Many diet gurus will tell you that chocolate is high in fat and calories and to stay away. But there’s more to it than that. I’m here to tell you that when you are finished dieting, chocolate can be part of your eating plan on a fairly regular basis.
As president and “Chief Dieter” of Plan Z, I get chocolate-related questions fairly often, especially around Valentine’s Day. Before starting Plan Z, I was a food writer and loved to cook, bake and entertain (in fact I still do), so I have a lot to say about this topic. I also loooove chocolate. (Who doesn’t, right?) Without being too long-winded, here’s the scoop.
Chocolate starts out healthy. It comes from cacao, which is a plant with amazingly high levels of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. The health benefits of cacao are so numerous that raw cacao is known as a “superfood.” Raw cacao is super bitter though, so the beans are processed. They are fermented, dried, and shipped to factories where they are roasted and cracked. That’s how you get cacao nibs.
Cacao nibs resemble the texture of nuts but have a choco-bitter flavor. Pure cacao nibs are high in fiber, protein, healthy fats and low in sugar. Yes, they are good for you! They are a great plant-based source of iron, and they are also very high in magnesium, which is something everyone needs more of in their diet. 28 grams of cacao nibs added to your breakfast gives you nearly 1/3 of your daily recommended intake. Wowza! They also have a lot of the anti-inflammatory benefits of the cacao bean. But the nibs are dry and brittle and do not taste like the chocolate that comes to mind when we think of “chocolate.” So what happens next? They are processed...again...
If you’re looking for a special dessert that’s easy to make, you can’t go wrong with truffles. They’re rich, and they’re small, which makes it easy to control your portions and your carb count.
Use cognac, brandy, bourbon, or champagne to make the truffles. If you use a liqueur like Grand Marnier, the carb count will jump up. If you don’t use liquor in your cooking you can leave that out, but you’ll want to add a little more cream to get a good consistency. Truffles need the right amount of liquid or else they will be difficult to form.
Although I did not include it in this recipe, you can also flavor truffles with liquid stevia flavorings. You could use vanilla, coconut, or other flavorings. I kept mine plain – the cognac has so much flavor that I didn’t feel the need to add anything else!
Servings: This recipe will make about 20-24 truffles.