Sugar, as I've written before, is no friend to your skin (or mine!). Refined sugar spikes blood sugar, causing inflammation and accelerating skin aging, in addition to interfering with collagen production. We know this, yet we still get dessert cravings. What's a skin savvy-girl to do?
Make my Raw Cocoa Almond Truffles.
Now, if you have daily sugar cravings that are generally hard to control, they could signal that something is off in another area of your diet. For example, if you eat mostly plant foods, your sugar cravings could be a signal that your body needs more protein. Cravings are often your body's way of letting you know what it needs, so it's important to explore what your cravings mean.
Relentless sugar cravings aside, we all like something sweet now and then, especially when we can legitimize it. These Raw Cacao Almond Truffles are actually beneficial for our skin and our bodies, and completely free of refined sugar. Make them once and I predict that they'll become a go-to sweet treat. You'll serve them at holiday parties. You'll give wrap them up in a lovely box and give them as a gift. And they won't leave you with that terrible, over-sugared feeling.
Raw Cocoa Almond Truffles
These brownie-like truffles are free of refined sugar, and packed with protein, beneficial skin minerals, and anti-inflammatory spices.
Makes 12 1-inch truffles.
1 1/4 cup almond meal (Trader Joe's sells a fantastic and reasonably-priced version in their nut & trail mix section, or you can grind your own by pulsing raw almonds in a Vitamix)
3 tbsp organic raw cocoa powder (choose raw, not Dutched cocoa. I like Navitas Naturals, at Whole Foods)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt or Himalayan salt
dash of nutmeg or ground ginger
1 tbsp maple syrup or raw organic honey
1 tbsp unsweetened non-dairy milk to slightly soften and pull together if needed. (I prefer almond, though other milks like rice, soy and hemp work as well)
In a medium bowl, combine almond meal, cocoa powder, spices and salt. Add maple syrup/honey and non-dairy milk and incorporate thoroughly with a fork. It will take a few minutes to distribute the moisture evenly. If needed, add a splash more almond milk, being careful not to make the mixture mushy. Roll into 1" (truffle-sized) balls.
To dress them up for a party, roll in cocoa powder or unsweetened coconut flakes. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to snack or serve.
The best part of these treats is that they've got sweetness AND substance. A few amazing beauty nutrition facts: did you know that raw cacao has the highest concentration of antioxidants of any food in the world? Cacao is rich in chromium, manganese, zinc, iron, copper and magnesium- all essential trace minerals. A 2009 study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that chocolate with a high cocoa percentage can help protect skin from UV damage. And a Journal of Nutrition experiment found that drinking a cocoa-rich beverage improved skin hydration and reduced skin redness. Total beauty food!
Need any more reason to make these truffles? Here are a few:
Cinnamon regulates blood sugar (no sugar spikes and crashes for you), raw honey is full of active enzymes, phytonutrients and anti-bacterial properties (great for allergies and immunity), while almonds offer protein, healthy fats and minerals that are great for the skin- and the body!
Enjoy these truffles and feel free to alter the recipe to suit your personal tastes.