I wrapped up my holiday bark production a few days ago. There was the equivalent of about 15 pounds of chocolate in my kitchen, and that means a lot of sugar. For a chocolate lover like me, it can be a very dangerous place to be. But I held back, for the most part. That’s because I avoid sugar. But I love chocolate. A tricky place to be.
I know that sugar-free means different things to different people. For my sugar-free I avoid processed and refined sugar. My two sources of baking sweetness are as close to the earth as possible—honey and maple syrup. So after all that bark was dispersed to various friends and co-workers, I set out to make my own decadent chocolate treat—truffles.
Truffles are expensive to buy, and it’s hard to find them without refined sugar or other stuff I avoid. You can also easily cut the cost of truffles in half by making them on your own, and you can choose the type of chocolate and other flavorings, which is huge for someone like me who dissects food labels on a regular basis. I don’t want soy lecithin in my chocolate, and it’s used quite a bit.
In the midst of this holiday season, I’m searching hard to find peace for my mind and body. I think we’re all trying hard to find peace. It’s a challenging time of year. Some have an easier time finding peace, and others need our help. We live in a complicated world.
As for the peace truffles, the ingredients are few and the process simple. My favorite kind of recipe. You can make these truffles firm or soft. To keep them firm, just leave out the shortening. Otherwise, add between 2 and 4 tablespoons of Spectrum shortening, coconut oil, or unsalted butter. I haven’t tried the last one, but it should work. Update: I used coconut oil and it worked quite well.
I hope you find these as delectable as I do. May we all find peace. And chocolate.
Peace TrufflesIf your unsweetened chocolate doesn’t have vanilla added in already, you can add one teaspoon of vanilla extract or about half the contents of a vanilla bean to the chocolate when melting it. Also, this is a bit of a messy, manual affair, and I still love going through the process. It’s like sculpting chocolate balls with the palms of your hands. Feel free to add some small additions to your chocolate, like a teapsoon of almond extract, Amaretto, Grand Marnier, a pinch of smokey salt, or peppermint extract for a minty flavor. You can optionally add 3 tablespoons of Spectrum shortening, unsalted butter, or coconut oil to soften them. I’ve had great results with the Spectrum shortening.
- 8 ounces of unsweetened chocolate (I used Sharffen Berger)
- 3/4 cup of maple syrup (or honey), or start with less and adjust to your taste
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or Spectrum shortening for a softer truffle (optional); you can add even more, depending on how soft you like them. I’ve gone as high as 4 tablespoons with success.
- 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa
- Fill a saucepan with about an inch or so of water and bring to a steady simmer.
- Break up the chocolate into large chunks and place it in a bowl that can be set over a simmering saucepan of water.
- Place the bowl over the saucepan and slowly melt about three quarters of the chocolate over the simmering water. If you’re making softer truffles, add the Spectrum shortening as well.
- When the chocolate (and shortening) is melted, turn off the heat and add the remaining chocolate. Stir to melt the rest of the chocolate.
- Cool the chocolate for a few minutes and then add maple syrup to it. Stir to blend the syrup and chocolate.
- Place the chocolate in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes or so, until it is too thick to stir but still soft enough to scoop out with a spoon.
- Combine the cocoa and cinnamon in a flat bowl or plate.
- Wash and dry your hands.
- Scoop out a truffle’s worth of chocolate and roll it in your hand until it forms a small bowl.
- Roll the truffle in the cocoa mixture to lightly coat it.
Makes about 24 truffles