I didn’t intend to post a recipe today, but my daughter and I had so much fun making these natural “Fauxmond Joy” candies that I couldn’t resist sharing them with you. The photos are Halloweenish because yesterday was Halloween (I’m always behind the times), but the treats are good any time of the year.
Before I get to the recipe, I have a few announcements to make and a bunch of thanks to hand out:
First of all, the VegNews Veggie Awards issue is out, and for the fourth time you have voted FatFree Vegan Kitchen as your favorite blog. I can’t tell you how thankful I am to all of you who took the time to answer that loooong survey back in August. It warms my heart to know I have such devoted fans. Thank you! You are the best!
Also thank you to everyone who voted for me in the Shape magazine contest. I didn’t win, but I’m thrilled that this vegan blog came in second in a mainstream publication’s contest. Go vegans! Another contest I did win (and didn’t even know I was nominated for) was the Vegetarian Health Institute’s award for Best Healthy Blog. Thank you to everyone who voted for Fatfree Vegan Kitchen; it’s a big honor!
One more thing and I’ll finally get to the recipe: Vegan Holiday Kitchen, Nava Atlas’s latest cookbook, was released today (and is selling fast). If you’ve missed all my bragging about it on Facebook, let me tell you that the reason this is a big deal for me is that I took the photos for the book and my name even appears on the cover. (This is a big “buy one for everyone in my family” moment for me!) I’ll be sharing a recipe in a few days, but you can get a preview of four of the recipes and photos in today’s New York Times; click on each photo in the slideshow to see it full-sized. (Yes, the New York Times! Please wait for me while I call my mother!)
Okay, I’m back and ready to talk about the recipe. Over the weekend my daughter mentioned that she loved Almond Joy candy bars. I did not know this. I did know that she went through a period a few years ago when she decided to be vegetarian rather than vegan at birthday parties, Halloween, and just generally everywhere candy or ice cream was present. After about a year, she came back around to being vegan on her own–which I think is the way you have to become vegan. Anyway, she said that she missed Almond Joy, and I said it would be easy to make a vegan version (and, of course, it’s been done). But I wanted my Fauxmond Joys to be a little lower in sugar and contain less chocolate so I came up with this version which, truth be told, tastes like the original…if you’ve never had one. Still, if you have a craving for something coco-nutty and chocolaty, these fill the void, with a little fruity, prune flavor as a bonus. (Thanks to Facebook fan Lynn S. for suggesting the name Chocolate Nuggets.)
Chocolate-Almond Nuggets of Joy
I normally use Medjool dates in treats like this, but this time I decided to use dried prunes, which give them a much more fruity flavor and contribute around half the calories of dates. Dates would probably make them more authentic-tasting, so feel free to use them if you like.
- 1 cup D’Noir prunes (about 16 dried prunes) or medjool dates
- 3/4 cup flaked or shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon confectioners sugar
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 24 raw almonds
- 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (dairy-free kind), optional
- Put the prunes or dates, coconut, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder into the food processor and blend until you have a sticky blob. Divide the blob and process again briefly to make sure that ingredients are well-distributed. If the mixture doesn’t seem sticky enough, you can add more prunes or dates (but prunes should already be very sticky).
- Scrape the blob out onto a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and flatten it till it’s about 1-inch thick. Keep it covered and refrigerate for about 15 minutes.
- Mix the confectioners’ sugar and the tablespoon of cocoa powder on a dinner plate. Scoop out a heaping teaspoon of the coconut mixture, form into an oval shape, press an almond into the middle, and cover it with coconut mixture. Roll each nugget (or as many as you want) in cocoa/confectioners’ sugar, and place on a plate. Repeat about 23 times.
- You can serve them immediately or add a chocolate squiggle. Place the nuggets into the freezer for a few minutes while you gently heat the chocolate chips (I used a microwave). As soon as the chips are just barely melted, scrape the chocolate into a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip. Pipe chocolate onto each nugget.
- Nuggets keep well covered at room temperature for about 2 days. Refrigerate if you need to keep them longer.
Preparation time: 20 minute(s) | Cooking time: 2 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 24 nuggets
Nutrition (per serving, no chocolate): 38 calories, 12 calories from fat, 1.4g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 7.8mg sodium, 76.3mg potassium, 6.8g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 4.1g sugar, <1g protein, 1.2 points. (Nutrition data uses prunes and sweetened, shredded coconut.)
Nutrition (per serving, with chocolate): 47 calories, 16 calories from fat, 1.9g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 8mg sodium, 76.3mg potassium, 7.9g carbohydrates, 1.1g fiber, 4.1g sugar, <1g protein, 1.4 points.