If you must give chocolate for Valentine's Day but are concerned about the health implications, consider a box of homemade truffles.

The ones I'm suggesting are chocolate, but they are made with cocoa powder, almond butter and honey rather than butter, cocoa butter, cream, etc. They are much lower in saturated fat than conventional truffles, but still wonderful, and are easy to make.

Since Valentine's Day falls on Sunday this year, you also might consider the supremely romantic gesture of serving breakfast in bed -- a breakfast with waffles. Are waffles always made with eggs and milk? Not on your life. For a real change of pace, try Cashew Oat Waffles.

DARRYL'S TRUFFLES (Makes 5 dozen truffles)

1 cup honey

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 cup almond butter

1/2 teaspoon salt (unless almond butter is salted)

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 to 1/2 cup powdered milk (optional)

Extra cocoa powder for dusting

Heat honey just until it flows easily -- don't boil. Stir in cocoa powder. Remove from heat and add almond butter, salt and almond extract. Chill and form into balls, using about 1 1/2 teaspoons of mixture for each truffle. Roll in cocoa powder and store in refrigerator.

Variation: These get rather soft at room temperature. Stirring in powdered milk firms them up, and gives them a chewier texture -- rather like Tootsie Rolls.


You can double this recipe.

2 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/3 cup raw cashews

1 tablespoon oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients and blend in a blender until foamy, about 1/2 minute. Let stand while waffle iron heats. Blend briefly again just before you're going to bake them.

If you don't have a nonstick waffle iron, grease your iron well -- a combination of lecithin and oil works particularly well.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes. This may seem somewhat long for waffles, but they take that long.