stumbled across you..an idea..a recipe. And then your Mikey was gone and I have silently followed and prayed and sent love and blessings to you and your girls.
I am 69 years old and while there is much I worry about with this new administration I want to reach out to every woman who is worried about hers or her daughter’s who “may one day be told they have no control over their inherent reproductive right” and tell them they have ALL the power. If a woman is raped, or a victim of incest or her life is in danger because of her pregnancy..then she must have the power to choose if she can sanely remain pregnant. Otherwise, do not get pregnant. That is it..you will not have to face this abortion choice if you do not get pregnant. Birth Control is available everywhere. Planned parenthood, one’ s own doctor. The drugstore..amazing prevention with a condom AND spermicide jellies. A woman has control to NOT get pregnant and not face an abortion except for the misery mentioned above.
Jennie..and you other young moms…you and your daughters have total control of their reproductive lives. I taught my daughters well..you have the power to prevent pregnancy. Get to Planned Parenthood..your college health center..teach them that you, their mom gets it..you will help them NOT get pregnant. Teach them they have total control of their reproductive rights by NOT GETTING PREGNANT.
This is utter bullshit, and rather than delete this comment, I’m going to leave it here so everyone can see the fallacy in your words for themselves. Do not chastise me with “Sweet Jennie”, or your prayers for my family, and then roll up your preaching sleeves to tell me DO NOT GET PREGNANT. Your words bleed ignorance. I am a perfect example of unintended pregnancies, even with precautions. I will share my story here, as I did on instagram, even though it shouldn’t even be the basis for an argument about CHOICE. We should not be held prisoner to the biological workings of our body simple because we were born into them. Does that mean anyone born into poverty should have no control over how to escape it?
Back in 2002 I was on birth control. My husband, then boyfriend at the time, was told he was likely sterile due to chemotherapy treatment for a kidney condition. He has sperm stored in a sperm bank before having chemo in the event he ever wanted children. This was long before we ever met. But still, I was on birth control. And yet, there I was in September of 2002, 8 weeks late, looking at two negative home pregnancy tests, knowing they had to be wrong. A visit to the doctor confirmed that I was indeed pregnant. While I was pro-choice, my choice was to see my pregnancy to term, even though it was not in the best interest of my career, and my relationship was at a rocky point. We made it through the rough times, we went on to have two beautiful children, and the reason I never considered my first pregnancy a mistake is because it was MY CHOICE to have a child. Your judgement has no place in my life, or that of any other woman.
Thank you, Jennie. It is not my intent to attack or make this a message board about reproductive rights (it’s your page—delete if you want!), but I feel compelled to respond to and respectfully disagree with Barbara’s comment. Planned Parenthood’s reach will be at extreme risk under the new administration, so the fact is that it’s not at all an easy resource to “prevent pregnancy.” As for calling their doctors, many women still don’t have access to affordable healthcare (Trump wants to repeal much of the ACA too, so that will only get worse) or a “college health center.” (Not everyone attends college.) What you’ve said feels like a veiled preaching of abstinence and an outright blaming and shaming of women (and frankly, it smacks of privilege). Sex is not wrong, and getting pregnant is not a crime. And nothing about this issue is as simple as “don’t get pregnant and life will be fine.” I’m sure you meant well, but it’s no comfort to me that simply not getting pregnant will make up for losing my or my daughter’s reproductive rights. Jennie, thank you again for the open forum for meaningful exchange.
Thank you for adding positively to the conversation. Perhaps we should all start thinking of In Jennie’s Kitchen as a life blog with a lot of great recipes. I’m all for it being an open forum for meaningful exchange, as you so eloquently put it. xo-Jennie
Jennie and all. I am so very sorry for the way my comment came off. That is my fault. I truly want every woman to have the right to choose whether she remains pregnant or not. There are certainly many circumstances when a pregnancy occurs, such as yours. I fully support your right to choose.
I just think there are many instances when careless decisions are made and a pregnancy occurs. I am still totally supportive of every woman’s right to make her own decision.
Again, I am so sorry. I feel embarrassed and feel that I have been disrepectful to someone I have admired. I did a very poor job of explaining what I have thought a great deal about.
I have a several friends who have been forced with the agony of an abortion..some before it was legal. I would never, ever want that to happen again.
Thank you for opening yourself up enough to come back. We are a strong group of women here, and as you probably know, words matter, so we reacted to yours very strongly. I greatly appreciate you reflecting, and writing back here. The women who use their choice as a form of birth control are, I think, not as common as the media and conservatives would have the American public to believe. Regardless, it is not up to us to use our moral standards to make their life choices.
You opened up a very important conversation, and stories like mine are the ones Planned Parenthood should be sharing to show the conversation about choice doesn’t always end in abortion. For that I thank you, and again thank you for taking the time to come back and talk it out more.
The country’s issues and our feelings about them may be complex, but our hearts are pure. Thank you for the respectful, honest dialogue. I will carry the goodwill with me today.
I made these today and I really liked them, however, I did have some trouble with the final constancy of the paste. I used the smaller bowl insert for my food processor and the final result was more like a blob than a paste and was very oily. I mixed more by hand, and i am pleased with the end result, but wonder aside from doubling the recipe and using the larger bowl on my food processor, if you had any thoughts.
I wonder if it needed more processing, Betsy. That sounds like the stage just before they’re blended properly, and come together. It really happens in a matter of seconds, going from a mess to smooth and all the oil being absorbed. -Jennie
I finally had the opportunity to sit and catch up on one of my favorite blogs. First of all, this recipe looks AMAZEBALLS and I will be making it today! I have been on “Whole 30” and mostly adhere to it as I feel SO much better when I do (thanks, deer tick ->Lyme disease ->Hashimotos for the inflammation…the gift that keeps on giving). This is just what I need to snack on when I need a little sweet.
Second of all…WHOAH. I love you. I love your commenters. I’m a long time reader but rarely feel compelled to comment. Your blog/your words indeed — and amen sister. It is typical of a supporter of DT to try to tell you what to do. THIS IS WHAT SCARES ME. I have 2 daughters and a son, just launching into adulthood. I hope that the lessons I have demonstrated have taught them to stand up for what is good and right and decent. I believe that the majority of people ARE good, and will do good. I know this is a wake up call for me…to get involved, to speak out in love, to make every dollar I spend or donate count for good.
Sending you love and light. – H
I made another batch of these last night, and thought of you. One thing I didn’t mention is that you should always stir your tahini before using as the oil tends to separate from the solids. If you didn’t, that could be another reason they were very oily. The final consistency should be like an incredibly fresh tootsie roll.