I couldn't let the Christmas holidays go by without making some sort of festive treat. After much deliberation, I decided to make something that I love most, more than virtually any other treat - dark chocolate truffles. I love the richness and the fact that they're not too sweet - a single truffle is enough to satisfy me after a good meal. And while Christmas cookies and pastries are all well and good, truffles are where my heart's at.
Instead of just making a basic version of 'em, I decided to do three different batches with one theme - booze!
We've got a good booze collection at home, and there are few things I love more than the booze/chocolate combo. The three varieties I made were:
-Grand Marnier Truffles (chocolate orange!)
-Kahlua Truffles (chocolate coffee!)
-Bourbon Truffles (whiskey!)
They all turned out great, and I'm hard-pressed to pick a favorite but I think they'd be the bourbon truffles. They're strong, bold, and the least sweet of the bunch - they've pretty much got "Allysia" written all over them.
Here's a basic template that I used, and how I made each variety. And of course the variations are endless!
(The bourbon truffle up front was victim to a small bite. I couldn't help myself.)
Basic Vegan Chocolate Truffles (1 batch)
Makes about 20 small truffles
1/2 cup cashew cream (see below), coconut milk or unsweetened Mimicreme
2 tablespoons vegan margarine
8 oz. dark chocolate (about 230 grams)
1. Heat the cashew cream and margarine over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir until completely melted. Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes, or until firm enough to handle.
#1. Grand Marnier Truffles
Chocolate and orange is one of the best flavor combinations on the planet - you just have to give these a try. Plus, Grand Marnier is delicious and useful to have kicking around.
Add 1 teaspoon of fresh orange zest to the pot of cashew cream and margarine. Once all the chocolate has melted, stir in 1 tablespoon of Grand Marnier. When cool, roll truffles in cocoa powder. Makes 1 batch.
#2. Kahlua Coffee Truffles
This one takes a little more effort since it involves steeping the cream in coffee and then straining it. You'll need a French press of fine mesh sieve, but the end result is more than worth it.
Add 2 tablespoons of fresh-ground coffee to the pot of cashew cream and margarine. Once boiling, remove from heat and let steep for 5 minutes. Press the mixture in a French press, or strain the grounds in a fine mesh sieve. Return the coffee cream mixture to the pot and bring to a boil again. Once all the chocolate has melted, stir in 2 tablespoons of Kahlua. When cool, roll truffles in icing sugar. Makes 1 batch.
#3. Bourbon Truffles
Bourbon and dark chocolate are a heavenly flavor combination - try it and you'll see. These truffles have a strong boozy kick, so they're meant to be an adult treat. My favorite of the bunch.
Once the chocolate has melted in the cashew cream mixture, stir in 3 tablespoons good-quality bourbon whiskey. When cool, roll truffles in finely chopped pecans. Makes 1 batch.
1 1/2 cups raw cashews
1 1/2 cups water
Blend the cashews and water until completely smooth. If your blender doesn't get it perfectly smooth, strain it through a paint strainer bag or a fine mesh sieve. Voila!
You can keep these truffles in the fridge so they last longer, but their texture is truly the best when they're allowed to sit at room temperature - perfect for day-long holiday gatherings!
It's easy to make several batches of truffles at once, assembly line style.
To the left is my batch of cashew cream, and then the chocolate/booze for each truffle batch, followed by the mandatory vegan margarine.
Bring the cream/margarine mixture to a gentle boil, stirring frequently so nothing burns.
Add the chocolate and remove from heat (you can put it back on the heat if the chocolate doesn't fully melt, but be careful not to burn the chocolate). I used a variety of dark chocolates and a few chocolate chips - you don't need to use super fancy and expensive chocolate here, but it's probably wise to avoid the cheapest of the bunch. I mixed cheap chocolate with good stuff to cut down on costs and they came out tasting great. Of course, if you've got the big bucks they would be even better with fancy chocolate!
Stir constantly until everything is combined and the mixture is shiny and smooth. Mix in the booze (slowly if your alcohol is chilled) and stick in the fridge or freezer to firm up. You'll want to stir the refrigerated chocolate once in a while because the edges tend to firm up first. And don't worry if the chocolate gets pretty firm - your hands will warm it up and make it rollable. You'd better not be afraid to get messy!
So merry Christmas, happy holidays and et cetera! Hope it's awesome and full of happy food and family. :)