Man, this has been one of the busiest weeks ever (and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be winding down very soon: Boutique Basque starts in a few days!). Not that I’m complaining; it has become one of my pet peeves when people complain about being too busy, or think it’s a valid justification to excuse themselves from not doing things (like answering emails) due to busyness. Time is precious, the older I get, the more I value it. But it’s also all about prioritizing what we do. At home we recently decided to do a check on how much time we all spend on our phones; you would be surprised. Yes, the 25 minute train ride into the city is partially responsible for that, but I could also be spending that time reading or contemplating or fill-in-the-blank-with-something-more-productive.
That said, I am very much enjoying everything I’m doing, but I still suffer from what I call the freelancer’s syndrome, i.e. I have a hard time saying no. Especially because I love what I do.
Sleep has been scarce, which doesn’t help, so I have found myself making versions of these truffles on repeat as a way to gain energy for the day via nutrient-dense calories. So when I had to come up with a recipe to demo for the informative talk I gave Wednesday evening at Obbio Food, it was a no-brainer. Not only was I super familiar with the recipe, I also got the energy boost along with the attendees. Now that’s having your cake (or truffle) and eating it too.
The truffles come together super quickly, and are the perfect take-with-you snack to have in your bag for an emergency pick-me-up, which I sometimes crave mid-afternoon. The recipe is so flexible, it allows for infinite variations: flavor can vary depending on which nut and seed butter you use (cashew, tahini, sunflower, etc.); you can play with color rolling them in different powders (matcha, cacao, almond meal, shredded coconut, or even chocolate sprinkles for a more decadent version). You can go for a smooth or crunchy texture by adding in or omitting the cacao nibs. Spices are another playing field: you could add in some classic options, such as vanilla, cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg, or go a bit wilder with flavors such as turmeric, curry powder, or peppers. You could go even further by playing with extracts here, such as mint or almond (if using these, be careful: use just a drop or two). Or just go for plain and simple and make the version below. The chilling part is pretty important, especially if your dates are as soft as mine (I found the gooiest, sticky-sweet Medjool wonders at the market during our weekend trip to Céret a couple of weeks ago), or the truffles will not only fall apart in your bag but stick somewhat unpleasantly to the roof of your mouth.
The founders of Obbio reached out to me several years ago, shortly after opening, because they wanted me to collaborate with them, but I had just moved to California. However, I held on to the idea, and during a couple of trips back to visit Barcelona in recent years, taught a few classes there, including some private classes for one of the founders, whom I became friendly with. Upon my move back, we thought it might be a good idea to offer a longer, more in-depth course for those who want to take it one step further, as the demand for eating healthier has grown a lot in Barcelona in the past few years.
You can find all the information for my course “Nutrición de Sobremesa” (don’t you love the name? It was not my idea, I confess, but Aurora’s, the nutritionist on staff at Obbio) right here: please tell your friends! It kicks off January 16, and consists of two 4-session blocks which you can sign up for separately, or together, for an 8-session deep dive.
Makes about 12 truffles
1/2 cup nut or seed butter
6 Medjool dates, pitted
1 Tb matcha
1 Tb maple syrup (or not, if your dates are super sweet and your matcha is high quality; if you are using cooking grade matcha, you’ll probably need the added sweetener)
1 pinch salt
1 Tb cacao nibs
something to cool them in: cacao powder, shredded coconut, more matcha
Place all the ingredients except nibs in a food processor and process until smooth, but don’t overdo it or the mix will be too soft to handle. Add in the cacao nibs, and stir with a spatula to incorporate.
With clean, damp hands, roll into balls about 1 Tb each (or smaller if you like mini-truffles). Sprinkle the cacao powder or topping of choice onto a plate. Roll the balls into it. Place on a platter and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Wrap each truffle separately (you can make it fancy if you want to give them as a gift-to yourself or others) and take along for an energy boost whenever you need it!