Decadent Dusted Truffles
I like so many I have fond recollections of Easter morning frivolity with chocolate stained fingers and sticky smeared cheeks. It was a childhood filled with neon wrapped eggs and sweet sugary chocolate; not anything dark or rich but rather the kind that makes your teeth chatter at the confection. As a child it was morning magic and I have no sense of replacing those memories with anything less. All parents do the best with their time and even the refined delights of my past are cherished. Extravagance despite the need to be mindful of isn’t always necessary to temper and food enjoyed freely is our ultimate privilege. Nevertheless given a now deeper palette and organic choices these truffles are a cleaner ode to such indulgence.
Make no mistake anyway these are just the same an occasional pleasure. Though free from refined, artificial ingredients they still combine the richest and indulgent of natural foods. They suit dark, dewy mornings where you stand with a coffee in hand while the world stirs at a faraway pace; between a moment of solitude and absolute decadence. Not always where we find ourselves but frequently where we of dream and given the absolute wonder of these truffles it may as well be reality. I’ll let you in on a little secret here; I literally dance around my kitchen on their first taste. There’s definitely no sacrifice of flavour in these beauties and wherever you may find yourself at Easter or otherwise they’re made to be shared, relished and savoured; maybe just not all at once.
The first is a dark green version that comprises smooth avocado with cacao, dark chocolate and spirulina for a truffle that melts away on taste. It’s not for the light-hearted though with a rich and strong kick a single one is enough to stay sweet cravings. Cacao comes from the more commonly known cocoa bean. It is the dried and fully fermented fatty seed, from which powder is ground or cacao butter extracted. In a raw form it’s high in antioxidants and rich in magnesium, an energy mineral and vital electrolyte. In contrast commercial productions of cocoa are highly processed with chemical washing and artificial sweeteners. Naturally I’d recommend seeking out the raw, organic and if possible fair trade offerings.
The second of the two; a blonde rendition combines the creaminess of cashew and cacao butter with caramel notes from dates and carob. It’s a denser truffle with more texture that leaves you chasing one after the other. Carob is not dissimilar to cacao though from a different plant. The powder made from ground seed pods is free of the sometimes allergenic and addictive effects of theobromine present in cacao or cocoa, so for those who struggle with that reality it makes for a good substitute. It is also high in protein, magnesium, calcium and several other beneficial vitamins and minerals.
Blonde Cashew Truffles with Carob & Pistachio Dust / Make 14 truffles
150g dry roasted cashews
5 medjool dates, pitted
40g cacao butter
2 tbsp carob powder, plus extra for dusting
2 tbsp coconut oil
30g pistachio nuts, finely chopped
A pinch of salt
In a saucepan over low heat melt the cacao butter and coconut oil, stirring gently until combined. Set it aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile combine the cashews, dates, carob powder and salt in a high speed blender and process until they come together in a thick paste. Pour the butter mixture over the blended ingredients and fold the two together. Using your hands roll approximately a tablespoon of mixture into a round truffle; place it on a parchment lined tray and repeat for the remaining mixture. Refrigerate for at least two hours or until the truffles firm up. It’s best to dust the truffles on serving as the oils in the batter will absorb the powder; to do so simply turn half the truffles over in the carob powder and the other half in the ground pistachios. The dusting adds little difference to the flavour and is mostly for decoration so you could otherwise also enjoy them naked. Store in the refrigerator for up to a fortnight.
Dark Green Truffles with Beetroot & Maqui Dust / Makes 14 truffles
1 avocado, skin removed and mashed
100g dark chocolate, (I use an organic, fair trade, 85% cocoa version)
3 tbsp maple syrup
¼ cup of cacao
1 tbsp spirulina (optional)
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scrapped
3 tbsp beetroot powder
3 tbsp maqui powder
Melt the chocolate and vanilla over a double boiler, stirring the mix continuously to prevent it from burning. Remove it from the heat and set aside. In a separate bowl combine the avocado, maple syrup, cacao powder and spirulina if using and whisk together until smooth and free from any lumps. Fold the melt chocolate through the avocado blend and place the mixture in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to stiffen. Using your hands roll approximately a tablespoon of mixture into a round truffle; place it on a parchment lined tray and repeat for the remaining mixture. Refrigerate for at least two hours or until the truffles firm up. It’s best to dust the truffles on serving as the oils in the batter will absorb the powder; to do so simply turn half the truffles over in the beetroot powder and the other half in the maqui powder. The dusting adds little difference to the flavour and is mostly for decoration so you could otherwise also enjoy them naked. Store in the refrigerator for up to a fortnight.
Seasonal guide / temperate climates
Hass avocado; these have textured skin and blacken as the ripen. With a creamy texture and taste they are commonly available year round. Shepherd avocado are glossy and remain green, they have a nutty flavour and buttery texture and are in season early autumn through early winter. They are interchangeable for most dishes though the flesh of shepherds doesn't brown meaning that they stay brighter in salads and sandwiches longer.
When selecting cashews choose those that are light in colour and odourless; buying from bulk bins is best to check on freshness or otherwise go for vacuum sealed. They are best kept in an airtight container and can be stored at room temperature if consumed in 1 to 2 weeks or in the fridge for up to 6 months. They also freeze well for up to 12 months, just be sure to thaw slowly.
Dark chocolate, cacao powder, cacao butter and carob all have a high fat content which means they are susceptible to rancidity and can take on less than ideal flavours if left exposed. All are best stored at room temperature, in a cool dark place, free from moisture and in an air tight glass or ceramic container.
The dusting powders I use are mostly for a colourful finish you could otherwise use ground almonds, walnuts or hazelnut, desiccated coconut, poppy, chia or hemp seeds or even dried rose petals. For different colours try turmeric, acai powder or cacao powder. The options are endless.