Walnut, Fig & Coffee Protein Truffles



These were born after I was woken far too early one morning by my uncivilised child. Clearly I had caffeine on the brain in my pre-dawn haze but I guess I owe the kid one because the result is some seriously smooth, creamy and totally healthy truffles.

Walnuts are the real champion in this recipe; they differ from other nuts as the fats are primarily polyunsaturated fatty acids which improve blood cholesterol levels and heart health. They’re also packed with omega-3 acids required for cell growth, immune function, blood clotting, disease prevention and brain function and, as the body can’t manufacture these fatty acids, it’s important to have a good dietary source. And of course all these beautiful oils mean they’re not only fantastically good for you but they also make make fantastic truffles. When they’re processed the oils release to create a sexy smooth and creamy texture which pairs beautifully with the sweetness of the figs and the sharpness of the coffee in this recipe.

Get this stuff

6-8 large turkish figs, approx. 120 grams

1 C walnut pieces

Penny pinching tip here, if you’re buying walnuts that will be mushed up like in this recipe then go for the pieces as they’re cheaper than halves

100-120 mls strong brewed black coffee, I used a Nespresso pod

30 grams of protein powder

I know I’m always saying it but do some label reading and buy the cleanest brand you can find. By clean I mean free from manufactured colours, flavours, sweeteners and general unpronounceable crap. I like Bare Blends WPI as it’s organic, undenatured and free from anything artificial (no I’m not sponsored but damn I wish I was!).

2T cacao nibs

1T coconut oil

1-2T coconut flour

Optional chocolate drizzle

1T rice malt syrup, maple syrup or coconut nectar

1T coconut oil

1T cacao or high quality dark cocao

Do this with it

Soak the figs in the coffee for a few hours or ideally overnight, the longer the better to give them a chance to get all juicy and plump with absorbed liquid.

Throw them in a blender, food processer or some time of pulverising machinery along with the walnuts, protein powder and coconut oil and process it all into a smooth thick paste.

The coconut oil might seem like a bit of an odd addition as they mixture will be quite wet already but just go with me here, once the balls go into the fridge to set the oil will harden and help them hold a firm shape. Also, coconut nut oil is a superfood all of its own so don’t be scared of the fat factor; you’re doing yourself a favour.

At this stage the dough will be quite sticky and possibly a bit on the wet side so you’re going to start by adding just 1 T of coconut flour to begin with and make sure it’s mixed through thoroughly so you don’t end up with any nasty lumps. I’ve voiced my frustrations with coconut flour previously; while it’s a brilliant gluten-free flour alternative it’s also fickle thirsty bastard and absorbs a lot of moisture so you need to be very circumspect with it. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes for the coconut flour to do it’s absorbing and if it still looks too tacky then go ahead and add another tablespoon.

Finally, add the cacao nibs and either pulse the mixture gently or stir them through by hand so they stay nice and chunky rather than getting ground into the mixture.

Now you should have a really thick, tacky dough, it should be quite hard work if you try stirring with a spoon or fork but not totally stiff. At this stage it’ll be too sticky and squidgy to roll into balls so you’re going to harness the power of modern technology and put it in the fridge for an hour or so to firm up. If you’ve got some sort of urgent truffle emergency on your hands then go for the freezer to speed up the process.

 Meanwhile, in the future…

And now we’re ready to roll. Damp hands will be your friend here to stop the mixture sticking all over them as you roll. I suggest a bowl or glass of water to dip into; while licking might be fun for you, a coating of your saliva is not going to be very appetising for everyone else. Save your tongue for someone you love, what you do with it in your own time is up to you.

I reckon the flavour of these is pretty damn fine just like this but I also think there’s almost nothing that can’t be improved by the addition of chocolate so if you’re feeling like a bit of a smarty pants you can add the chocolate drizzle for a super flash finish. Simply melt the chocolate ingredients, mix thoroughly and let your inner artist loose on a bit of abstract drizzle art. I find it’s best to give the truffles another little blast in the freezer before you do the drizzle so they’re nice and cold and the chocolate will set super fast.

Job done. These are best stored in the freezer to keep them nice and firm.

Makes approx. 40 teaspoon sized balls.