Welcome to "Reality Bites," a new column for The Beet. A reader cooks a recipe.

We asked our friend and healthy eating enthusiast Claudia Leopold to write her experiences when making the recipes from The Beet. She had fun cooking her first recipe and served it for a table full of Merriers during the Holiday season. And an idea was born. Let's test all the recipes and hear how it goes! It's fun to learn just how the recipes turn out, what worked and what flopped, and since Claudia loves to cook and to eat a healthy plant-based diet, she was game.

Editor's Note: Full disclosure, this idea first popped into the head of our founder and editorial director, Lucy Danziger, when she made a plant-based beet and lentil burger over the summer -- from Purple Carrot's meal prep plan -- and it didn't hold together at all. As it fell apart between the buns, lettuce and tomato, and looked like a big pile of ingredients on the plate, she took a snap of it, and thought "This looks like compost, but I know it will be delicious," so she ate it anyway. The reality is that everyone has fails. Everyone tries to cook recipes and either mess them up or leaves out a key ingredient or substitute a missing ingredient badly and the whole thing becomes a massive flop. So we figured that other people would have fun knowing they're not the only ones whose efforts to create a beautiful meal from a recipe that looks scrumptious are sometimes thwarted. A new column was born.

Here's Claudia's recipe report on how easy or hard it was to make these Peppermint Truffles, whether it was worth the effort, and how the treats went over with her guests. (Full disclosure this was all her idea, and the God-Daughter of The Beet's Editorial Director, Claudia made the truffles as a surprise for Lucy Danziger.) They were delicious, turned out perfectly, and in art imitates truth imitates art, a new column was born. Check here for more Reality Bites in the future.

The Original Recipe:

Peppermint Chocolate Truffles and they’re Plant-Based!

I already had most of the ingredients in my kitchen.

My pantry was already stocked with vegan dark chocolate and cocoa powder, so I only had to buy candy canes, dates (which I normally buy anyway), and peppermint extract. I picked up all three at Whole Foods for a total of $11.97 (pitted dates: $3.99, peppermint extract: $3.99, organic candy canes: $3.99).

How long it took me to prep these no-cook treats:

I’m a newbie to the cooking scene and had some appliance malfunctions, so it definitely took me longer than it would if you’re a pro. Still, the whole thing only took me about two hours start-to-finish, and most of that time was spent soaking the dates and letting the mixture solidify in the fridge while I got some work done.

How hard the recipe was to replicate:

This recipe was super easy – as long as you know how to use a blender, then you’re good to go! I used a food processor instead of a blender the second time I made this recipe, and while that change sped up the prep time, the food processor was definitely harder to clean than the blender.

Tasted Like minty chocolate, a favorite blend!

100% raw vegan ingredients made this treat SO good. I served them for dessert at a dinner party and they were a huge success. I even got rave reviews from a friend who generally doesn’t like chocolate-peppermint combos. I brought my second batch to work and while I lost some people at the word “vegan,” others were coming back for more all day.

Was it worth it? Would I make them again?

The simple ingredients and straightforward recipe make peppermint chocolate truffles a no-brainer for the holiday season. Cleaning up after definitely took some time, but the rest of the process was so quick and easy that I didn’t mind.

Modifications I made to the recipe, and suggest you do too:

I don’t have that much of a sweet-tooth, so I opted for 88% vegan dark chocolate, and that was definitely the right call for my audience. I also made my truffles a little smaller and only used about 1 Tbsp of the mixture per ball. Next time, I want to roll a few truffles in cacao nibs or coconut flour, too.

These are the best pictures we could get, because it was dark when I made them.

These Peppermint Truffles were delicious!
These Peppermint Truffles were delicious!

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