Like most of you, I often like something a little sweet after dinner when the mood takes me. Reaching for a good quality dark chocolate can certainly hit the spot, yet lately I’ve found it a bit too rich and not exactly what my taste buds are looking for. As a result, this dark chocolate aversion recently had me pondering what alternative I would like to munch on while sitting on the couch watching Masterchef. That’s how these chocolate peanut truffles were born.
Also of recent, I was enjoying one of my newly made truffle balls while finally getting around to watching “The Sugar Movie”. Overall I found “The Sugar Movie” very inspirational and certainly a powerful eye opener regarding the hidden sugars in commonly consumed packaged foods. Obviously the monetary power behind the sugar industry is a huge force behind keeping the ‘sugar monster’ alive in our everyday supermarket food. I certainly found the statistic that removing all foods containing added sugar from the supermarket would leave only 20% of the entire stock left on the shelves.
What the movie illustrated most of all for me is the lack of fundamental education, and thus understanding of how much sugar is added to processed and packaged foods. I know for a fact that the clients I see in clinic are often unsure of how to read labels and determine the sugar content, thus leading to poor food choices. As consumers, it is true that the power is in our hands at the end of the day. We choose what to put in our mouths and what to feed our children. Yet, if we lack the fundamental knowledge to make these choices, then how do we even begin to make change?
The other pertinent fact highlighted by this film was how little calories can be relied on to gauge a healthy dietary intake. Calories are a very small drop in the ocean when it comes to a healthy diet, and as the film maker found, calories do not generically act in the same way. The same calories from a 2300cal diet based on processed foods and hidden sugars as opposed to 2300cal from a wholefood diet are (and where) significantly and importantly different.
I told my husband I would give “The Sugar Movie” an 8/10. Why the lacking of 2 points? I was frustrated that the advocated dietary approach for dealing with this was to omit sugar altogether, inclusive of complex carbohydrate dense grains. I have discussed the issues with this in past post such as “When Did Eating Healthy Become So Unhealthy”, however to touch on this topic again, elimination of an entire food group is not teaching us balance. We need to learn how to include carbohydrates and sugars into a wholefood diet without deleterious effects. It is not unachievable. Jude Blereau has been doing it for years! Of course we do not want to be living on sugary cereals, yoghurt and muesli bars, but we can enjoy wholegrain toast topped with healthy fats and protein, or homemade muffins sweetened ever so slightly with our choice of sweetener, or chocolate peanut truffles as seen here. We do not have to go from one extreme to the other for results. This is not balance, and for many this is not maintainable.
Now, lets get back to the truffles shall we.
The majority of dairy free truffles are made with coconut, so I wanted to create a truffle devoid of that familiar taste for something different. Instead the creaminess in these truffles comes from the cacao butter and the peanut butter in unison. If you are yet to experiment with cacao butter then you are in for a treat. Cacao butter is wonderfully rich and versatile. When melted it combines with dry ingredients, then sets hard similar to how it sets chocolate. The difference in texture between a truffle made with cacao butter and one made with coconut oil is very apparent. I’ve also used cacao butter in my original Christmas themed chocolate truffles, which were are decadent hit.
So what about the sugars? These truffles are also very low in sugar. There is only just enough sweetness provided by the rice malt to take the edge off the bitterness. Our taste buds are so attuned to a saturation of sweetness in our western culture, so I like to pull back in my recipes and educate the taste buds on what a hint of sweetness is in correlation to an abundance of sweetness. Afterall, teaching our taste buds balance is a clever way to start heading towards a wholefood, low sugar diet.
chocolate peanut truffles + my thoughts on “the sugar movie”
- makes approx 12 – 13 balls
- preparation time
- 20 minutes
- cooking time
- 1/2 cup flaxseed meal
- 1/2 cup raw cacao
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seed meal (just blitz the seeds in your blender)
- 1/4 cup cacao butter, grated
- 1/8th cup rice malt
- 1/4 cup 100% peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place the flaxseed meal, pumpkin seed meal and raw cacao into a mixing bowl and combine with a wooden spoon.
Now put the grated cacao butter into a saucepan and heat on a medium heat till melted.
Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and add in the peanut butter, vanilla extract, rice syrup and the melted cacao butter. Mix till combined with your wooden spoon and then get your hands into the mixture to bring it to a dough. If the mixture seems like it is still a little crumbly, then add a little more peanut butter.
Once you have a ball of dough, break off pieces and roll into balls, roughly the size of a 20c piece. Continue till all the dough has been used up. Place the truffles into a container and pop in the fridge to harden.
These chocolate peanut truffles will keep in the fridge or freezer for weeks, but trust me they will not last that long.
- Flaxseeds are also the highest plant source of lignans, a phytochemical compound from the polyphenols family, that helps reduce cholesterol levels and also regulate oestrogen levels. When consumed, lignans are converted by gut bacteria to enterolignans, enterodiol and enterolactone. These compounds exert phytoestrogen like effects in the body, binding to estrogen receptors, either blocking or up regulating the effects of estrogen in the body. Many studies (animal based) have shown a reduction in metastasis (tumor growth) inclusive of breast cancer, however more human based trial studies are warranted in this area and are actively being completed.
- Flaxseeds are also very high in fiber and rich in mucilage, a slimmy/gum like substance that expands when in contact with water (this is why it is so useful in vegan baking as a n egg substitute). Inside the intestines this helps provide bulk to stools aiding their movement through the gastrointestinal tract.
- Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) are rich in minerals iron, zinc, magnesium and phosphorus. I often get my clients low in zinc to munch on pumpkin seeds as a snack. Just a handful of pumpkin seeds (around 30grams) has 7 grams protein, which makes a great snack option! Pumpkin seeds are also a rich source of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
Jessica Cox is a qualified practicing Nutritionist with a Bachelor Health Science (Nutrition) and over 15 years of clinical experience. She is the founder and director JCN Clinic, published author and established recipe developer. Jessica is well respected within health and wellness space for her no fad approach and use of evidence-based nutrition.