Make spec­tac­u­lar ve­gan choco­late truf­fles from just a few in­gre­di­ents

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - JOE YONAN

The first time I made truf­fles from choco­late ganache, it was a rev­e­la­tion: how could just two in­gre­di­ents, choco­late and cream, set up to form such a per­fect tex­ture?

It al­most felt like a cheat; this shouldn’t be so easy. Scoop, roll, coat, done.

It wasn’t un­til I cooked with two of my favourite ve­gan chefs, Rich Lan­dau and Kate Ja­coby, a few years ago that my truf­fles evolved fur­ther. Ja­coby showed me how to make a pot de crème us­ing lit­tle more than dark choco­late, beet juice, co­conut milk and corn­starch. I loved it warm — and then no­ticed that when I re­frig­er­ated it, guess what hap­pened? Yep, just like ganache.

I fig­ured a sim­ple co­conut milk-choco­late combo would do the same thing, so I tried it, and sure enough, magic. Since then, I’ve seen plenty of other recipes that play with the same in­gre­di­ents — and often add sev­eral oth­ers — but I’ve never found a good enough rea­son to branch out be­yond that ef­fec­tive one-two punch.

I have ex­per­i­mented with lots of coat­ings, though: plain co­coa, unsweet­ened co­conut, pecans or other nuts, chipo­tle or other ground chilies for the brave-hearted.

I love them all, but the best coat­ing of all came to me when I was root­ing around the pantry for in­spi­ra­tion. I found a bag of freezedried straw­ber­ries and blitzed them to a pow­der in a mini food pro­ces­sor, and the truf­fles I rolled in them turned out to be my favourite. (Freeze-dried rasp­ber­ries would be a nat­u­ral, too.)

The best thing about these is that if you use dairy-free choco­late, they’re ve­gan, and just as tasty as tra­di­tional ones, which broad­ens their ap­peal to in­clude just about any­body who loves choco­late.

The sec­ond-best thing? The fact that, un­like ones made with heavy cream, they’re built on shelf-sta­ble in­gre­di­ents I hap­pen to al­ways have around. That means I can melt, scoop, roll and coat them on lit­tle more than a whim.

Ve­gan Choco­late Truf­fles

With just high-qual­ity dark choco­late and co­conut milk, you’ve got deeply flavoured truf­fles that you can roll in your choice of coat­ings.

Be­low are sug­ges­tions for mak­ing a box or plate that in­cludes five va­ri­eties, but feel free to mix and match, or choose other favourite pos­si­bil­i­ties.

You’ll need paper candy cups. A #100 size disher is help­ful for mak­ing con­sis­tently same-size truf­fles.

Make ahead: The ganache needs to be re­frig­er­ated for one to two hours be­fore you form and coat the truf­fles. The fin­ished truf­fles can be re­frig­er­ated in an air­tight con­tainer for up to five days.

MAKES 24 TO 30 PIECES

1 cup full-fat co­conut milk, stirred well 10½ ounces dairy-free dark choco­late (prefer­ably 75 per cent or higher ca­cao), finely chopped ½ cup freeze-dried straw­ber­ries (about ½ ounce) ¼ cup unsweet­ened, dessi­cated (dried) co­conut 2 ta­ble­spoons chopped pecans or nut of your choice 1 tbsp unsweet­ened co­coa pow­der 1 tbsp chipo­tle pow­der

Heat the co­conut milk in a small pan over low heat un­til it’s just start­ing to bub­ble. Place the choco­late in a medium heat­proof bowl. Im­me­di­ately pour the warm co­conut milk over it, whisk­ing to form a smooth ganache. Cover the bowl with plas­tic wrap and re­frig­er­ate un­til set, one to two hours.

Grind the dried straw­ber­ries to a fine pow­der in a mini food pro­ces­sor or clean spice grinder, then trans­fer the pow­der to a small bowl. Place the co­conut, pecans, co­coa pow­der and chipo­tle pow­der in sep­a­rate small bowls.

Once the truf­fle mix­ture has set, un­cover it. Grease your hands with cook­ing oil spray and use a ta­ble­spoon-size scoop or #100 dishes to scoop out a ball, then roll it lightly be­tween your palms. Place on a tray, and re­peat to cre­ate balls us­ing the re­main­ing truf­fle mix­ture. (Your palms will be­come cov­ered in choco­late as you work, and the balls will soften on the out­side, but that’s OK.)

Use a fork to help lift and toss the truf­fles. Roll some of them in straw­berry pow­der, some in co­conut, some in pecans, some in co­coa pow­der, some in chipo­tle pow­der (for those who don’t mind some­thing fiery) or in a mix of chipo­tle and co­coa (for a kick that’s a lit­tle milder) un­til well coated. You may need to use your fingers to press in the co­conut and the pecans. Set each one into a paper candy cup as you fin­ish.

When all the truf­fles are made, pack them into an air­tight con­tainer (be­ing care­ful not to stack them) and re­frig­er­ate un­til ready to serve — or give.

Per serv­ing, calo­ries per piece (based on 30): 80, 6 grams to­tal fat (4 g sat­u­rated fat), 0 mil­ligrams choles­terol, 0 mg sodium, 2 g fi­bre, 3 g sugar, 0 g pro­tein.

ASH­LEIGH JO­PLIN, THE WASH­ING­TON POST

Ve­gan Choco­late Truf­fles: roll them in your favourite coat­ings.

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