Are you looking forward to V-Day next week? Seems most people either love it or hate it. Being from the “never too much schmaltz” school of romance, I love Valentine’s Day. Even during all those years before I met the HH, I’d always endeavor to celebrate somehow. I’d send cards to my friends or my sisters. I’d invite a gal pal for dinner so we could sip Shiraz together and muse about how few good men there were out there. One year, I think I even bought myself roses (must have been my “I am woman, hear me roar” phase).
Last year, I composed a fairly elaborate (and, as I recall, extremely disorderly) meal for the HH and me. Given my frenetic schedule these days working on the book (the Index is done! The book has officially moved from the “writing” to the “production” stage! Whoo!), I assumed I’d have no time to repeat last year’s amorous performance (I meant preparing the meal, silly! You crazy romantics, you!). But then I saw Susan’s post about this year’s Vegetable Love contest, and how could I resist? (Not that I find Fatfree Vegan Kitchen’s charms any more alluring than those of the HH, you understand).
The contest asks you to create a romantic dish using one or more vegetables of your choice. You’d think I’d give up on sweets with veggies in them. But no. . .
As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, sweet potatoes are my favorite vegetable. I love sweet potatoes in just about anything (or, as I’ve seen the phrase skipping around the blogosphere lately, I lurrrve sweet potatoes). When I was on the anti-candida diet several years ago, sweet potatoes became my favorite veggie (and my favorite brekkie).
They’re a healthy vegetable. They’re orange. They’re sweet. And their name sounds like a term of endearment: “Oh, why so coy, my little Sweet Potato? Come on over here and let me help you out of that peel.” Why not use them as the basis for a sweet filling in a Valentine’s Day truffle, then?
This year’s recipe really should have made it into the cookbook–it’s that good. What you’ll end up with is an insanely creamy, smooth, rich-tasting truffle filling, vibrantly orange and steeped in citrus flavor. In fact, no one would ever guess it contained one of the world’s healthiest roots.
I fed 0ne of these beauties to the HH, and he literally licked his fingers clean, enthusing, “This tastes exactly like a really fine quality, high-end chocolate!” This from a guy who’d normally consume chocolates with cream, butter and white sugar. “There is no trace of sweet potato flavor in these,” he went on. “All you taste is the orange” (enhanced with a splash of Cointreau–though you can use orange juice if you prefer alcohol-free confections).
Even if you’re not into chocolates, the filling on its own makes a fabulous, versatile frosting. Rich and fluffy, sweetened with agave and boasting the added fiber of the sweet potato, I’m guessing that the total GI (glycemic index) of this frosting is fairly low and could be used successfully by those on a variety of restricted diets. (See instructions in the Variation, below).
I’ll definitely be making these again for V-Day (the half-batch I concocted is already long gone). Even if you don’t celebrate the Big V, it’s worth making a batch of these. Give yourself a little gift of Vegetable Love this year.
2021 Version: Sweet Potato Truffles (Sugar-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Grain-free, optionally Nut-free; original version below)
For the filling:
1 cup (240 ml) unsweetened sweet potato puree (can be canned)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) Lakanto or xylitol
1/3 cup (80 ml) unsweetened non-dairy milk of choice, up to 1/2 cup, as needed
25-35 drops orange flavored stevia liquid, to taste
2 Tbsp (30 ml) smooth natural cashew or almond butter, or sunflower seed butter for
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) pure vanilla extract
Pinch fine sea salt
2 Tbsp (30 ml) coconut oil, preferably organic
Zest of one orange (if permitted)
1/2 cup (120 ml) coconut butter (not oil), gently melted
For the coating:
1 cup (240 ml) sugar-free chocolate chips
1 tsp (5 ml) coconut oil
Prepare the filling: In the jug of a high-speed blender, mix all ingredients except for coconut butter until perfectly smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the coconut butter by hand until well blended.
For a dense, creamy filling: refrigerate until firm, about an hour. Proceed as below.
For light and airy filling: refrigerate until just firm, about 45 minutes. Beat with electric beaters until it becomes airy, fluffy and about 3 shades lighter in color. At this point, the mixture also makes an excellent buttercream frosting. Proceed as below.
Using a small ice cream scoop or teaspoon, scoop out and shape into balls. Place the balls on a plastic-lined plate and chill in the freezer until very firm, about 30 minutes.
To coat the truffles, dip each truffle into the chocolate using a fork. Once the ball is entirely coated, tap the fork on the side of the pot so excess chocolate drips through the tines and back into the pot.
Place each truffle on the plate and return to the freezer until firm. Use any leftover chocolate to decorate the tops with swirls or drizzles. Once the chocolate is firm, truffles can be stored in the refrigerator in a covered container. Makes about 2 dozen.
While the truffles are freezing, prepare the chocolate: combine chips and coconut oil in a small, heavy-bottomed pot on lowest possible heat. Stir constantly until almost melted; turn off heat and allow to sit for 30 seconds, then stir again until fully melted. Use to coat the truffles
For chocolate truffle cups: Set the filling aside while you prepare the chocolate cups. In a bowl set over a pot of simmering water (the bowl should be large enough that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water), melt the chocolate and coconut oil together until smooth. Use about 3/4 tsp (3.5 ml) to coat the bottom and up the sides of 12-15 mini foil cups. Place the cups in the freezer for a couple of minutes to firm up.
Using 1-2 tsp (5-10 ml) of filling for each cup, fill the chocolate cups with the sweet potato mixture and smooth the top. Return to the freezer for another 5 minutes or so until the tops of the filling are firm.
Cover each cup with another 1 tsp (5 ml) chocolate, and spread it gently to cover, ensuring that the chocolate is sealed at the edges and no bits of sweet pototo show through. Keep refrigerated until firm, then remove from fridge , immediately peel off the paper cups, and allow to come to room temperature before serving (these are much better served at room temperature, but the cups will stick to them if you try to unwrap them once they’re no longer cold). Makes 12-15 truffle cups.
Frosting Variation: After the filling is prepared, turn it into a deep bowl and refrigerate until cold and very firm, at least 2 hours.
Using electric beaters, beat the mixture until it begins to lighten both in color and texture (it will become airy and fluffy). Use as desired to frost cupcakes, cakes, etc. Makes enough to frost a single 9″ (20 cm) round or square layer.
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Last Year at this Time: My Mother’s Potato-Corn Chowder
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