A Sweet Holiday Lagniappe
In New Orleans, you will often see and hear the word lagniappe.
It is pronounced LAN-yap. What it means is “a little something extra” or “just for good measure”. A baker’s dozen is one example of lagniappe. Buy 12 donuts, get the thirteenth for free. At the local pub, a bowl of salty, crunchy snacks offered alongside your frosty mug is a lagniappe. When you’re reading a recipe for birthday cake and, in addition to the ingredient list and instructions on preparing the cake, you find a sidebar with shortcut tips or the history of decorative icing---that’s your lagniappe---a little extra info, just for good measure.
I consider my FRUIT AND NUT TRUFFLES a lagniappe. They are the perfect little something extra to go with a steaming cup of afternoon tea or a glass of red wine by the fire. Nestle a few in a tiny festive box, and it is the perfect lagniappe for your guests to take home after dinner. The great thing about these sweet treats is the fact that they are 100% vegan, gluten-free and contain no processed sugar. They are filled with naturally sweet fruit and salty nuts and are as decadent as so many other types of holiday indulgences…without the guilt!
These delightful truffles will surely impress---and if you want to REALLY impress, make sure you use the word lagniappe as often as possible!
FRUIT AND NUT TRUFFLES
Makes approx. 10-12 depending on size.
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup mixed cashews and walnuts (or cashews & pecans)
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
Juice of half an orange
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or mixed spice of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and clove)
1 heaping Tablespoon ground flax seed (or ground almond meal)
1 Tablespoon coconut oil (solid)
Dried flaked coconut for rolling, sweetened or unsweetened (at least 1 cup)
Zest the orange, using a fine grater. Set grated rind aside. Squeeze the juice of half the orange into a small bowl and add the raisins, dried cranberries, orange zest and spices. Let stand 3 hours or overnight until fruit absorb the juice and spices.
In a food processor, blend nuts and fruit mixture until everything sticks together. (Half a minute) There will be some rustic chunks. Remove from processor and place in a bowl. Add the flax meal and solid coconut oil and mix in thoroughly.
Pour dried flaked coconut onto a plate. Take about a teaspoon full of the truffle mixture and form it into a ball with your hands. Roll the ball in the coconut, coating all around and roll with your hands again to help the coconut adhere.
May be served at room temperature or chilled for a firmer texture.