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How to make heart healthy truffles

The Cooking Cardiologist Dr. Richard Collins shows us how.

This recipe uses the awesome agave plant (pronounced uh-gah-vay). It is cultivated from the hilly, semi-arid soils of Mexico. Ancient Mexicans considered the plant sacred with the fleshy leaves of the plant containing a sweet sticky juice. The Spaniards came and fermented them, creating tequila. Agave syrup (nectar) is about 90% fructose. Its sweet content is slightly more than sugar, so less goes further in any recipe, approximately 25% less. Two teaspoons of agave equals ½ carbohydrate exchange for diabetics.

½ cup fat free half-and-half

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate (approximately 2½ bars 4-ounce each in size) at least 70% cacao. Godiva® Dark Chocolate, 72% cacao is the best.

2 T Smart Balance® Butter and Canola Blend with plant sterols or Benecol®

½  cup agave nectar

½ t vanilla

½ cup crushed toasted almonds

Optional: ½ cup shredded coconut to coat the truffle

Place the half-and-half in a heavy saucepan at low heat. Break the chocolate into pieces and add to the half-and-half. Add the agave nectar, vanilla and Smart Balance®. Continue heating until the chocolate is melted, smooth and thickened. Place the mixture into an 8-inch square pan and chill in the refrigerator for about an hour to firm. Toast the almonds and coarse crush in a food processor, short pulses (1 cup will equal ½ cup of crushed, chopped almonds).

When the chocolate is firm, remove from refrigerator and using a teaspoon form a ½ inch to ¾ inch ball. Roll each in the almonds and the other side in coconut if desired.

Makes 40 small ½” size or 30 ¾” larger size. Serving size: one small truffle (1/2” sized).

Nutritional analysis: Calories 68, fat 4 g, carbohydrates 7 g, protein 1 g, sodium 6 mg.