Dark winter mornings are difficult to enjoy. And because E likes to wake somewhere between 5 and 6, I have a lot of long winter mornings to enjoy; long dark hours to fill before the sun rises, before the library opens, before the playground sheds its skin of frost.
But come December first, there is one source of joy: the advent calendar. A small wooden house, covered in doors each bearing an illustration of a cookie or a Christmas ornament, appeared on our mantle this year, and it instantly became the focus of our morning. The doors had to be counted, the knobs pulled, the illustrations examined. And of course, there was chocolate.
The advent calendar was by far the most exciting aspect of Christmas, due to the unprecedented dose of daily chocolate.The chocolate was the highlight, but the process, counting the tiny doors, finding the correct one, pulling the chocolate wafer out of its paper wrapping, each part of the ritual was valued. So when it was time to put the calendar away it left a small hole in our cold, dark mornings.
We needed something sweet to cheer us out into the cold. Making chocolate, real chocolate, a morning staple would diminish our health and our appreciation of this magical food, but I could make a reasonable facsimile.
These chocolates are essentially dates in disguise which serve the dual purpose of allowing me to bribe my child with chocolate while feeding her healthy dried fruit and cocoa powder. Aside from being full of B vitamins, iron, fibre, magnesium and potassium, they are chocolaty and chewy and fudgy .
8 ounces dates
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cocoa powder
Maldon Sea Salt
1.Preheat oven to 325C
2. Roughly chop the dates and cover with boiling water
3. Once the water has cooled pulse dates and liquid in a food processor until smooth
4. Stir in Cocoa powder
5. Incorporate egg
6. Using a teaspoon place 24 mounds of batter onto a parchment lined cookie sheet
7. Place a walnut or pinch of sea salt on each mound (optional)
8. Bake for 10-12 minutes
Note: Truffles can be frozen