Baklava Truffles

Baklava is one of my favorite desserts.  I’ve seen many variations of this rich, sweet dessert, from chocolate drizzled to baklava cheesecake, and believe me, they all taste incredible!

I’m usually pressed for time, and lately I’ve been creating healthier meals for my family. When it comes to healthy eating, I will admit that Baklava doesn’t immediately come to mind.  Why would it?  Traditional baklava is made with a syrup or honey, and lots and lots of butter.  This recipe, while not right up there in the health-food category, does cut back on a lot of the calories from butter, phyllo dough, and sugar.  It’s a good energy snack, and the thing I love best about it is that it’s a no-bake (aka quick and easy) recipe.

If you look at my list of ingredients below, you’ll notice an ingredient not common in traditional baklava recipes…almond butter.  I use almond butter partially to add another type of nut to this recipe, but it also serves as a way to bind everything together without using too much honey.

If you’re not familiar with almond butter, all it is are almonds ground until creamy, like peanut butter.  You can make your own almond butter — it’s really quite easy, if you have some patience and a good food processor, that is.  It’s more economical to make it yourself, as a small jar of almond butter sells for about $12.00!  I like adding pure maple syrup or honey to my almond butter to sweeten it up a bit.  To make your own almond butter, all you need are 3 cups of raw almonds and 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey (that’s if you want it sweet — the maple syrup and honey are completely optional).  Process only the almonds in your food processor — here’s where your patience comes into play as it takes a good 30 minutes of processing before the almonds turn into a creamy consistency.  Add the maple syrup or honey at the end, just so you can blend it with the almond butter.  Place in a resealable container (I use a mason jar or an empty peanut butter jar).

gheeSince you’ve just perused my list of ingredients, you’ll also notice I use ghee in my recipe.  Ghee is clarified butter — butter that’s been melted so that the milk solids separate from the butter fat, then cooked to boil out the moisture (butter has 15% to 20% moisture content while ghee has nearly 100% butter fat). Several traditional baklava recipes use ghee, lots and lots of it. You can find ghee in the international aisle of your grocery store, or you can make it yourself.

To make ghee, melt 1 pound (or 4 sticks) of butter in a medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat.  When the butter starts frothing, turn down the heat to low.  Keep cooking the butter until it starts to turn a dark golden color; the curds on the bottom of the pan will start to brown.  Use a clean, dry spoon to scoop away the frothy stuff on top.  When the melted butter looks clear, it’s done.  Remove it from the heat.  Strain the liquid through a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer.  Place in a clean container.  You can store ghee at room temperature (no refrigeration needed).

Make up a batch of these delicious truffles to take along with you for road trip snacks, snacks at work, or when you’re planning an outdoor trek and need some snacks for a quick energy boost.

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

No-Bake Baklava Truffles

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Ingredients:

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  • 1 cup pistachios
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup good quality honey
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Directions:

1.  Place the pistachios, walnuts, cinnamon and salt into a food processor.  Pulse it on high speed until the nuts are chopped into small pieces.

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2.  In a separate microwave-safe mixing bowl, place the honey and ghee (you can use regular butter instead of ghee).  Heat for about 30-60 seconds or until the ghee melts.  Add the almond butter and vanilla extract to the bowl.  Stir to combine.

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3.  Add the chopped nut mixture to the almond butter mixture.  Use a spatula to mix it all together.

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4.  Use a small cookie scoop to form small balls.  Place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the truffles to set.

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Optional:  Roll the truffles in chopped nuts before refrigerating.

ENJOY!

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