It’s that time of year again, when it’s still very much the dead of winter — but Spring is starting to be on our minds. Tu B’Shvat is the middle of the Hebrew month of Shvat, and is often called a “holiday for the trees”. It traditionally celebrated the fruits of the last year of harvest and the beginning of a new one.
As you may have heard, our little Middle East found itself in quite the storm last month. Although it’s not nearly as cold now, the contrast between how Winter-y it still is and Tu B’Shvat’s strong focus on Spring once again has me thinking that things are starting to grow all around us and inside of us, before we even notice them.
To celebrate, people often plant trees or plants and eat dried fruits and nuts. Last year I made these energy cookies. This year, I felt like something a little more luxurious. These truffles called my name out of my recipe box, and now you all get make and enjoy them.
These would also be perfect for National Hallmark Day (also known as Valentine’s Day), which is quickly upon us!
A small disclaimer – these are not the type of treats I would try to sell to non-vegans or people who only like unhealthy stuff as classic “truffles”. They taste good, but (why does it have to be a “but”?) they also taste good-for-you. They definitely do, however, satisfy a strong sweet-tooth and deliver an intense chocolaty punch.
You can make it more appealing to the average picky eater by grinding the nuts to a smooth paste before adding the other ingredients. But if you are like me (lazy and like nutty pieces), just follow the recipe as is.
Enjoy, and happy tree holiday!
Blueberry-Walnut Chocolate Truffles for Tu B’Shvat:
Lightly adapted from a recipe my mom got from a super-healthy friend
Serves: Makes about 60 truffles
Estimated Time: 35 minutes prep time + 3 hours total chilling time
Kosher Classification: Neutral
Music That Compliments This Dish: Ki Ha’Adam Etz Ha’Sade (For Man is the Tree of the Field)
2 cups walnuts
1 cup dried blueberries
1 cup medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup cocoa powder, plus more for coating
1 teabag of caffeine-free, fruity tea
Begin by steeping your fruity tea tea in a cup of hot water. Don’t fill it all the way like I did in the pictures, because it will overflow when you add the blueberries. I chose a strawberry-rose-hip tea, but you can use any fruity tea you like.
Soak the blueberries in the tea for ten minutes. I found that the big, juicy dried blueberries work far better than the tiny, shriveled-up ones that suck anyway.
In the meantime, put the rest of the ingredients into the bowl of your food processor. If you want a creamier finish to the truffles, put in just the nuts first and grind to a smooth, fine paste. If you prefer your truffles slightly nutty and crunchy, just dump in all the ingredients together (yay!)
Strain the blueberries of the tea and add them to the food processor as well. The tea-juice can be saved and put to many different uses: for flavoring sparkling water, for cooking fruits in for pie-fillings, and even as natural soft food coloring.
Process all the ingredients together until it comes together into a dark, chocolaty log.
Transfer the mixture to a shallow bowl, flatten it down and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Once 30 minutes have passed, line a tray with parchment paper and begin spooning out teaspoon-sized chunks of chocolate mess and rolling them into balls between the palms of your hands.
You will probably need to wash your hands a few times when everything becomes too sticky to comfortably work with. A good telltale sign is when your hands start looking like this:
When you finished shaping everything into balls (there should be about 60), transfer the tray to the fridge and chill for another 30 minutes.
Then spoon out 2-3 Tablespoons of cocoa powder onto a flat plate, and roll out each ball in it until completely covered. Work quickly to prevent your hands from over-heating the truffles.
Once your’e done, simply chill for at least two hours. Serve cold.
These do make a mess, so don’t try weird things like rolling them on your carpet/walls!
- Steep the teabag of fruity tea in a cup of hot water and soak 1 cup dried blueberries in it for ten minutes.
- Strain the blueberries (save the tea-juice if you like).
- Process blueberries, 1 cup pitted mejhool dates, 2 cups walnuts, and 1/2 cup cocoa powder in a food processor until smooth.
- Transfer mixture to a shallow bowl and chill for 30 minutes.
- Spoon out teaspoons of the mixture and form balls with your hands. Arrange on a tray lined with parchment paper and chill for another 30 minutes.
- Roll each ball in cocoa powder to coat. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.