Healthy Hazelnut Truffles
These homemade hazelnut truffles are everything you want in a truffle - rich, crunchy, creamy and decadent...but best of all, they only require 6 ingredients!
Prior to giving up most dairy products, Ferrero Rocher's were probably up there with one of my favourite chocolates. I haven't eaten them in years so I really wanted to try and recreate them, but with a healthier twist of course. These hazelnut truffles really hit the spot and have all the same flavours as Ferrero Rocher's (I promise), just without all the added sugar!
Let's talk ingredients
Of course, dark chocolate makes up the primary ingredient in these truffles. In order to get your truffles to taste high quality, it’s best to use a high quality chocolate, preferably one that is 70% cacao or higher. Generally, the higher the cocoa content, the lower the sugar and the greater the quality (the greater the nutritional value too). I recommend using Vivani, Green and Black’s or Lindt.
*Some of Lindt’s dark chocolates contain milk fat so if you’re dairy-free try and go for the Lindt Excellence dark chocolate range as it’s free from dairy.*
Health benefits of good quality dark chocolate:
Contains a high amount of phytonutrients known as flavonols. These are plant chemicals that act as antioxidants, which can help to reduce blood pressure, lower the risk of heart disease and improve cognitive function (1)
Rich in minerals such as: - Iron - needed to support the immune system and transport oxygen around the body - Magnesium - promotes heart and cardiovascular health and helps with insulin resistance - Copper - needed for red blood cell formation, immune function and iron absorption
Please note that the above information applies to good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher) that is not loaded with sugar, emulsifiers or hydrogenated oil. It’s best to opt for a brand where sugar is not listed first on the list of ingredients.
As I’m sure you already anticipated, this recipe calls for hazelnuts...lots of them! They’re used in the truffle filling, the truffle coating and one is placed in the centre of each truffle for added crunch and texture.
In order to make the filling, you’ll need to roast the hazelnuts in the oven for 10-12 minutes at 180°C. This allows the oils in the hazelnuts to be released, which will help them turn into a thick, creamy butter when blended. Prior to blending, ensure you rub the hazelnuts with a kitchen towel to remove any excess skin.
High in Vitamin E - helps to prolong cell life and is needed for healthy skin and eyes
Great source of omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, including oleic acid, which helps to reduce inflammation
High in antioxidants, known as phenolic compounds, which can help to reduce blood cholesterol and inflammation. They also protect the body against oxidative stress, which can harm our cell structure (2)
Hazelnut oil is best if you have it as it will give the truffles a more intense hazelnut flavour, but if you don’t, not to worry, coconut oil can be used in its place. Hazelnut extract will also work.
Substitute: coconut oil or hazelnut extract
Like the oil, hazelnut milk is best to use for a more intense hazelnut flavour. I recommend using either Plenish or Rude Health as they’re both great quality brands and can be found in most U.K. supermarkets.
Substitute: any plant-based milk
Maple syrup is used to give these little delights some non-refined sweetness. Although it is a natural source, it’s important to note that maple syrup still contains a high amount of sugar and should be consumed in moderation. Always use a brand that is made up of 100% pure maple syrup and is free of any added sugars, thickeners or syrups.
Try to keep your hands cold when rolling the truffles to prevent the chocolate from melting. It helps to run your hands under cold water for a few seconds. Repeat this as many times as you need, just ensure your hands remain cold throughout the rolling process!
Healthy Hazelnut Truffles
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes plus 4 hours chilling
For the filling:
150g raw hazelnuts
50g dark chocolate
1 tbsp hazelnut oil or coconut oil
60ml hazelnut milk
2 ½ tbsp maple syrup (add more or less according to your desired level of sweetness)
Pinch of salt
For the coating:
70g hazelnuts, chopped
For the centre:
20 whole hazelnuts, raw or roasted and without the skin
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the hazelnuts onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and place in the oven for 10-12 minutes. If you’re using roasted hazelnuts, place them in the oven for 8-10 minutes to warm them up.
2. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes. Use a kitchen towel to rub the skin off the hazelnuts, ensuring you remove as much of it as you can.
3. Transfer the hazelnuts to a blender or food processor and blend on a medium-low speed until a thick butter has formed - around 4-7 minutes. Ensure you check on it every so often and regularly scrape down the sides.
4. Meanwhile, add the chocolate to a heatproof bowl and heat over a double boiler. Make sure this is done over a low heat and that you are continuously stirring the chocolate. Once this has melted, remove from the heat immediately.
5.Once your hazelnut butter is nice and smooth, add the melted chocolate to the blender, along with the rest of the ingredients for the filling. Blend until well incorporated. If it is not sweet enough, add some more maple syrup until you’ve reached your desired level of sweetness.
6. Transfer to a jar or glass container, let it cool down to room temperature (around 20-30 minutes) and then place in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
7. Use a spoon to scoop out portions of the filling mixture. Place one portion into the palm of your hands and use the palm of your other hand to flatten. Place one whole hazelnut in the centre and close the mixture around it. Roll between your hands until you form an even ball. Coat the balls in chopped hazelnuts and transfer to a plate or air tight container.
8. Store these in the fridge for up to 7 days or freeze and consume within a month (if you have the willpower)! I love to leave mine in the freezer and take them out about 20 minutes before eating!
I hope you love this recipe!
In order to give the truffles their structure, you’ll need to place the filling mixture in the fridge and let it rest for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight. You can, however, place it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes, although this may make it more difficult to scoop out.
You may be left with more filling than you need for 20 truffles, depending on how big you make them. You can use this to make more truffles or as a spread for toast - it tastes just like Nutella!