This truffle recipe came about when I needed something edible to take to a dinner party. Eating requirements included gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan. I found a recipe online and, although it was going in the right direction, the texture wasn’t right. The truffles were too soft. Also, presumably due to the wetness, they absorbed the recommended coating of icing sugar or cocoa powder. To me adding ground almonds seemed like the obvious answer. And it worked!
My dad absolutely loves these truffles. He has no special eating requirements whatsoever but he was pretty much ready for me to pack in my degree and my jewellery business to concentrate purely on making these wee goodies to sell when he first tasted them. Pretty sure the first time he ate them I hadn’t made my own recipe yet so they were still a bit sticky as well! Anyway, I made some of these beauties to decorate the top of my Mum’s birthday cake this year. She doesn’t have any eating requirements either so I dipped hers in white chocolate to ensure that they stood out on top of the dark chocolate ganache. A wee sprinkle of pink sugar made them fit for a princess. Or rather my dad, who stole one (or 3) at every available opportunity.
Due to my Dad’s particular enjoyment of them I have made some special ones this week to post home for Father’s Day. The photo below shows vanilla and coconut truffles and the ones with edible silver leaf are cherry and almond.
These truffles are wonderful both dipped in (yet more) chocolate or simply rolled in desiccated coconut or chopped flaked almonds. You can also hide things in the middle if you like, such as nuts or dried or boozey fruit. My latest batch have almond essence in the mix and a stoned alcoholic cherry in the centre, to get a grown up bakewell flavour. We have a beautiful friend in Arbanija, Ciovo who gives us some when we holiday there in the summer. I am not suggesting that you find a lovely Croatian lady to supply you with brandy soaked cherries, that might be a bit costly. However, Kirsch soaked cherries are available in supermarkets if you want to use something similar. Glacé cherries would be nice too.
Vegan chocolate truffles
Makes 25 truffles
150g dark (dairy-free) chocolate
80ml coconut milk (from a tin)
2 tbsp ground almonds
Flavouring if desired (tsp of vanilla/peppermint/almond essence)
A few heaped tbsps of desiccated (shredded) coconut/flaked almonds
another 220g of chocolate (to cover all of the truffles)
1. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pot of gently simmering water.
2. Once fully melted add the coconut milk and mix well. It will look like it is curdling but as you continue to stir you will get a beautiful smooth, glossy brown mixture.
3. Add the ground almonds and your choice of flavouring. If you want plain chocolate truffles you don’t need to add any flavouring. Mix well.
4. Put the bowl in the fridge and leave for at least 2 hours. Then you can ball up the mixture. This recipe should make about 25 truffles. Use a teaspoon to scrape some mixture out. Use the warmth of your hands to roll the mixture into a ball. Yes, you will get sticky. Very sticky.
5. Roll the balls in coconut or flaked almonds and place in an airtight container and return to fridge. If you plan to dip the truffles I would recommend refrigerating them before attempting to do so.
6. If dipping them put 2/3 of the dipping chocolate into a heatproof bowl over a pot of gently simmering water. Once the chocolate has melted remove the bowl from the heat and add the remaining third of chocolate and stir til this is also dissolved. Then wrap a clean tea towel around the bowl and allow it cool down to 31-32˚c, as recommended in Sweets Made Simple by Miss Hope and Mr Greenwood of the BBC 2 show of the same name. If you don’t have a thermometer leave for about 40 minutes. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
7. Once the melted chocolate is ready to use dip the balled truffles into it one at a time and stir them gently to ensure even coverage. Place the dipped truffles onto the lined tray. If you are doing different flavours you can use sprinkles/coloured sugar/flaked almonds/coconut to distinguish between them. Sprinkle these on now. If you wish to add gold or silver leaf leave that til after the coating has set fully. Repeat until completed. As a general rule my dipped ones look less shop-bought perfect than my rolled, but that may just be because I am not used to handling chocolate. Either way the truffles look beautifully artisan. Put in the fridge for a few hours to let the chocolate set again. These will keep in an airtight container for a few days. I like to keep mine in the fridge as they are gorgeous chilled.