While these Low Carb Chocolate Truffles are not low calorie, the recipe below using sugar substitutes is quite low in carbs and sugar. This means if you are doing a keto or low carb diet you may be able to satisfy occasional sugar cravings without spiking blood sugar or setting up an insulin response.
They are delicious and very easy to make. Cocoa, the primary ingredient in 90% dark chocolate, actually has a few health benefits. Low sugar aside however, these truffles are not something you would want to eat on a regular basis if your goal is weight loss. I keep them in the freezer (out of site) and pull one out on days when the sweet tooth is relentless.
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!
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Sugar Substitutes
Sugar substitutes that do not spike blood sugar can be natural or artificial. Sometimes referred to as “sugar alcohols”, they can be from natural souces or chemically manufactured. 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 indicate that Saccharin, Aspartame, and Acesulfame potassium have evidence of negative health issues, but there are conflicting studies (of course).
Sucralose (or splenda) is a decent artificial sweetener, as far as impacting blood sugar, glycemic index and insulin. The other substitutes that are considered “good” with respect to glycemic index are Stevia and/or Erythritol (both natural).
With respect to anecdotal impacts of using sugar substitutes, some people believe that using sugar substitutes tricks the brain into thinking it is getting sugar and therefore derails the effort to eliminate sugar cravings. If your weight loss has stalled, this idea might be something to test out on yourself.
Tips for Using Sugar Substitutes in Baking:
Truvia, Swerve and Natvia are blends of Erythritol and Stevia and I find them the best taste to cook with.
The recipe below used a combination of a granular sweetener (Truvia) and a liquid sweetener (Stevia). The reason for this is that many of the powdered or granular sweeteners can result in a gritty texture (not so much in truffles because it is heated up with the chocolate).
Liquid Stevia 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 (note: the microwave method below can be used with classic or sugar free versions)
- 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).
Recipe for Chocolate Truffles Using Sugar Substitute & Microwave Method
- 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.
- Using a grater, shave the unsweetened chocolate to that it melts more quickly
- In a microsafe bowl, add the sweeteners and the cream to the shaved chocolate and stir to combine.
- Place the mixture in the microwave for one minute. Take out and stir until smooth. If not completely smooth, place back in microwave for 5 more seconds only. Stir again. Watch carefully so that the mixture does not separate.
- Add the vanilla, bourbon and salt, cover and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour (or overnight).
- When ready to make the truffles, spread the crushed nuts out on a flat surface, and scoop a spoonful of the cold chocolate mixture in your hands and roll into a ball. Roll the ball around in the crushed nuts to cover.
- Place the truffles in a freezer bag or seal-able container and place in freezer.
Pull out one of these delectable, hidden truffles 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!