When I give talks about food and nutrition, I would usually mention how there is no good or bad food, only healthy or unhealthy diets. Diet in this equation means considering not just what you eat (type of food), but also how much (quantity) and how often (frequency).
In short, you can eat what you want and give in to your cravings. Especially if you consume healthy and nutritious food 80% of the time plus regular physical activity. Just look out for food that is greasy, salty, and sweet and consume those 20% of the time.
But what about during the holidays?
Salty. Sweet. Greasy.
Didn’t I just describe the most common foods we consume during the holidays? And for most Filipinos, YOLO and FOMO sets in before December and everyone is on #balikalindogprogram by January.
Our social media feeds are saturated with the latest foods that we can purchase this season. Our fridge and cupboards are stocked up with edible gifts. There is just so much food to eat, and it seems like the easiest way through is to forget food discipline for a month and push the reset button afterwards.
I would usually advise against giving perishable foods as presents because there is a great chance that (1) they already have a lot and (2) Filipino culture pressures one to consume everything. So the cake you are purchasing for your friend could be one cake too many.
But since people know me for being a good cook, it would be special if I gifted them something I made.
Something you should know is that when I share food, I try to use it as an educational tool so that the receiver gets to understand a nutrition principle or a cooking tip. And this time around, I wanted to give out a dessert that is not extremely sweet. My goal is to give them a baseline to compare and contrast all the sweeter desserts that they might eat.
On top of this, I wanted to make something that (1) requires no baking, (2) showcases a Filipino ingredient, and (3) contains natural but non-perishable ingredients. So I made some special chocolate truffles which are gluten-free, dairy-free, and diabetic-friendly.
Make This: Tablea Chocolate Truffles
The recipe starts with 180 grams of Premium Tablea. I used a mortar and pestle to grind the tablets until velvety smooth. I did this carefully since I added freshly boiled water into the mortar to aid the process. Make sure that the total amount of water used in the recipe is 5 cups or 1183 ml so don’t go overboard.
When all the tablea is in liquid form, pour this into a pot combined with 400 ml coconut milk and 300 grams of white sugar. I used a spatula to mix, scraping the bottom of the pot until the mixture is brought to a boil. Then I passed this through a strainer into a big mixing bowl. I used the spatula to dissolve the chocolate that was caught by the strainer so no flavor goes to waste.
To this, I added 250 g potato flakes and 2 tbsp vanilla extract. Then I mixed it thoroughly until no white specks can be seen and the mixture looks like smooth mashed potato.
I let the mixture cool down to room temperature, then I covered it with cling wrap and refrigerated it for 2 hours. Cooling the mixture will make it easier to shape it into truffles.
Meanwhile, it’s time to choose some toppings to dredge the truffles in to prevent sticking. I had desiccated coconut and cocoa powder too but I decided to go for brown sprinkles, crushed cashews, and rice crispies.
Using a 4cm ice cream scooper, I made a truffle and popped each into small bowls with the toppings. The trick is to quickly swirl the container until the chocolate blob is turned into a ball using centripetal force. And voila! I was able to make 100 truffles with this recipe.
Right after my friends tell me how delicious the truffles are, I tell them that I made it with potatoes. Each one of them were surprised and kept eating and searching for a hint of potato but all of them just ended up with an empty box of truffles! Overall, they found it as a wholesome and healthy dessert so mission accomplished!
Why potatoes? Well, why not? The potato flakes I used were such a versatile ingredient and a smart alternative for creating gluten-free baked goods. I also love how the star ingredient is also high in micronutrient content as potatoes are a good source of potassium, Vitamin C and fiber. This makes the recipe a champion in both taste and nutrition.