PASS The BUCK-EYE Candy

BUCKEYE CANDY ~ Healthy treat

Healthy ~ Gluten Free and Vegan
My friend surprised me with some great chocolate the other day and I decided to make a favorite confectionery of mine – buckeye candy. With only cashews in the pantry,  I thought about cashews instead of the traditional peanuts.  Although about 2% of the population will have an allergic reaction to peanuts, they may or may not be allergic to other nuts. Remember, a cashew is a tree nut not a ground nut –  like the peanut.
BUCKEYE STORY
Why “BUCKEYE”?  Buckeye candy  is named after the shiny, dark nuts from the Buckeye Tree – the official state tree for Ohio. The Ohio General Assembly made its declaration in 1952 that “BUCKEYE BALLS” were officially the state’s candy since they  resembled the nut of the state tree of OHIO. Not to be confused with chestnuts. Although they look similar.  You can not eat a buckeye nut because it’s poisonous. But,  you can eat the confectionery version.  You’ll find  buckeye balls at Ohio’s college football games : Ohio State Buckeyes.   The other good news is that chocolate is known to release endorphins, so that may help reduce heart rates during a football game.
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CHOCOLATE COCONUT CASHEW BALLS (aka BUCKEYE’S)
~ Gluten Free ~

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup (8 pieces) Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 tsp. sweetener
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate for topping

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place cashews in a food processor and run on high until smooth, like peanut butter. This can take about 5 minutes.
  2. Add all of the other ingredients and process on high until well combined.
  3. Roll batter into small balls and dip into melted chocolate until almost but not completely covered. To do this, pierce the ball with a tooth pick and dip in the chocolate. Place on parchment and allow to set hard.





DID YOU KNOW? This recipe is free of: Milk, Peanut, Egg, Soy, Gluten, Wheat, Fish, Shellfish and Sesame. Let’s not forget the   six healthy benefits of chocolate. Dark chocolate is also free of the eight most common allergens. FOOD TIP:  You can use sunflower seeds as a substitute for the cashews. Sunflower seeds are very tasty.  Grated fresh ginger is a good substitute for turmeric for adults. Children are sensitive to strong spices.  You can leave out the turmeric for your kids.  Instead of turmeric substitute different flavours or spices. Take a tablespoon of the mixture ( without the turmeric ) and add some flavours ( e.g. coconut, butter extract) or spices (e.g. cinnamon, coriander ) ~  to see if you like it.  Experiment with it.
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VARIATIONS
Since EASTER is upon us, shape your cashew balls like an egg. Dip the egg shape in the chocolate. After cooling,  wrap the egg with coloured foil. METHOD: The egg shape is punctured with a toothpick on one end ~ dipped ~ then –>stick into a piece of potato or styrofoam on the other end to hold up the egg while hardening.   You can always sparsely sprinkle coarse salt on the dipped chocolate for added zip. Another final dip -> into chia seeds (optional). The eyes on the candy “faces” (pictured below) are made by  dipping  3 toothpicks (held together) into white chocolate and applying the drops on the ball. (or use sugar free white tic tacs). Do the same with one tooth pick dipped in dark chocolate for the brown dot inside the eye.  Test on a paper towel to get the right amount.   HALLOWEEN: Pretzel bits make great spider legs for added Halloween fun. You can make your buckeyes fit any season.

Photo courtesy of the purple almond.

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Chocolate Chili Truffles ~ Holiday Gifts ~

Deliciously dark (not-decadent) “Chili” Truffles. This recipe hails from  “South Of The Border Down Mexico Way!”  Around Christmas time I start whipping up my holiday truffles.  Add 2-3 truffles into mini boxes. Decorate with festive ribbon or glittery Christmas stickers and you’re ready to spread some cheer! Friends and family like your truffles even more knowing that you made them yourself and added a spoonful of love to each one! 💖

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INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups whole almonds
1 1/2 cups fresh dates(pitted)
1/2 cup (or more) cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (Ancho, New Mexican, etc.)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of cayenne pepper
chocolate (preferably couverture or chips or whatever you have for coating ) optional
INSTRUCTIONS
1. Pulse almonds in food processor until almost like almond butter. This will take several minutes.
2. Add the pitted dates and mix thoroughly.
3. Add the cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt, vanilla extract, chili powder and cayenne and process again until ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
4. Form mixture into bite sized balls.
5. Optionally coat with chocolate.
To do this, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or Bain Marie. Dip the balls into this mixture and leave to set on a piece of parchment. They can be placed in the refrigerator to set faster. Box these and give away as gifts or enjoy yourself.
Tempered chocolate.. great tips on dipping are marvelous!

didyouknow2DID YOU KNOW?
You will not experience any sugar drop with these little beauties since they are sweetened with dates. The usual ingredient of cream is replaced by almonds along with its multitude of health benefits. These truffles are perfect for vegans and those of you who are lactose intolerant.
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HELPFUL LINKS
My truffle boxes are called a Bow Top Favor Box.  I buy them at the Bulk Barn on the corner. I found a huge supply at McCall’s in Toronto, ON, Canada, ( no bow top boxes ). For their truffle boxes see: cake boxes page 6. online at www.mccalls.ca
Buy  online ( large orders ): boxandwrap.com  [ from the U.S. — All shipping destinations –select ivory bow box– ] Local shops are your best bet. Happy hunting!

White ‘Bow’ Boxes, Truffle Cups & Foil Wrap

How about your dinner party? Each guest will have the chocolate chili truffles right on their plate before seating. I have not set my table yet..but this is what it might look like with golden truffle boxes on each plate. White boxes are very festive too.

At the famous Harrods in London’s Knightsbridge you can buy a box of handmade truffles with flakes of edible 24-carat gold  that will set the buyer back an eye-watering £190 ( $238 U.S. $315 CAN dollars ). Champagne filled and studded by 100’s of Swarovski crystal on the box itself. I have enjoyed edible gold leaf chocolates at home and at restaurants. Decadent, but impressive! (You can buy edible gold leaf online ~ sometimes hard to get).

Harrods Gold Leaf Truffles

Harrods Gold Leaf Truffles

kids32VARIATION: Add any coating you like for the truffles; ground almonds,  chia seeds, shredded coconut  and what ever you have handy in the kitchen. Ask your kids what they would like as a coating and let them roll the truffles in the coatings. Easy and fun!   Raspberry Extract  in the mix adds another dimension to your truffles.  Chocolate, chili and raspberries are a match made in heaven! Kids love them too! No sugar rush!