While these Low Carb Chocolate Truffles are certainly not low calorie, the recipe below using sugar substitutes is quite low in carbs to spare your blood sugar from spiking and setting up an insulin response. They are delicious and very easy to make and chocolate, especially dark chocolate, actually has some health benefits. They’re certainly not something you would want to eat on a regular basis if your goal is weight loss, but keep them in the freezer and pull one out when the craving for something sweet will just not leave you alone.
Sugar Level in Standard Chocolate Truffles:
I made the first round of chocolate truffles with 8 oz. of Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate (60% cacao) and they were the best truffles ever. I didn’t realize how much sugar could be in Bittersweet Chocolate however (when it says 60% cacao it means the remaining 40% is sugar), so I adapted the recipe to include unsweetened chocolate and then explored using sugar substitutes. Still good, a little more bitter, but a lot less sugar!
Tips for Using Sugar Substitutes in Baking:
Sugar substitutes can be natural or artificial. Sugar substitutes are frequently referred to as “sugar alcohols”. Sugar alcohols include such names as maltitol, xylitol and erythritol.
With respect to spiking blood sugar and insulin response, some of these sugar alcohols are fine, but others…not so much.
The worst substitute is Maltitol, which has 75% of the blood sugar impact of sugar, but also only 75% of the sweetness. This means maltitol and table sugar end up being about equal when all is said and done.
The medical research does show that Saccharin, Aspartame, and Acesulfame potassium have strong evidence of negative health issues
Sucralose (or splenda) is one of the better artificial sweeteners as far as impacting blood sugar, glycemic index and insulin. The only other one that is comparable are things sweetened with xyrithitol (Truvia) or Stevia.
With respect to anecdotal impacts of using sugar substitutes, some people believe that they will trick the brain into thinking it is getting sugar and therefore derail the effort to eliminate sugar cravings.
The recipe below used a combination of a powdered sweetener (Truvia) and a liquid sweetener (Sucralose). The reason for this is that many of the powdered sweeteners can leave a gritty texture (not so much in truffles because it is heated up with the chocolate). Liquid sucralose on the other hand can leave the chocolate on the bitter side. A combination of both of them in this truffle recipe made a truffle that was nearly indistinguishable from the truffle made with the sugary bittersweet chocolate. Both recipes are included below for your cravings pleasure.
Recipe for Classic Chocolate Truffles (with Pistachio Coating)
- 8 oz 80% dark chocolate bar (or even 70%)
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream (fluid)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp good vanilla (I used vanilla bean paste, but choose your own)
- 1 Tbsp bourbon
- 1/2 cup crushed pistachios (or hazelnuts or pecans)
Double Boiler Method:
- Place chocolate and cream in a stainless steel or glass bowl and place over a pot of lightly simmering water. Stir constantly until everything is melted and mixture is smooth. (maybe 5-10 minutes). Do not heat over high heat or mixture might separate. Stir with a spatula and watch it melt until it is smooth and creamy.
- Stir in salt, vanilla and bourbon while mixture is still warm.
- Pour into a pie plate or baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour to overnight.
- When ready to make truffles, remove from refrigerator and let it get soft enough to form balls. Using a melon baller or spoon, make balls (about 1 inch in diameter). Roll between palms and then roll in crushed nuts.
- Refrigerate, but don’t serve ice cold; remove from refrigerator about 10 minutes before serving.
- Can be refrigerated for up to 10 days or freeze and consume at a later day (but consume within 10 days of thawing).
Place chocolate and cream and sugar substitutes in microwave for one minute and 10 seconds at HALF POWER (50%). Take out and stir until smooth. If not completely smooth, place back in microwave for 5 more seconds only. Stir again. Continue with above recipe starting at step 2.
Recipe for Chocolate Truffles Using Sugar Substitute:
- 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate (shredded with a box grater)
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 Tbsp Truvia
- 3/4 tsp to 1 tsp liquid sucralose
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp bourbon (optional)
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup crushed nuts (pistachios, hazelnuts, etc.)
Make according to the directions above. The only difference is to shave or grate the unsweetened chocolate ahead of time so it melts quicker, add the sweeteners to the chocolate/cream mix in step 1, and watch the mixture closely until it is melted, making sure it doesn’t separate.
**Note: Place these in the freezer and pull out one when you need a chocolate fix. Just know that the cocoa has quite a bit of caffeine so don’t eat too close to bedtime.
Enjoy either way, the classic truffle or using sugar substitutes!!! Just make sure if you do the Ghirardelli version that it’s on cheat day!