Get an energy boost with these Ayurvedic holiday treats.
December. The beauty of now is the illumination, the enlivened hearts, the hope of the holiday spirit. The challenge now is that this flurry of activity can make us feel scattered, ungrounded, a whirlwind of go-go-go.
Managing this buzzy energy, which Ayurveda calls Vata, is essential now when all the world’s a stage, a party, a whir and even a blur. This, after all, is Vata season, when the waning light of the days reflects to us the potential waning of our own strength and health. At this time, when the energies of air and space are dominant, we need the elements of fire, water and earth to balance and fortify. In terms of food, that means warm, grounding, and soothing.
These holiday “Snowball Truffles” are perfect for this season as they include rejuvenating, energy-lifting and digestive-enhancing ingredients that, like any Ayurvedic formula, makes it more than the sum of its parts. Plus, as well as feeding your health, these darling little energy bites score at parties, with an earthy creaminess that just melts in your mouth.
As these truffles are a play on a classic Ayurvedic recipe, it would be completely in line with the intent to add a teaspoon of a balancing Ayurvedic herb. Slightly tasting of clove and a known anti-stress agent, Tulsi is a great choice for the holidays. Brain-enhancing Brahmi pairs well with chocolate if you go that way, and Ashwagandha is the great Ayurvedic rejuvenative, which would help with holiday fatigue. But just a scant teaspoon or your truffles will taste like medicine!
The recipe is open to your favorite add-ins. Raw cacao powder, for instance, helps with the consistency, although I am not sure about the taste. Many friends say they like the cacao. I thought it was sort of the taste-equivalent of a dominant personality pushing in on a sweet conversation between two close friends: Madame Ginger and Sweet Miss Cherry interrupted by scene-stealing Monsieur Cacao.
The options are plenty, but essentially, and most important for this season, they are a breeze and a joy to make.
HOLIDAY SNOWBALL TRUFFLES ENERGY BALLS
Makes about 10-12 truffles
Skipping the chocolate will keep the batter a lighter color, more in keeping with the snowball look. If you do say ciao to M. Cacao, then add the almond milk slowly, adding only enough so that the ingredients mix, but careful not to make it too wet and gooey. If that does happen, add in more ground flax (or psyllium powder) until you get a firmer consistency. If you want to add chocolate and don’t have raw cacao, melt a dark chocolate bar and add it to the batter, but then omit the coconut oil.
2 handfuls dried cherries
2 handful raisins
1 small handful crystallized ginger
1/4 cup almond butter
1 tablespoon almond milk
4 medjool dates
1 teaspoon ground flax seed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon all-spice (or cinnamon, clove, nutmeg combined)
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
1 pinch pink or sea salt
1/2 cup sesame seeds, or shredded coconut/coconut flakes (see below for dosha indications)
Optional: 1/2 cup raw cacao Brahmi, ashwagandha or tulsi powder
Put everything except the sesame seeds in an electric blender and mix until it becomes a smooth batter. If you are including an ayurvedic herbal powder, add small pinches at a time and taste as you go. Some herbs add a nice earthiness or peppery distinction, but others can overwhelm. Go slow, taste and adjust – a good holiday motto!
Refrigerate the batter for 20 minutes, or up to 24 hours.
Shake your sesame seeds or coconut onto a small plate. Roll the snowballs in the sesame seeds to cover completely. Lay out on a serving platter with fresh cranberry and sprigs of rosemary for color, or pop in a truffle box for gifts.
If you are not serving immediately, keep refrigerated until half an hour before serving. Serve at room temperature.
Vata: Perfect! Use sesame seeds, and enjoy with a cup of ginger tea.
Pitta: Use shredded coconut or coconut flakes instead of sesame seeds and enjoy with a glass of not-too-hot mint tea.
Kapha: Double the amount of all-spice, add a hearty pinch of ginger powder or a small pinch of red pepper, and enjoy with a mug of hot spiced tea.