Sunday, December 6, 2009

How to make vegan truffles

I am a vegan who loves chocolate. Especially truffles. And not low-quality milk chocolate, but maybe not too dark, either. And I can't really afford the 1-2 dollars a SINGLE vegan truffle generally costs.
So, what to do? Make your own! I do this fairly often, and they're better every time.

And also, a couple weeks ago I stumbled across this. I thought it was a great idea, but much too expensive. So why not make my own advent calendar?! I've already got the chocolate down pretty well.
So I contemplated what I would put the chocolates in so the days would be separate and I could have separate doors, worth different truffles for different days. And I eventually came up with plastic bead boxes! (Something like this. You should be able to find things like that for about five dollars at a craft store) Mine was clear plastic so I painted it with "Glossy red" spray paint on the outside to make it more festive, and so that you wouldn't be able to see inside the box. If you want you can decorate it more by painting on christmas trees, santa, whatever you like. Then measure the size of the separate pockets, and cut 24 pieces of paper to that size. (Preferably green paper!) Then write on one side of the papers a number, one to twenty-four. Set it aside while you make your chocolates!

First, you should probably choose what kinds you want to make. I made almond bars (Turned into almond clumps though... Whoops), peanut bars, peanut butter cups, almond butter cups (Well, I was going to, until I found my almond butter moldy...), coconut balls, chocolate covered candied ginger, orange truffles, lemon truffles, mint truffles, coffee truffles, pumpkin truffles, cinnamon chocolate, and chili chocolate.

I'll start with the truffles, since I was making a dozen different kinds, I didn't make many of each kind.
First you melt some chocolate. I used some high quality semi-sweet chocolate chips, and melted them in the microwave, but if you can remember to stir the chocolate often, you can do it on the stove, which you'll need to do later anyway.
Once you've got some melted, I took about a quarter cup of the melted chocolate for each flavor. For the pumpkin ones I just mixed the chocolate with pureed pumpkin to taste. Then let it cool while you make other flavors. Then for the coffee, make some espresso, and add that to your chocolate to taste. Maybe with a tsp or so of coconut milk. Let that cool. Meanwhile you can make your orange, lemon, and mint ones. Just have three small bowls with about a quarter cup each of melted chocolate, and add a tablespoon each of coconut milk and melted vegetable shortening or margarine. (I used shortening because I can't find unsalted margarine) Coconut oil might work too. To each bowl. Mix it in, then flavor them to taste with lemon extract, peppermint extract, and orange extract. Mix them up and let them cool. By now, or maybe a little before, your pumpkin filling should be not hard, but sort of doughy, and you should be able to roll it into small balls without making a mess, if it's still melty and messy, let it sit longer. Once it's good just roll it into small balls and put it on some wax paper, parchment, or foil. Repeat with all the flavors. Be sure to separate the flavors so you know which is which. I usually just put each flavor into it's own section on the foil, circle the section, and write what flavor it is in marker. Then put them in the fridge for a while, while you can clean up a little, and then start melting some chocolate in a pot on low. Preferably the smallest pot you have, so you can dip them without using a ton of chocolate.
Here are my little balls of filling.

Then I dip the top in the chocolate, grab it with chopsticks (With the dipped end on top) and swirl it around in the chocolate until coated, and put it back on the foil.

There are some. Then when you're done with that, if you want you could melt some dark chocolate and decorate them with swirls, zig-zags, etc.
Refrigerate, and viola!

Now here are the peanut bars. Put some peanuts on some foil, in a single layer, but tightly together. Then thinly drizzle the top with chocolate.

Once it's hardened, should look something like this on the other side! Do the same for the almond bars, or to make almond clumps mix chocolate and almonds together and lay them on some foil and let harden.
Chop then into bite-sized pieces.

Here's how I made peanut butter cups before. Probably a similar concept for almond butter cups, maybe with more powdered sugar or cornstarch.

For the coconut balls, just mix some dried coconut flakes and chocolate, let cool a little, and shape into balls.

For the ginger, just dip some crystalized ginger in some chocolate, and let cool.

For the cinnamon chocolate, mix cinnamon to taste with chocolate, and spread shin on some foil, and score it. Same deal for the chili chocolate, just with cayenne instead of cinnamon.

Here is the finished products. Half of them at least. I didn't get pictures of the rest for some reason. Just the truffles, coconut balls, and chocolate covered candied ginger.

On the back of the paper doors, I wrote certain December events. Birthdays mostly, and also what kind of chocolate treat they got that day. I taped them to each little pocket and filled them with the chocolates.
Here they are in the box! This container only had twenty pockets rather than twenty-four, so two doors were double-doors. and I wasn't able to give it to my friend until the third, so I just skipped those days.

Then I taped the doors closed. Here it is! when you fold down the door to get to the chocolate, the other side of he door tells you what kind it is. (As shown on the first day, with a pumpkin truffle!)

I made two for my friends, and since I only had two boxes, I just have chocolates, rather than an advent calendar. I'm happy, and so are those two friends.

Hope you enjoyed! Now go make some chocolates! And feel free to make whatever chocolate creations you like, not just what I made. Let me know what you come up with! I tried a green tea truffle once, I liked it, no one else seemed to though! But remember, truffles don't always come out perfect, it does take practice, but don't fret, you'll get the hang of it!


lz said...

Hi Jamie, thank you for this detailed tutorial on how to make truffles! Your clear directions, as well as your pictures of the process, are so helpful. I definitely want to try your approach!

I just discovered your blog from Gena's choosingraw post on Courtney's vegetarianism; I am a teenager too! I am 16 and I have been mostly vegan for over a year now.

Look forward to reading more from you!

Jamie said...

Thank you!

That's great, I'll probably have another post up later today, but you can read some old posts if you like!

Pomegranate said...

Thanks so much for this recipe!! I am making truffles for everyone I know for xmas presents, and I wasn't exactly sure how to go about it.

Jamie said...

You're welcome!
I actually am too, I just didn't want to say that, since some people I will be giving them to read this blog, and I didn't want to ruin the surprise.