A chocolate truffle is a chocolate lover’s dream, whether dusted with cocoa powder or enrobed in chocolate. Typically non-vegan commercial chocolate truffles—even the dark chocolate ones—are made with cream or butter, and sometimes corn syrup is added. Not here! My vegan chocolate truffles are made with high-percentage dark chocolate, meaning more chocolate flavor and less sugar. Non-dairy milk, yogurt, cashew cream, and even orange juice replace the dairy cream. There are some flavorings for the liquids and small amounts of extra-virgin olive oil may be added, but that’s all there is to it. Truffle ganache and shaped truffles can even be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen for whenever you need them. The hard part isn’t making these truffles, but choosing which ones! So, are you in the mood for a bittersweet bite, or perhaps one flavored with ginger, orange juice and tahini, espresso, chai, or Aztec-spice?
Always read the recipe all the way through and plan your time.
- Use a chocolate you enjoy eating on its own.
Why: the flavor of the chocolate is apparent in the finished truffle.
- You must stay within the chocolate percentages listed in the recipe.
Why: Higher percentage chocolates have more cacao solids and less sugar, and vice versa. Not only the taste, but also the consistency of the ganache will be affected.
- Finely chop the chocolate. Make sure the board and knife are absolutely dry. Put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl.
- Heat the liquid. Bring the plant milk or other liquid specified in the recipe, with any other ingredients to a low boil, over medium heat, stirring a few times. Remove the saucepan from the heat as soon as the liquid boils.
Why: You want the liquid to be hot enough to melt the chocolate but not so hot that the cocoa butter (the fat), will separate from the chocolate.
- Pour the hot liquid over the chocolate, all at once.
Why: A little bit of liquid, or even steam, can cause the chocolate to seize, but a lot is ok.
- Cover the bowl and do not stir for 3 to 4 minutes.
Why: Allowing the chocolate to melt slowly into the hot liquid is necessary for velvety smooth truffles.
- Uncover the bowl and whisk the mixture slowly until a glossy, emulsified ganache is achieved and then stop.
Why: Whisking too long or too hard can turn a bowl of gorgeous glossy ganache gritty.
- Test a spoonful of the ganache in the refrigerator for ten minutes.
Why: You want to make sure the texture of the finished ganche is firm enough to shape, but not too firm.
- Keep the ganache at room temperature for 30 minutes before moving it into the refrigerator.
Why: Chocolate is sensitive to changes in temperature.
- Shape the truffles, when the ganache is set. Finish with cocoa powder, cocoa powder and melted chocolate, chopped nuts, coconut shreds, nibs, or enrobe in melted chocolate. See my book Vegan Chocolate for details.
Photos courtesy of David Leggett, Flickr Creative Commons