Friday, April 1, 2011

Trompe l'oeil for April Fools Day

April fools day is all about silly things like playing jokes...some of them mean spirited, and some just plain silly.  I remember when I was little I gave my Mom a cup of tea, along with some salt that she thought was sugar...needless to say she figured out really quick what I had done and was not happy.  Looking back on it now though it was quite funny!  Sometimes April Fools is just about tricking someone, and so I thought what a better way to celebrate it than to make a sweet dish that looked like a savory one!  A trompe l'oeil (fooling the eye) of sorts.   I made some sweet meatballs out of chocolate and nuts in some raspberry sauce with shaved white chocolate that looked like the parmesan cheese that would accompany meat balls.  They were delicious, and way better than real meatballs...but I am biased being a vegetarian, since I wouldn't eat real meatballs anyhow. 

For the balls I used a mixture of toasted pecans and almond butter with some cacao nibs sweetened with agave, and made chocolaty with rich cocoa powder.  They were delicious, almost like truffles with crunchy nutty bits!  The sauce I made with rasperries laced with a bit of vanilla, and it was perfect with the chocolate and nuts!  The white chocolate I shaved on top was a perfect parmesan!  The dish as a whole I must say looked amazingly like meatballs, and was rather cute!  But not too cute to devour!  Here is the recipe if you wish to create a little bit of trompe l'oeil for yourself!

Chocolate Nut Sweet Balls with Raspberry Vanilla Sauce and Shaved White Chocolate
Serves 3

1 12 oz bag frozen raspberries
2 Tbsp agave nectar
2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 tsp water
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup finely chopped toasted pecans, divided
3/4 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts, divided
2 Tbsp almond butter
3 Tbsp agave nectar
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup cacao nibs

unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tbsp shaved vegan white chocolate

To make sauce, combine berries and agave nectar in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Cook until berries have thawed and fallen apart, then add cornstarch mixture and cook until slightly thickened.  Add vanilla, and allow to cool. 
To make balls, Combine 1 cup of the nuts, almond butter, agave nectar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and sea salt.  Process until almost smooth, but still a little chunky.  Add cacao nibs and reserved nuts and mix in until everything is well combined. Shape the mixture into 9 balls, then roll in a little cocoa powder.   To serve place 3 balls on each plate, top each with a third of the sauce, then sprinkle with the white chocolate shavings. 


  1. Adorable and such awesome looking faux meatballs that sound extremely tasty!

  2. These do look better than real meat balls.
    I think the salt tea trick sounds hysterical but then again I drink my tea plain and wasn't the one who had to gobble down salt.

  3. I totally love this idea and bet they were quite delish! Chocolate and raspberries with white chocolate are the perfect combo. Happy April Fools!

  4. So sneaky, I love it! I've seen some pretty creative food fools this year, these are among the best! The colors are right on!

  5. These look awesome! I'm sure they were mighty tasty too!

  6. Sauce looks would be great with some pancakes too.

  7. wooow these "meatballs" sound terrific!! The sauce is yummm!

    Ooooh you pranked your mother?!? ;-) I like that.... I want to use it on mine!

  8. Oh dear Amy this sounds fantastic, and I love your photos, amazing bright sauce mmm delicious!!!

  9. As much as I enjoy meatballs, I would much prefer your chocolate delights! YUM!

  10. My favorite flavors all rolled into one, or three I should say. They look very good.

  11. Ha ha! I totally tried the salt in the tea/coffee cup on my mother as well and she, too, was not pleased.

    These 'meatballs' are super cute and so fun for April Fools - thanks so much for sharing!