Vegan Chocolate Truffles

I’m a girl who worships chocolate, enjoys fancy dinners, and is head-over-heels in love. Funny thing is, I couldn’t care less about Valentine’s Day.

No, really!

When I want chocolate, I eat it. When I want a fancy dinner, I make it. And when I want to celebrate love, well…I do. Every day of my life is a celebration of love in one way or another.

However, this Valentine’s Day is different. Special. Because this year I have a new love: you! That’s right, I wanted to make you guys something really special this year to show you how much I appreciate you as readers. Something chocolate. And creamy.

Fine, I’m totally lying. It sounded nice and everything, but who am I kidding? This is my Valentine’s Day gift to me! Sure, you guys get a recipe, but it’s really only a couple of pictures and words on a page; I’m the one with truffles in my freezer! Twelve of them, to be exact (originally 14), and I’m going to eat every single one all by myself. The hubs will never know they’re in there. In his experience, the freezer only holds boring things like vegetable stock and edamame beans. He’s got no need for those things, meaning he won’t open the freezer, meaning these smooth, silky, chocolately, melt-in-your-mouth truffles are all mine!

I love Valentine’s Day.

Vegan Chocolate Truffles
Makes 12 – 14 2-inch truffles

4 squares (4 ounces) unsweetened baker’s chocolate
The thick top half of a can of full-fat coconut milk
3 T agave (or more if desired)
1/2 t vanilla
1 T coconut oil
Few grinds of sea salt, to tase
Shredded coconut/chopped nuts/cocoa powder

Important Note: Only use full-fat canned coconut milk that has been sitting, unmoved, untouched, and unshaken for several days. I recommend a week or so. I had great results with this recipe, but two friends both ended up with super melty chocolate that never hardened. The difference was that they had just bought theirs, while mine had been sitting in the cabinet for 2 weeks! This time allows the thick cream to separate from thin milk. When adding the cream to the recipe, scoop it out of the can, do NOT pour (you don’t want to mix in any of the thin milk).

Other note: You can use 4 ounces of semi-sweet or 60% chocolate chips, though the chocolate flavor will not be as intense as the unsweetened baking squares and there will also be added sugar, so keep that in mind. As written, the chocolate taste is quite strong, so if you’re not a fan of strong chocolate you may even want to use milk chocolate.

1. Melt the chocolate squares in a pan on the stovetop on very low heat. When the chocolate is completely melted, scoop out the top half of the can of coconut milk into the pan and stir gently until completely mixed.

2. Add the agave, vanilla, coconut oil, and salt and stir thoroughly. Continue to stir over low heat until completely smooth. Scrape the chocolate into a bowl and put in the freezer for 3o minutes.

3. Remove the chocolate from the freezer – it will be hard enough to form into a ball and soft enough to, well, form into a ball! If you leave it out for too long it may start to stick to your hands, in which case you can put it back in the freezer for a few minutes. Form the chocolate into balls, approximately 2 inches in diameter.

 4. Fill a bowl with shredded coconut, nuts, or cocoa powder. Roll the balls of chocolate in the coconut or other toppings until completely covered.

You’re done! Store the truffles in the freezer – I promise they will stay soft and creamy! And despite all of the coconut ingredients, the chocolate itselft has no coconut flavor whatsoever, so you can cover your truffles with whatever toppings you like. I chose shredded coconut because a. I’m an addict, and b. that’s pretty much all I had in the house.

Enjoy an intense chocolate experience! You may even feel generous enough to share these with a loved one. I definitely encourage the truffle-sharing; these are made with whole, healthy ingredients but they SHO AIN’T low calorie. Indulge in one or two but don’t get carried away. I am all about love on Valentines Day, but not love handles.

Have a great holiday, folks! Don’t forget to share the love!

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

A Skinnyfat Halloween: Pumpkins, Monsters, and Homemade Candy

Happy Halloween! We’ve already had a partially Halloween themed post already, but now it’s time for the full-fledged version.

Earlier this week, Becky and I had one of our weekly Beckesha fun fests.  I drove out to her neck of the woods and we had basil mozzarella avocado paninis and pumpkin spice gelato at Pinocchio’s, a cute little cafe we’ve grown to love. After that, we decided to stop by the store to buy supplies to make our very own homemade peanut butter cups and peppermint patties.  It just so happened that located at the front of the store were the cutest pumpkins ever.  We couldn’t resist.

Once we got back to Becky’s place we began to set in motion what turned out to be quite an adventurous, and at times terrifying, evening.

First, we mixed together the ingredients for the chocolate layers (cocoa powder, coconut oil, vanilla, honey, and agave nectar).  Then we poured the first thin layer of chocolate in the the mini muffin cups.

We put them in the freezer to harden and decorated our pumpkins. They’re probably the cutest couple I’ve ever seen.

I was amazed at how fast the chocolate solidified; it seemed like barely 10 minutes and they were ready for the next layer. The peanut butter layer consists of peanut butter (hello, obvious) and agave nectar.  The mint layer is coconut oil (solid, not melted), stevia, and mint extract.  It sounds too simple doesn’t it?  Use your fingers or a spoon to spread the mint layer onto your mint chocolate cups and the peanut butter layer to your peanut butter cups.

As you can see, we used melted coconut oil, which turned out to be a big hassle. Trust me, use solid coconut oil and save yourself some trouble. We put them back into the freezer and Becky made us each a cup of chai tea.  While I was enjoying the first sips of my tea, I heard a blood curdling scream from behind me.

Becky had her hands over her mouth in horror.  When I went to see what she was looking at, I saw the most terrifying sight.  There, waving his evil claws, was the scariest scorpion I have ever seen!

Of course, at this point I, too, began jumping up and down and shrieking in horror.  Chai tea, peanut butter cups, and mint chocolate cups forgotten, Becky and I attempted to calm ourselves down enough to formulate a plan to destroy the evil in our midst.  I have had great success in the past in killing evil insects by throwing phone books at them (seriously), but we didn’t have a phone book.  The next idea was to try to scare him from out of the oven burner and smash him with a shoe.  This idea was quickly vetoed as neither Becky or I had the nerve to try to chase him down.  Then I had the brilliant idea to cover the burner with a pot to prevent his escape and to fry him.  Maybe we were not in our right minds, but frying seemed like the best option at this point.

Pot in place, we cranked the burner up as high as it would go on until we smelled burning. We turned the oven off and each of us tried to build up the nerve to lift the pot, expecting to see a black, crispy scorpion.  We were still terrified and persuaded Becky’s hubby to lift the pot.

Our nemesis was nowhere to be found.

He’d disappeared. Vanished into thin air.  Becky and I stood frozen in shock and fear for a few minutes until we regained some of our composure. We reasoned that he must have fled into the stovetop the moment things got uncomfortably warm and there was nothing else we could do. We agreed to try and forget about the monster for the time being and got back to our chocolates.

We took them out of the freezer, poured the last layer of chocolate on top, and put them back in the freezer to harden the final layer. We finished our chai while discussing the very real possibility of the giant scorpion taking up permanent residence in Becky’s stovetop. After about 10 minutes, the last chocolate layer had solidified and we bit into the most decadent and wonderful chocolate candies ever! Any fear or unhappiness caused by demon scorpion was forgotten and replaced with blissful chocolate pleasure.

They even have creepy spikey edges.  If this isn’t the perfect Halloween treat, I don’t know what is.

Here is the recipe so that you can make these treats too.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups and Peppermint Patties
Adapted from this recipe
Note: we doubled this recipe and ended up with about 25 cups

Chocolate Layer:
1/3 c  coconut oil
1/4 c cocoa powder (we used dark)
2 T agave (or honey, we used a combo)
1/2 t vanilla (do NOT omit)
Pinch sea salt

Peanut Butter Layer:
Combine peanut butter and agave (or honey) until you like how it tastes. Really, it’s that easy.

Mint Layer:
1/3 cup solid coconut oil
1 T stevia blend (or sweeten to taste)
1/4 t mint extract (or more, if you really like  mint!)

Instructions: To make the chocolate, melt the coconut oil in the microwave and mix thoroughly with all other ingredients. Stir frequently, as the agave tends to settle to the bottom. Pour a thin chocolate layer into the bottoms of mini muffin cups. Freeze for about 10 minutes, until solid. Remove and cover with a peanut butter or mint layer. Freeze for about 20 – 40 minutes, until solid. Remove and cover with a final layer of chocolate and freeze until solid, about 10 more minutes. Remove and enjoy! Store in the freezer.

(NOTE: Although these are technically “frozen”, they do not taste like a frozen treat. You’ll be able to eat them like regular peanut butter cups or peppermint patties, but remember that if you leave them out for too long they’ll get melty).

In case you were wondering, the monster did not reappear before I left. He’s still out there, biding his time, plotting his revenge.  I know I’ll be watching my back, and Becky sleeps with one eye open.  He’s sly, this one.

~Elesha, a skinnyfat girl

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