Oh my! If you think it’s hard enough keeping your hands out of the cookie jar, wait until you try these truffles! With a snap of the chocolate exterior, the creamy filling explodes with flavor on your tongue filling your mouth with sensations that exceed anything Hershey’s puts out! Everyone that sampled one of these truffles was as impressed as I was with the flavor and more amazed by the thought that I actually made them – and they are nearly 100% raw, dairy free and amazingly professional!
Yep, that’s a small sampling of the overall collection. Overall, the two batches that I made rolled out to nearly 70 truffles. Don’t they look amazing? They’ve all got little flat spots on the bottom where the chocolate hardened and you can even see the vanilla powder (little black spots) that didn’t completely dissolve in the cacao butter. Yet, I have to say this is one of the best ‘Christmas cookies’ I’ve ever made!
And they’re actually pretty simple to make. The hardest part for me was to figure out what to put on the inside. A typical truffle has some creamy diary-butter-sweet filling with some simple flavor, but in the raw, dairy free world, you’ve got to search a bit to find something that comes close. After searching the net and reading a number of different raw food blogs, I decided on coconut oil, almond butter and some fruit. I figured that the fruit would provide the sweetness, the coconut butter would provide the creamy feel and the almond butter would provide texture and substance.
As it turns out, that combination makes for a really nice base!
So, if you’re ambitious, here is what I did.
Look closely at the two pictures above. They are slightly different. One contains Apricots and the other blueberries and Amaretto. It’s funny looking at these pictures now, for I took them before actually working up the ‘batters’ and I added the amaretto to the apricot mixture rather than the blue berry one. In any case, everything that I used for the filling is shown.
Base filling ingredients
- 4 Tbs Raw Coconut oil
- 4 Tbs Raw Almond buffer
- 4 Medjool dates
- 1 ½ Tbs Raw Cacao powder
- ½ tsp vanilla powder
- Pinch sea salt
- 8 dried unsulfured pit free apricots
- 1 ½ Tbs your favorite Ameratto
- ¼ cup the finest dried blueberries you can find.
Note that I started making these truffles on Friday night and finished them late Sunday evening! I takes a while but I’m sure you’ll be able to streamline the process.
Here we’re going to prepare the fruit. Select the best Medjool dates and other fruit and place them in a little bowl with just enough water to cover them. The idea is you want to reconstitute the dried fruit just enough to soften it up, but not to add so much water that the filling becomes soupy. Notice the little bowls that I used. I removed the seeds from the dates, pressed them into the bowl and then covered them with a couple tablespoons water. The blueberries I simply measured out and covered with water. The apricots were a little harder because they are naturally… well…. Hard. I used a bit more water with them.
Time to get out all the basic filling ingredients and along with your favorite blender for we’re going to fill it up. It’s just a matter of placing everything (but the water) in the blender. Remove the dates and add. Remove the apricots (or blueberries) and add. Shovel in the almond butter, coconut oil, cacao powder, salt and amaretto.
When it’s all in, turn the blender on its lowest setting. With my Vita-mix, I don’t need the lid on when it turns on its lowest setting. This allows me to work the batter. If you’ve ever made date paste, you’ll know it likes to clump up. You’ll want to work it down into the blades and get the entire mixture to turn.
As you can see, it’s pretty rich. Some people like to add liquid coconut oil, but I simply added it hard. That might make a difference and I’ll try liquid next time. Notice the position of the vita-mix spatula. If you look closely at your blender, you’ll see that the blades to not reach all the way into the corners. Thus, on that lowest setting, I was able to place the spatula all the way down in the corners to help the mixture turn. When it started turning, I would work the speeds up to 5 or so. The idea is that you’ve got to work it long enough to really break up the fruit and make the mixture ‘creamy’.
When its mixed thoroughly, empty the contents of the blender into a container and place it all in the fridge to cool. You’ll want to get it cold enough to shape.
After it’s cooled, use a spoon to scoop out the semi-hardened mixture and do your best to work it into a ball. This will take some patients. The coconut oil liquefies so quickly that you’ve got to move fast and make very little contact with what will be the truffle filling.
Notice how old shaped they are. They’ll stick to anything and everything! When you’ve gotten through the entire batch, place them back in the fridge to harden again. I just placed the entire plate in and let it cool completely. Using a large pottery plate will give you a little more time because it takes longer to heat back up after removing it from the fridge.
Roll ‘em again!
Notice how the second roll knocked down the points and made them all nice and round. Unfortunately, they will warm quickly so you’ll have to cool them again. At this point, placing them in the freezer just might be an option. I did for a little while, but I didn’t want them to freeze completely. I just wanted them to get really cold while I prepared for the next steps.
The outer shell
Here is where we revisit any old raw chocolate making recipe (or this recipe). Well, ok, not just any! Here I’ve melted the cacao butter to the point where it’s ready to mix. Note that to get it to this point I measured out 6 ounces cacao butter, shaved it into the pyrex measuring cup and then placed it in the dehydrator. It takes a few hours to melt, so I started early in the process.
Note that there is just about 1 cup cacao butter in its melted form. To that, you add the cacao and vanilla powder. After mixing that well, you add the agave. Like any good oil, you’ll find that the other liquids are going to want to sink to the bottom, thus during the dipping process, you’ll have to stir it regularly so the sweetener get evenly distributed on each truffle.
Now comes the dipping process. The liquid chocolate in the measuring cup is 90+ degrees and so you’ll have to move fast, yet, the dipping process takes time as you wait for each layer to dry. Be prepared to watch paint dry for a while!
I prepared a pan with parchment paper to receive the finished truffles. Then I removed the very cold rounds from the fridge and started dipping. As you can see, I used a fork to hold the cold filling for dipping. Because the filling is cold the liquid chocolate will cool and harden in a matter of seconds. Thus, I’d dip it just long enough to cover the filling and then hold it above. After a few seconds the chocolate would harden and I’d dip it again. For each truffle, I dipped it three times. After the last dip hardens across the top of the filling, I’d gently work it off the fork (using a butter knife) onto the parchment paper.
After dipping them all, back into the fridge they go to cool one more time.
When it’s all said and done, you’ve got these!
Before serving, take them out of the fridge and let them warm to room temperature. The chocolate shell will remain relatively hard, but the coconut, almond butter filling will nearly melt. Thus, when you bite into it, you get a snap from the hard dark chocolate and a somewhat runny feeling from the center which always surprises the person to no end!
I can’t wait to mix up the fillings. If I were to choose just one of the two filling that I made this time, it would be the apricot filling. There is something about blueberry seeds that gives the mixture an off flavor. Don’t get me wrong, the blueberry filling is really good, but the apricot one is simply better!
Also, next time I’ll probably use less dates and more of the other fruit. For instance, I’d use two dates and 12 apricots, or 2 dates and ½ cup blueberries. In a way, the fruits where overpowered by the dates. Next time I’d want the individual fruit flavors to stand out better.
Overall, this is exactly what I’ve been looking for! This is how you wow people with just enough chocolate to make it fun, but not so much as to break the bank! The fillings are ‘real food’ thus it’s more a decadent taste sensation then a toxic curse. Lol. Remember to make them small for there is a LOT of flavor in each one. The alternative is you’ll be running extra miles – if you’re not careful.