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A&E >  Cooking

Make two-bite chocolate truffles your love language this Valentine’s Day

Though they’re made with familiar ingredients, these truffles have an eye-popping flavor.  (Laura Chase de Formigny/For the Washington Post)
Though they’re made with familiar ingredients, these truffles have an eye-popping flavor. (Laura Chase de Formigny/For the Washington Post)
By Ellie Krieger Special To The Washington Post

I’ll be whipping up a batch of these swoon-worthy treats this Valentine’s Day as an act of self-love. Sure, I’ll share with my husband, but since he doesn’t buy into the holiday, and I am a firm believer in a Be Your Own Valentine approach to life, they will really be a gift to myself.

They are two-bite chocolate-covered confections, which not only offer pure, sensual pleasure, they also do so in a better-for-you way without much added sugar, making them all the more lovable.

At their center is a finely ground blend of buttery, toasted pecans, dried dates and graham crackers spiked with a bold, warmly fragrant mix of maple syrup, cocoa powder, strong brewed coffee and vanilla extract.

That heady mix is rolled into balls and then coated in melted dark chocolate for a truffle-like presentation. Since each ingredient is so familiar, you might think you could easily imagine how a combination of them would taste together. But when I first bit into one, my eyes widened with surprised delight.

Exponentially more than the sum of their parts, the truffle ingredients enhance one another in the most magical, mouthwatering way – just the kind of thing that speaks my love language.

Pecan Mocha Truffles

1 cup pecan pieces

3 full sheets graham crackers

¼ cup coarsely chopped pitted dates

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon strong brewed coffee or espresso

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

⅔ cup chopped dark chocolate

In a dry medium skillet over medium-high heat, toast the pecans, stirring frequently, until fragrant and darker, about 3 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a plate and let them cool completely.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the cooled pecans, graham crackers and dates and process until finely ground. Add the maple syrup, cocoa powder, coffee, vanilla and salt and process until combined.

Line a large rimmed baking sheet or large plate with wax paper. Using your hands, roll the pecan mixture into 12 balls, each about 1 inch in diameter, placing them on the wax paper as they are formed.

Place a large bowl over a pot with an inch or so of barely simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water).

Add the chocolate to the bowl and let it melt, stirring occasionally. (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in the microwave by warming it in 20-second intervals, stirring well between each.)

Using two forks, roll each ball into the chocolate, letting any excess chocolate drip off before returning the truffles to the wax paper.

Refrigerate, uncovered, until set, about 20 minutes, before eating or storing.

Yield: 6 servings; makes 12 truffles

Storage notes: The truffles can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

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