Friday, November 24, 2006

Sugar High Fridays: Pomegranate Truffles, Hazelnut Macadamia Truffles, and Peppermint Truffles


I am participating in my first blog event, Sugar High Fridays. I used a few of my tried and true vegan truffle recipes, and decided to create a new and unexpected recipe using a seasonal fruit, the pomegranate! In case you're unfamiliar, truffles are notoriously hard to veganize (by the way, if you're avoiding refined sugar, I have grain-sweetened truffle recipes, but I didn't have time to make any before the Sugar High Fridays deadline. Post a comment if you're interested).

The pomegranate truffles came out better than I could have imagined. The chocolate covered version is amazing: the center melts as soon as it enters your mouth, so when you take a bite, or press your tongue against it, the tart liquid explodes in your mouth, the coating collapses, and the only tangible thing you have is the rich chocolate coating, slowly melting away. I will definitely use this ganache recipe again for truffles, as a sauce for a simple cake and maybe even as a chocolate fondue. (It reminded me of something from Chocolat, and I told JD I thought it was sinfully sensual and sexy. He said he never understood why people considered chocolate "sexy". I balked. He said I was sexy, then proceeded to lick the ganache from my fingers--after I had finished rolling all the truffles-- and we both agreed that that was sexy.)

The cocoa/powdered sugar covered pomegranate truffles are lovely in a less in-your-face kind of way. The powdered sugar cuts the tartness a bit and makes the ganache a little bit more solid. For these I used Scharffen Berger 99% unsweetened chocolate and Valharona 61% chocolate. Please, use the recommended ingredients and the best quality you can find/afford as it really does make a difference.

I've made a small change to the instructions for the pomegranate truffles. I made them last week and the soymilk and pomegranate mixture curdled and tasted decidely less pomegrante-y. I will be retesting soon, but hopefully these updated instructions will fix that snafu.



Pomegranate Truffles
Christina Terriquez

For filling:
2 oz 99% unsweetened chocolate, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon organic raw, unrefined coconut butter
1 tablespoon pomegranate pekmez
1 tablespoon organic pomegranate jelly
1/2 cup organic, unsweetened soymilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt or drop of ume vinegar

For garnish:
2 oz 60-65% dairy-free chocolate, chopped
and/or
1/4 organic unrefined sugar, plus
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

In a double boiler, melt unsweetened chocolate with coconut butter and soymilk.

In a separate bowl, mix pekmez, jelly, salt and vanilla extract and stir thoroughly.

When chocolate is completely melted, carefully remove from heat and stir chocolate into pomegranate mixture and blend well. Refrigerate or freeze until ganache is firm enough to be handled (ten to twenty minutes in freezer).

Working quickly, roll ganache into balls by the teaspoon. Balls will be about 3/4 of an inch in diameter. Place balls on a foil covered plate and freeze for about two minutes.

For chocolate covered truffles:
In a double boiler, melt half of the sweetened chocolate. Remove from heat, add half of the remaining chocolate and stir until melted. Add remaining chocolate and stir until melted. Working quickly, dip chilled ganache balls into melted chocolate and place on a foil covered plate.


For cocoa covered truffles:


Mix sugar and cocoa powder then blend in a food processor or blender.

Roll ganache balls in cocoa powder mix. You will need to roll each ball in cocoa a few times.




Hazelnut Macadamia Truffles
Christina Terriquez

For filling:
1/2 cup dairy free dark chocolate chips or 2 oz 60-65%
1 tablespoon organic raw, unrefined coconut butter
2 tablespoons raw macadamia nut butter
pinch of sea salt or drop of ume vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon hazelnut or almond extract

For garnish:
1/4 cup finely chopped toasted hazelnuts or hazelnut meal


In a double boiler, melt chocolate with coconut butter and macadamia nut butter.


When chocolate is completely melted, remove from heat and add salt and extracts. Refrigerate or freeze until chocolate is firm enough to be handled (ten to twenty minutes in freezer).

Working quickly, roll chilled chocolate into balls by the teaspoon. Balls will be about 3/4 of an inch in diameter. Roll balls, one by one in hazelnuts.

Note: Vary this recipe but using different nut butters and rolling in different nuts. Almond butter and toasted almonds work well.



Peppermint Truffles
Christina Terriquez

For filling:
1/2 cup dairy free dark chocolate chips or 2 oz 60-65%
1 tablespoon organic raw, unrefined coconut butter
pinch of sea salt or drop of ume vinegar
1/2-1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For garnish:
2-3 tablespoons organic, unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons raw cacao nibs, chopped finely

In a double boiler, melt chocolate with coconut butter.

When chocolate is completely melted, remove from heat and add salt and extracts. Refrigerate or freeze until chocolate is firm enough to be handled (ten to twenty minutes in freezer).

Mix cocoa powder with cacao nibs in a shallow bowl and set aside.

Working quickly, roll chilled chocolate into balls by the teaspoon. Balls will be about 3/4 of an inch in diameter. Roll balls, one by one in cocoa powder mixture. Balls may need to be rolled in cocoa powder more than once.

Note: These are great as after dinner mints.



Update on 11-26-2006: The (tempered chocolate covered) pomegranate truffles were definitely the favorite, with the hazelnut macadamia easily sliding in second. I was surprised that JD loved the pomegranate so much, especially considering how much he loves hazelnuts. The hazelnut macadamia truffles are lusciously creamy without being so soft that they need to be kept in the fridge, or covered in chocolate.

The peppermint truffles were just a bit dry, but that was my fault, I accidentally used a bit too much vanilla(the alcohol in most extracts seizes the chocolate a bit, which is essential for these recipes, but if you add too much, the chocolate will seize completely. Adding extra peppermint extract is generally fine because 1) it's so strong you can't really add very much and have the end product still be edible and 2) peppermint extract is usually made from peppermint essence and some kind of oil, so it is alcohol free. Rolling the truffles in cocoa powder without coating in tempered chocolate also dries them out, so I may amend this recipe to always cover in tempered chocolate, then roll in cocoa powder. I love the dark, only slightly sweet flavor you get when you roll directly in unsweetened cocoa powder, but I suppose I could retain that aspect if I used 80% chocolate.

4 comments:

thepassionatecook said...

Ah... I made the mistake of making mine in the morning when I was all alone! Now I know what I've been missing! Your creations not only sound very ambitious, but intriguing - you have my vote for the pomegranate one!

ally said...

Hi, I was just wondering, does the coconut butter make the truffles taste of coconuts (I realise this may be a dumb question!)? I really, really don't like the taste of coconut, but I do like the sound of your recipes! :)

Christina said...

Hi Ally,

The truffles I've made have never had a coconut flavor, unless I added coconut extract or coconut flakes (both of which are delicious for those who like coconut!)

Some of the low quality/refined/overprocessed coconut butters have a greasy feel/flavor or an overwhelming coconut smell/flavor.

I use a high quality coconut butter by Artisana which you can view here: http://premierorganics.org/. I've heard that it's won multiple taste tests, and it certainly won in my kitchen

This coconut oil is organic and unrefined, and unlike some other coconut oils *cough*Spectrum Naturals*coughcough*, does not completely liquify, even in Austin's 100+ summers. I've read that it actually contains young coconut meat, not just coconut oil, and that would explain why it separates.

I would suggest making a version of nut butters truffles, they're smooth, creamy and pretty fool proof.

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