There was a time when I mainly jogged in the morning, thinking it was a great way to start my day. There’s crisp new air, chilly dew… you can almost hear the neighborhood cracking its joints with a sleepy stretch and every sound has a tiny echo for a lack of competition.
But then I discovered dusk. Maybe there’s something about working from home that makes it feel so good to close my computer and literally run out the door. Running away from the haze of a day where I am just a name in a directory that ends in “@yourcompany.com”. I remember I’m a person again. My music, my heartbeat and the thump of my legs that have been itching to get out of a seated position… they all bring me back to myself.
Unlike morning runs with its thin young atmosphere, at dusk the air is fatter… older and a little wiser. It carries the humidity of the day and all the smells, too. Sometimes I can tell you my route just from the smells. Two blocks down is the white house. The woman who lives there wears Eternity for Women, and I think she must spray on more just before she leaves work… there’s always a trail of it on sidewalk from her Rav4 to the walkway. Another block down someone seems to be cooking pot roast nearly every night of the week. Three more blocks, and they’re doing the customary laundry with extra dryer sheets at the green house with the bunting.
Then, too, there’s something about the way the sun goes down turns the remaining light into an amplifier, making any colors around you turn electric. Flowers, leaves on the ground, stones. Everything takes on a little more color and texture. It’s like a little motionless parade before night comes. And it’s just for you!
If you’re lucky, you’ll even get a brilliant sunset…
This week, in honor of my favorite pre-jog energy boosting snack, I’m making apricot truffles. I try to make a dozen or two a week, dusted in cocoa powder for me, plain for J. They are the perfect thing to keep you running; dusk, dawn or whenever.
Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Makes approximately 12 truffles
Gluten-free, all natural, vegan, easy, minimal mess, practically raw
Special equipment: food processor or mini prep
1 ½ cups / 255g dried apricots
½ cup / 40g slivered raw almonds
¼ cup / 20g flaked dry coconut*
¼ teaspoon almond extract
Zest of 1 orange
Pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder*
Combine all ingredients, except cocoa powder, in your food processor. Pulse until very fine. Form mixture into bite-sized balls, about 3 cm in diameter. Roll apricot balls in cocoa powder to coat.
Refrigerate truffles for 10 minutes before serving. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They’ll keep for several days.
*Notes on variations/substitutions
Flaked dry coconut – I like to use flaked vs. shredded coconut because the larger pieces seem to retain more flavor due to less surface area exposed to air… and because I like to snack on them like potato chips! You can substitute shredded coconut, though. Just use a little under ¼ cup to match volume.
Dutch-processed cocoa powder – Please note that if using natural unsweetened cocoa in place of Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa, the result will be a tad bitter in taste. The alkali used in Dutch-processing reduces the acidic/bitter taste of powdered cocoa. More info can be found in this article from the one-and-only David Lebovitz. Want to leave out the cocoa all together? Shredded coconut or carob powder make good substitutes here. Or just leave them unadorned!