Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Real chocolate truffles...the healthy kind!

Kinda bumpy, but so very tasty!
Dairy, Gluten, Soy and Nut free Chocolate

These chocolate truffles are made with real cacao and cacao butter, nothing compares to the taste of REAL chocolate! It's healthy for you too, so no need to feel guilty, and because these are dark and rich, one or two is enough to satisfy even the most rabid of chocolate obsessions. I don't use a recipe, I could never find one, but I can give you the basics of making chocolate at home. It's really very simple, and after you taste your own, you'll wonder why those big commercial brands are so popular. That C word is a swear word in our house!

All you need is a few basic ingredients, cacao powder, cacao butter, honey (or maple syrup might work for a vegan version), vanilla extract, agave nectar, and any other flavours that you like. I used a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg in these ones. I've also used chili, coffee, nuts, dried fruit...pretty much anything naturally good for you will work!

You can read about all the wonderful health benefits of real chocolate, and buy all the cacao ingredients here: Cacao Power

I'm not going to call this a recipe! It's up to you how sweet you like it, the fun part is experimenting and tasting along the way!

This is what I use as a guide:
1 part cacao butter
2 parts raw honey - I use macadamia honey, any mellow flavour will do.
3-4 parts cacao powder
1 splash of vanilla extract
5-6 splashes of dark agave nectar

To give you an idea of quantity, I used about 60-70g of cacao butter, 120-140g honey, around 250-300g cacao powder, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and about 60ml of dark agave nectar to make 20 truffles.

There are a few things to remember when making chocolate, no water must touch it (it becomes grainy and can't be fixed), you shouldn't overheat it, and it will always taste better than store bought commercial stuff! (I do have a soft spot for Lindt, but only at Christmas!)

So now you are thoroughly confused with my "recipe", time to get started!
What you need: a medium saucepan, large glass mixing bowl (ceramic would work too), spoon or spatula for stirring, and a thermometer is handy but not absolutely necessary.

1.Using the double boil method, get some water gently simmering in a pot, and place a glass bowl inside, making sure it's large enough that it doesn't touch the water.

2. Roughly chop the cacao butter and put it in the bowl. It will melt at around 35C.

3. Once melted, stir in your honey and vanilla extract.

4. Add about half of your cacao powder, stirring it in until smooth, then add the other half. I don't like to get the heat above 44C, don't let the water boil and you should be ok, just a very gentle simmer.

5.You might find that it's a bit grainy and thick, this is when I add the agave nectar, a bit at a time, continually stirring until it's smooth and shiny. This is the point that I will taste and adjust the sweetness and flavour, add any other bits you'd like now.

6. Once it's looking gorgeous and glossy, turn off the heat. Continue to gently stir for around 10 minutes. Now remove the bowl (careful it's hot, and make sure you don't get a drop of water into the mixture). I "temper" the chocolate by gently stirring to evenly cool, until it starts to thicken. This may take another 10-20miutes, depending on your ambient temperature. I've found that this is a pretty important step for a smooth and consistent ganache.

7. Put the bowl in the fridge, I don't cover it for fear of condensation dripping in and ruining all my good work, but if it's cool enough I think it'd be safe. Leave for about an hour. I'm impatient and stir it every 15 minutes, so I can bring it out sooner. Once it's firm enough to handle, it's time to roll some truffles!

8. In any bowl, add a tablespoon or so of cacao powder. If you're not keen on the slight bitterness of raw cacao powder, you could add a little cinnamon too. For this batch I added crushed hazelnuts, though they didn't stick too well. If you have a mellon baller, now is it's time to shine, I don't and used a teaspoon instead. Depending on the size you want your truffles, grab some ganache, and with clean, dry hands, quickly roll into a ball, then roll it in the powder. Continue until you're out of ganache, try to resist eating them now! Pop them on a plate, cover with gladwrap, refrigerate, and you're done!

Enjoy with a freshly ground latte at morning tea....heaven!

There you have it, my first food post! I am no Nigella, but I have a great love of healthy, natural and delicious food! These truffles may cost a little more than a block of $4 supermarket "chocolate", but I don't believe one should sacrifice the enjoyment of eating quality food for the sake of getting a cheaper alternative, what price would you put on your health?

Do you have a raw chocolate recipe to share? I'd love to hear some! Post your recipe or links in the comments :)


  1. Those look HEAVENLY! If I ever get the nerve to try to bake again, I am trying those!

  2. Mmm! They look DELISH! I'm saving this recipe for my next big sweets need!

  3. Oooh yum, thanks so much for this recipe plus the purchasing details. My daughter is anaphylactic to nuts and I am always looking for nut-free treats. Vegan is even better! Beautiful!

  4. Oh deliciously wicked...what a great looking recipe!