One of the tastiest rewards my children and I share is going to the chocolate counter at Whole Foods, once we finished our shopping. First, we find the warm spot under the ceiling vent and then we start perusing the chocolate case, while our bodies thaw out. We start by looking at the specialty chocolates, such as the dark chocolate brownie cones. Next our eyes are drawn by the colorful assorted chocolates with flavors ranging from banana to green tea. Each of us takes our time, reading descriptions and trying to imagine the flavors inside each luscious chocolate coating. Last I check on the ingredients looking for those that are gluten free.
Once we have our selections, we hurry over to the check out lanes. The kids have the candy duty, they make sure our chocolates get on the conveyor belt. Once it's rung up, they make sure to grab onto our box, so we don't have to hunt through all the bags once they are in the back end of the van. When we're all seated, my kids will open the box and pass it around. For a few moments there is nothing, but delightful silence as each of us contemplates the flavors in our candy. After we finish eating, each of us discusses their chocolate, what we liked or disliked about it. Since our candy is sadly all gone, I start up the engine and we head for home. (Note: In this picture from left to right are truffles rolled in macadamia nuts and round Sprinkelz.
My husband and I enjoy a wide variety of flavors in my chocolates, although I have a soft spot for anything with marzipan in it and my family prefers peanut butter. While I was reading the website Go Dairy Free, I happened upon a wonderful review and critique of Lagusta's Luscious truffles. As I was contemplating these wonderful truffles I realized I needed to make truffles, right now and I didn't really want to wait. I may have forgotten to mention that dark chocolate truffles are one of my favorite candies.
Then I remembered that the The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard, she is the pastry chef at Wolfgang Puck's Spago, had a recipe for Bittersweet Truffles. Unfortunately the ingredients weren't dairy free, like Lagusta's Luscious, and I was woefully out of bittersweet chocolate. This meant a little number crunching, a melding of ingredients and some pointers for technique, which turned out a recipe that was inspired by both Lagusta & Sherry. (Note: In the picture from left to right are truffles rolled in carob powder and Chocolate Sprinkelz.)
Dark and intense, these carob and cocoa flavored truffles will satisfy all of your chocolate cravings.
1 cup carob powder
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup coconut milk
3 Tb agave syrup
5 Tb + 1 tsp coconut oil/coconut butter
5 tsp vanilla flavoring or flavoring of your choice
Coatings: cocoa powder, carob powder, Sprinkelz**, chopped nuts, or your choice of coating
1. Dump into the large bowl of a food processor or a large mixing bowl the carob powder, cocoa powder, coconut oil, coconut butter and vanilla flavoring.
2. Pour the coconut milk and agave syrup into a medium sized sauce pan and bring to a boil. Stir the liquid regularly.
3. Pour the liquid into the food processor bowl or mixing bowl. Processes until blended or stir until everything is blended together and creamy.
4. Scrape out the truffle mixture into a medium sized bowl and allow to cool. Then place into the refrigerator to chill down prior to making the truffles.
5. Pour out into small bowls the various coatings for the truffles.
6. Using a spoon or melon baller, scoop out a small amount of truffle filling. Squeeze into a rounded shape and then roll in the palms of your hand to make balls. Then roll into the coating and press the nuts or Sprinkelz into the truffle. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet or into a storage container. Make the truffles in small batches as the coconut oil melts at 76 degrees. After you make a few, place the truffle filling in the refrigerator to chill it back down.
7. Store the truffles in the refrigerator so they stay firm.
What did my family think of the truffles? Well my children enjoyed making them with me, but they didn't care for the flavor. It was too intense for both of them. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the truffles. I liked the truffles with nuts. My husband liked the nuts and cocoa powder.
(Note: In this picture from left to right are truffles rolled in chopped pecans and cocoa powder.)
* Where did I find gluten free Sprinkelz? I bought mine from Whole Foods and Amazon.com sells them in a 24 pack. You could also try your local health food store.