As promised, here’s a post on my post-beet ravioli dessert the other night: raw chocolate truffles with a creamy maple butter centre! These are like heaven on your tongue… it was impossible to stop at one, and I definitely ate too many. Eating raw cacao before bed is usually not wise, but I think I was so exhausted from the long week that even the usual buzz couldn’t keep me from sleeping. Anyway, these little chocolate bites of awesomeness are not only tasty, they’re also really easy, and require only two ingredients: raw chocolate, and maple butter.
I tend to periodically mix a large batch of raw chocolate, let it harden in a container in the fridge, and keep it on hand for making tasty treats like these. If you’ve never made it before, raw chocolate is remarkably like any regular dark chocolate bar you might come across, and is generally made from raw cacao butter, raw cacao powder, and a form of sweetener. I’ve used the chocolate recipe in Cafe Gratitude’s stunning dessert bible, Sweet Gratitude, and I’ve tinkered around with my own recipes as well. I was in a rush when I made this most recent batch of chocolate, so I kept it simple.
1 cup raw cocoa butter
1 cup raw cacao powder
1/3 cup sweetener (I used agave this time, but powdered sucanat works, as does fine maple sugar)
1 teaspoon soy lecithin (helps with smoothness, not essential)
seeds from one vanilla bean (again, not fatal to omit this)
Melt the cacao butter by shaving it into a bowl with a veggie peeler and popping it in the dehydrator at 115F (alternately, you can use a double boiler at a low temperature, or set the bowl of cacao butter in a bowl of hot water). Place all ingredients in blender (high speed is best if you have one) and blend until smooth. Pour into molds if using immediately, otherwise place in container for later use. The chocolate will firm up fairly quickly as the cacao butter returns to room temperature. It’s best to store in the fridge for freshness.
Now comes the fun part. I found some cute little chocolate mold sheets on a trip to NYC over the holidays, and love the little chocolate shapes they deliver. To make the maple butter truffles, start by dropping a teaspoon or so of melted chocolate into the molds. Use your finger to swirl the chocolate up the sides of the molds, as in the photo, and place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to harden.
Once the chocolate is firm, drop a dab of maple butter into the molds. Pour additional chocolate into the mold so the maple butter is covered, and the shape is filled. Return the molds to the freezer and give them another 10-15 minutes to firm up. You can then flip the molds upside down, and shake out the chocolates. Voila – your very own maple butter chocolate truffles!
Obviously, there are a zillion potential fillings for chocolate truffles: your favourite raw jam, a coconut mixture, almond butter, ground nuts… the possibilities really are endless. Likewise, you can spice up the chocolate with some mint or orange extract, or some buckwheat groats for crispiness. I’m already planning my next batch!
And in case you’re wondering, no, maple butter isn’t raw, but hey, I’m a Canadian. Maple syrup is part of my heritage!