Carrot Cake Truffles

True or False:

Making something bite-sized increases the appeal ten-fold.

I’m gonna go with true.

Exhibit A: These Carrot Cake Truffles.

I take after my dad in many ways.

Corny jokes, enjoyment of golf, excel nerdiness…

and love of carrot cake.

Of course the real deal is best. A little bit of pineapple, some walnuts, and a thick layer of cream cheese frosting.

But always accessible? Not so much.

So what if you could get a bite of carrot-cakey goodness with a recipe that requires only 5 main ingredients and a food processor?

Winning.

I used Emmy’s Organics vanilla coconut cookies to make these truffles a) super simple and b) super delish.

Emmy’s are my FAV cause you know exactly what’s in each delish bite. Nothing I wouldn’t put in them myself!

So just throw them in a food processor with the other ingredients.

If you chill the batter before scooping, it will make the rolling part of this whole dealio so much simpler.

Also, a mini cookie scoop is a gadet you will never regret having in your arsenal.

Perfectly sized bites of goodness every time!

Rolling the scoops into smooth balls can get a little sticky.

I’ve found it to be easier with slightly damp hands.

These bites are delish just rolled up like that!

But for a finishing touch, roll them in shredded coconut.

Ta-da!

How pretty!

When rolling, it helps to press the ball into the coconut so the shreds adhere.

That’s it.

You now have an army of carrot cake bites ready for delish snacking!

These would be perfect for an Easter get together too!

Serve them up. Get compliments. Then surprise everyone with the whole “they’re actually healthy!” revelation.

The best.

A couple more things:

Any nut butter will work. Cashew would probably be delicious!

If you don’t have Emmy’s, just add some coconut shreds and a bit more maple syrup.

Happy Spring y’all!

Carrot Cake Truffles

The delish flavor of a classic spring cake in bite-sized form! Vegan, gf, no-bake goodness that results from dumping 5 ingredients in a food processor. Serve these up for an Easter win!
Servings: 14 truffles

Ingredients

  • 1 large carrot
  • 3 Emmy's Organics Vanilla Cookies
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seed butter *sub any nut/seed butter
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • coconut shreds to coat

Instructions

  • Shred the carrot in the food processor, then add the cookies, pumpkin seed butter, and maple syrup.
  • Pulse in the coconut flour and spices.
  • Transfer dough to a bowl to chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  • Scoop and roll dough into balls.
  • Coat the truffles in shredded coconut if using.

The Caffeine Conundrum

What is caffeine?

To many, it is synonymous with energy, alertness, the jolt you need to get moving and grooving.

But what is it really?

It’s a crystalline compound (C₈H₁₀N₄O₂) that stimulates the central nervous system of the consumer. Caffeine is quickly absorbed into the blood stream and broken down by the liver. The resulting compounds primarily effect brain function, through bypassing the effects of the neurotransmitter responsible for relaxation – adenosine. This phenomenon increases the activity of dopamine and norepinephrine, boosting blood adrenaline levels.

 

Bottom line: Caffeine stimulates the brain and results in a heightened nervous state of alertness and focus.

Primary sources of caffeine are coffee, tea, and cacao. Approximately 80% of the world’s population (90% of North American adults) consume at least one caffeinated beverage every day. Coffee is the boost-beverage of choice for the vast majority of North American consumers. With approximately 100mg of caffeine per cup, it can provide the surge of energy needed to seize the day.

 

The effects of caffeine have been analyzed by many – with results indicating positive nutritional and functional benefits. Caffeine elevates cognitive alertness, which has been shown to increase memory retention for up to 24 hours. Consumption prior to a workout can decrease inflammation and increase muscle torque. It has also been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels, leading to stable insulin sensitivity and a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The stimulating properties of caffeine can also fire up your metabolism, aiding in weight management. Antioxidants and polyphenols in coffee, tea, and cacao also provide nutritional benefits.

These results seem fabulous. Increased energy and a myriad of other benefits? We should all be chugging cup after cup of coffee. Right? Not necessarily. 

As with most things in life, the greatest benefits are realized through consumption in moderation. The recommended caffeine threshold for an adult is 300mg per day. The equivalent of two Tall brews from Starbucks. Sipping on a small cup of coffee at the start of your day could provide the benefits discussed above. However, the average American consumes over 3 cups throughout the day. So what happens when the scale tips toward the dark side of caffeine excess? 

The stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system caused by caffeine shifts the body into a fight-or-flight state of awareness. The smaller boost provided by a single cup of coffee can be beneficial in the morning when your hormones are primed for higher cortisol levels. However, continual stimulation can send the system into overdrive. Extended periods of heightened adrenaline cause physiological issues such as high blood pressure and heart rate as well as psychological downsides. Caffeine excess can increase the propensity to irritability, anxiety and panic. The problem does not lie with the chemical compound of caffeine itself, but rather continual consumption which repeatedly activates and overrides the nervous system without allowing for adequate recovery. The hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis is the subsystem which regulates hormones and manages stress. Over time, the heightened cortisol levels disrupt the normal patterns of other hormones, bypassing the HPA axis and ultimately causing dysfunction. The result is adrenal fatigue. The HPA axis can no longer properly manage the effects of caffeine, so it shuts down – draining energy instead of boosting it. 

So what can be done? How can the benefits of caffeine be achieved without the risk of excess? For many, the answer lies in tea. The polyphenols and antioxidant properties found in coffee are also present – sometimes to an even greater extent – in various forms of tea. The world of tea also offers a vast range of choices. Different flavors. Different benefits. Different caffeine levels. At 40mg per 8oz cup, black tea contains the highest level of caffeine. With only 20mg per cup, white tea offers the least. Herbal infusions such as chamomile are caffeine free. Mindfully choosing and brewing a cup of tea can give your nervous system a gentle boost without causing detrimental fatigue.