These Healthy Pecan Pie Truffles have all the delicious flavor of a classic pecan pie but packaged up in delicious, easy-to-eat balls! These truffles are packed with toasted pecan chunks surrounded by a gooey caramel-like filling, coated in dark chocolate, and topped with some flakey sea salt. This healthified candy is easy to make, requires no candy thermometer, corn syrup free, and made with better-for-you ingredients! A major upgrade to the traditional pecan pie.
What Do These Healthified Pecan Pie Truffles Taste Like?
Imagine the filling of a classic pecan pie; ample toasty and crunchy pecan chunks clinging together in a just-perfectly-sweet and gooey caramel-like mixture. These Pecan Pie Truffles taste exactly like a traditional pecan pie, but we ditch the crust, ball-ify the filling, and smother those balls in a dark chocolate coating. And, of course, finish with some sea salt sprinkles for good measure. And while a conventional pecan pie is typically made with a hefty dose of corn syrup, these are sweetened with coconut sugar and use only real ingredients with absolutely no weird stuff! In fact, this recipe requires only 8 simple ingredients which I believe makes them taste even better than the pie it is inspired by!
How Are These Pecan Pie Truffles Made?
The best part about these no-bake Healthy Pecan Pie Truffles is that they are delicious and super easy to make! Unlike a pie, they are basically goof-proof and likely to be delicious even if some mistakes are made. And I always love a candy recipe that doesn’t require a candy thermometer! The less tools (aka dishes) the better! Here’s a rundown of the steps:
- Toast the pecans in a hot 400 degree oven for 4-5 minutes. I highly recommend you not skip this step. It really brings out the deep nutty flavor of the pecans and the toasting gives the nut a good crunch that is glorious in contrast to the creamy caramel.
- Make the caramel mixture by heating together the coconut cream, coconut sugar, and coconut oil in a small pot. Let simmer a few minutes, then stir in the vanilla, nut/seed butter, and salt. Let set for a few minutes to thicken.
- Stir chopped pecans into caramel mixture.
- Freeze pecan pie filling to let the flavors meld and firm up so it can be rolled into balls. About 1-2 hours, but the longer the better.
- Scoop and roll filling into balls. You can really make any size truffle you like, but I find that my medium (40 mm) scoop makes the perfect sized balls with just the right ratio of filling to chocolate.
- Place filling balls back in the freezer.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler.
- Coat filling balls with chocolate.
- Sprinkle with sea salt. (Optional but highly recommended.)
- Let chocolate set.
Make Ahead: These Pecan Pie Truffles can be made ahead at almost any step! The mixture, uncoated balls, and the completed chocolate coated balls can be stored in the freezer for a few months! These can be eaten straight out of the freezer or let temper on the counter for a few minutes before serving for a more gooey center.
I have tested this recipe many times with different methods for coating the balls. These truffles will taste delicious no matter how you coat them, but I have found the following to be some helpful tips to getting the most aesthetic chocolate coating.
- Use good quality dark chocolate. I found the best results when I upgraded my chocolate from regular dark chocolate chips to a better quality chocolate. I ended up using Hu’s dark chocolate baking gems which are 70% dark chocolate. I recommend using a good quality chocolate baking bar chopped into chunks or chocolate melting wafers (like these).
- Keep filling balls as cold as possible. The balls will be much easier to coat when they are frozen solid. This prevents them from deteriorating when dipped in the melted chocolate. I like to work in batches, keeping as many filling balls in the freezer as possible and taking out a few at a time just before coating them. The longer the balls are left in the freezer the better.
- Let melted chocolate cool. Be patient, and let the chocolate cool for at least a few minutes after it has melted. This helps keep the filling balls in tact and prevents them from losing their shape when dipped into the chocolate.
- Work in small batches. I found that pouring a small amount of the melted chocolate into a small bowl and coating the balls in the small container really helps keep the chocolate coating easier to use. Inevitably, some of the filling will get into the chocolate coating and will cause the chocolate to thicken or seize. This will make it more difficult to coat the balls. So decanting small amounts of melted chocolate at a time really helps keep the chocolate smooth and loose.
- Toothpick method. Normally, when coating something in chocolate, I use the fork method of dunking the thing into the coating, turning it over, using the fork to lift it out, and letting the excess chocolate drip off. But here, I found that using a toothpick was really the most effective and easy method. Simply pierce a filling ball with a toothpick, quickly dunk and turn it around in the chocolate to coat, then lift and let the excess drip off. Then, turn the ball upright, slide onto a fork and pull the toothpick out from the bottom in order to place the coated ball back on the baking sheet.
These Healthy Pecan Pie Truffles are made better-for-you as they are made with only simple, real ingredients and contain no refined sugars, flours, or oils. They are also paleo-friendly meaning they are free from gluten, grain, and dairy. Plus, they are vegan! These are the ingredients you will need:
- Pecans – I used raw pecans and toasted them quickly in the oven. It couldn’t be easier and takes only 4-5 minutes. Feel free to buy roasted, but unsalted, pecans if you prefer to skip this step.
- Coconut Cream – The solid upper layer from a fresh can of coconut milk. Use as much of the white solid as possible, but it’s totally fine if there is some milk included to get the amount needed for the recipe. I do not recommend using light or low-fat coconut milk. I used Native Forest Classic Coconut Milk but Thai Kitchen is another great option.
- Coconut Sugar – This keeps the truffles refined sugar free and as coconut sugar has an inherently caramel-like flavor, it really makes the filling taste just like a traditional caramel. I use and love Nutiva’s Coconut Sugar.
- Coconut Oil – Helps create the caramel mixture. Use refined coconut oil for a coconut-free flavor.
- Vanilla – A must for a good tasting caramel! I highly recommend using a good quality vanilla extract for these truffles.
- Nut/Seed Butter – Used to thicken the caramel and help it solidify when chilled. Use any thick and creamy nut or seed butter you like such a cashew, almond, peanut, or sunflower seed butter. I have made these with all of the above, except peanut butter, which I feel would overpower the pecans. My favorite of the three was the batch made with cashew butter.
- Dark Chocolate – Use a good quality dark chocolate bar chopped into chunks or baking discs (like these, these, or these) for the best chocolate coating results. Feel free to use milk chocolate instead of dark if that’s more your scene! I got the best coating results when I used Hu’s Baking Gems.
- Sea Salt – Because chocolate and sea salt is always a good idea. A good quality flakey sea salt like Maldon is always a classic. I used one by Only Salt which comes in these cute crystals.
These Healthy Pecan Pie Truffles are the perfect sweet ending to any meal or a delicious treat to gift your friends and family this holiday season! They are incredibly delicious, made with real ingredients, have the perfect balance of crunchy and creamy, sweet and salty that make them dangerously addictive. Basically, you don’t want to miss out on these. A MUST make this holiday season!
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Healthy Pecan Pie Truffles
These Healthy Pecan Pie Truffles have all the delicious flavor of a classic pecan pie but packaged up in a handheld balls. An incredible candy with a gooey caramel-like filling packed with toasted pecan chunks, coated in dark chocolate, and topped with some flakey sea salt.
paleo (gluten/grain/dairy free), vegan, refined sugar free
- 1 1/4 cup raw pecans (170 grams)
- 2/3 cup coconut cream (170 grams) thick top layer from a fresh can of coconut milk
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar (72 grams)
- 2 tsp coconut oil (10 grams)
- 3-4 tbsp nut/seed butter (45-60 grams)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract (10 grams)
- dash sea salt
- 2 cups dark chocolate chunks or melting wafers (280 grams)
- flakey sea salt (optional)
Heat oven to 400 degrees and spread pecans over a baking sheet. Toast the pecans for 4-5 minutes, turning the nuts once, halfway through baking. Keep an eye on the pecans because they can go from toasty to burnt in a flash! The pecans are done when they are slightly brown and smell incredible. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Make the caramel filling by combining the coconut cream, coconut sugar, and coconut oil together in a small pot and heat over medium low flame. Stir well and let come to a gently boil. Cook, stirring occasionally for 4-5 minutes or until the mixture has reduced slightly and become a golden brown.
Remove from heat add the vanilla, 3 tablespoons of nut/seed butter of choice, and a dash of salt to the pot and stir until the mixture is thick and creamy. Add another tablespoon of nut/seed butter if the mixture is still a little thin.
Roughly chop the pecans, pour into the caramel mixture, and stir to combine.
Pour the pecan caramel filling into a medium bowl and place in freezer to firm, approximately 1 hour.
Place balls back in the freezer. Meanwhile melt the chocolate by warming in short, 5 second, bursts in the microwave or over a double boiler. Stir until chocolate is fully melted and shiny. Let the chocolate cool for several minutes.
Working in batches, leaving as many filling balls in the freezer as possible, coat the balls with chocolate (see original post for helpful tips). Pierce each ball with a toothpick or skewer and quickly roll in the chocolate until it is fully coated. Allow excess chocolate to drip off, turn the ball upright, slide onto a fork and pull the toothpick out from the bottom in order to place the coated ball back on the baking sheet. Top with flakey sea salt.
Place the coated truffles back in the freezer briefly to let the chocolate set. Once chocolate is firm, enjoy!
Make Ahead: These Pecan Pie Truffles can be made ahead at almost any step! The mixture, uncoated balls, and the completed chocolate coated balls can be stored, covered, in the freezer for a few months!
Storage: Store in the fridge or freezer! These will keep for about 2 months if they manage to stay uneaten for that long. These can be enjoyed straight out of the freezer or let temper on the counter a few minutes before serving for a more gooey center.
Nut/Seed - Use any thick and creamy nut/seed butter such as cashew, sunflower seed, peanut, or almond butter. Ideally use one that contains one ingredient (no added sugars or oil). Thoroughly mix the nut/seed butter in the container before measuring and do not use the compacted paste at the bottom. I most preferred cashew butter in this recipe.
Coconut Oil - Use refined coconut oil for a no-coconut flavor.
Chocolate Coating - Use a good quality chocolate bar chopped into chunks or melting wafers for best coating results. To keep these refined sugar free and strictly paleo, use your favorite coconut or maple sugar sweetened chocolate. Feel free to use milk chocolate if you prefer!
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