I have no chocolate identity. I have noticed that when chocolate becomes the topic of conversation most people are quick to state their position, much like politics; the Conservative “I only like it when it’s really dark, none of the milky stuff, pure 70% stuff for me”, the Liberal, “Oh I like chocolate with liquorice, I just feel it’s under appreciated and unrepresented, you know? “, the ‘simple man’, “Dairy Milk, from the block, that’s all I’ll eat. None of this fancy stuff”, the ‘globally conscious’, “Have you heard of Pana chocolate? It’s raw and organic and fair trade. It actually tastes better than the stuff that’s bad for you!”, and the soulless, “I don’t really like chocolate.”
I sometimes feel inadequate in my inability to state my position. I like dark chocolate (sometimes, when I’m in the mood and definitely in a mousse) and I like milk chocolate (in button form, snapped straight from the fridge, or in a bar scoffed in the front seat of the car), I like white chocolate (the type with the vanilla flecks and the horrendous, toothache inducing Milky Bar variety), I like fancy raw chocolate (when I’m feeling zen and it’s not too grainy), I can eat a Mars bar if it’s cold and chewy from the fridge, or a dense brownie if it calls to me from a cafe cake stand. I adore hot chocolate with fluffy cream on top and I have been known to buy single, salted caramels from chocolate shop counters. Some days, some weeks I won’t crave chocolate for a single second, some days, some weeks I will want it voraciously. This week was one of those weeks and here it is, my ode to chocolate in all its sweet, dark glory.
When chocolate cravings are at large I not only end up collecting bars from the supermarket (this particular stint; salted hazelnut milk chocolate, dark chocolate with raspberry, coconut and marshmallow) but I am compelled to make truffles. I went vegan for these beauties, partly out of curiosity and partly in knowledge that, after my initial scoffing, I would have a batch to distribute and mostly vegans mouths to feed. Vegan truffles just mean replacing cream with coconut cream, very simple and no impact on the taste. I made the ganache with a Green and Blacks 70% bar and swirled this dreamy, glossy liquid with some spices and a drop or two of orange oil. I believe that orange bring dark chocolate to life and soothes it’s bitter edge. I draped some generous domes of the solidified ganache with a crisp, dark chocolate shell or a dusting of bitter cocoa and wrapped each one in gold foil where they nestled together like glowing treasure. A bite of one of these truffles delivers such a intense cocoa flavour within a silken, yielding, cool texture. The dark, spiced orange lingers long after the ganache has melted and gone. These satisfy me, completely.
Spiced Orange Truffles (Vegan)
250g good dark chocolate (plus more if coating)
½ cup coconut cream/milk
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
½ tsp orange oil
- Gently heat the coconut cream and snapped pieces of chocolate in a saucepan or microwave until they just become a thick liquid.
- Add in spices and orange oil and stir until combined.
- Pour into a bowl or container and leave to set in the fridge for a couple of hours.
- When set scoop out teaspoonful’s of the mixture and roll into balls.
- You can further coat the balls in melted dark chocolate, I did this using a toothpick to prod and dip them, and allow them to set at room temperature on a baking sheet. Or you can dust them in cocoa, nuts or toasted coconut. Whatever looks prettiest and suits your cause.
- Keep them in a cool place but they wont need to be refrigerated unless the weather is very warm.