— by Helen Austin —
Ever since February was designated Heart Month, the Heart Association people have been after food writers to offer recipes for heart-healthy treats. I happened to come across one in Saveur magazine which – after I fooled around with it a little – I think fills the bill.
In Sweden, they apparently spend the 12 days of Christmas concocting a different sweet treat every day. Since I like to make chocolate truffles for gifts and parties, I decided to try this one. The rolled oats (low fat and high fiber) and coconut (at least high fiber if not low fat) provide a nice crunchy texture.
However, the original recipe called for two sticks of butter. After making one batch, I decided to substitute reduced-fat cream cheese for half the butter. I think you could probably use just cream cheese; next time I make these I’ll try it.
Making chocolate truffles is great for people who like to play with their food. Some recipes say to form them with two spoons, but I’ve never gotten the hang of that. Instead, I just use my hands to roll them up into balls.
2 ½ cups rolled oats (regular or quick-cooking)
1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese (half an 8-ounce package), regular or reduced fat
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, melted (see NOTE)
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons strong coffee
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Place rolled oats in food processor or blender and process to the consistency of coarse crumbs. (Use the pulse setting of the food processor about 10 or 12 times.) Remove and set aside. Place coconut in the same appliance and process until shreds are reduced to about half their original length. Transfer to small bowl and wipe out food processor.
In large bowl, using a hand-held mixer on medium speed, cream butter with cream cheese. Blend in sugar and salt, then melted chocolate, cocoa, coffee and vanilla. Add rolled oats and mix with a spoon until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Roll chocolate mixture into small balls (about 3-4 dozen), then roll each ball in coconut. Refrigerate until serving or gifting time.
NOTE: To melt chocolate in microwave, break into sections and place in microwave-safe dish (I use a Pyrex custard cup). Microwave on MEDIUM (50 percent power) 60-90 seconds. When chocolate begins to soften, take it out and stir. If any lumps remain, continue to microwave in 10-second increments.
© 2009 Helen Austin. All rights reserved.
If you are looking for an easy way for grandparents to connect with their grandkids during 2016, check out The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild’s Heart (available as a paperback and as an ebook). It’s organized by month and filled with hundreds of creative ideas.