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

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Kookoo for Coconut

Because the days of being kookoo for Cocoa Puffs are long gone.  In fact, most breakfast cereals offer the body a whole lotta nothin’ to be crazy about. Enriched flour? Check. Multiple forms of corn? Check. Giant list of chemicals, preservatives, and additives? Check, check, check. Oh yeah, don’t forget sugar – lots of it. Obviously going kookoo for coconut makes a whole lot more sense (it being a superfood and all). Clearly it’s not a cereal substitute, but it IS a marvelous milk substitute.

I will do my best to contain my over-the-top enthusiasm for homemade coconut milk and spare you an abundance of capital letters and exclamation points  going on in my brain when I think about it. Besides, any attempt at a description is futile because it is quite simply TOO DELICIOUS FOR WORDS. I could tell you all kinds of good ways to use it, but who am I kidding? The best thing to do with coconut milk is drink it in it’s pure and perfect form. In my humble opinion, pouring it over cereal or adding it to a recipe would be a waste of the most delectable nectar known to mankind. I have never been one to drink a glass of milk by itself, but now I’m a complete addict. I’m hooked on the stuff. My name is Becky and I’m a milkaholic. Cocoholic?

Apparently my over-the-top enthusiam cannot be silenced.

The recipe is simple, as you only need 2 – 3 ingredients: coconut, water, and sweetener, if desired. But simple does not mean easy, and this simple recipe takes me over an hour to make, but it’s totally worth it. I realize there are plenty of coconut milk options out there. I tried the So Delicious brand and it straight up tasted like water. Silk coconut milk is tasty, but also contains many foreign, hard-to-pronounce ingredients. As you know, I really try to avoid those.

So, if you’re willing to put in the effort, you’ll be rewarded with the most incredible coconut milk you’ve ever tasted.

Homemade Coconut Milk (of the gods)

Ingredients:
2 coconuts
Water
Sweetener of choice (optional)

Tools:
Hole-poking device
Hammer
Sharp Spoon
Blender
Mesh Strainer
Pitchers/Containers/Bowls (to strain the milk into)
Cheesecloth or Paper Towel (optional)

Step 1 (and quite possibly the most important step): Choose two of the heaviest and lightest-colored coconuts you can find. Shake them; the more juice you hear sploshing about, the better. Coconut selection is a tricky business because it can look perfectly fine on the outside and be completely rotten on the inside. Coconuts are not a commonly purchased grocery item, meaning they can easily sit on the shelf for months without anyone realizing they’re bad. Case in point:

They just LOOK innocent. Upon cracking them, I found one to be orange and gooey, another black and moldy, and the last one was pure white...and pure alcohol.

Step 2: Drain the coconut water into a container. There are three little spots at the top of the coconut; one of them is softer than the others and you can easily poke a hole through it. Cool, right? I never knew this until my Colombian husband informed me of it. Americans need to get more familiar with coconuts. The hole-poking may take some creativity on your part. I’ve been using a kabob skewer! Oh, and it’s okay if the water has little bits and pieces of stuff in it because you’re going to strain it later.

Step 3: Break open the coconuts. This is the most fun part of the milk-making process. I like to tie each of them in a plastic bag and throw it at the sidewalk with all the strength I can muster. After it’s broken, go at the pieces with a hammer until they’re all smaller and more manageable.

Step 4: Remove the meat from the shell. This is harder than it sounds. I take a sharp spoon, dig, and pry. I’ve read online that you can steam the coconut and it will separate from the shell, but I’ve yet to try it out. I used to peel off the light brown skin but found that it lengthened the process and didn’t make a difference in the flavor.

Step 5: Put half of the coconut pieces in the blender and cover with the reserved coconut water. Blend very, VERY thoroughly. Be patient, your ultimate goal here is a liquid. And remember that the longer you blend, the more flavor will be extracted from the coconut meat. Then, strain the coconut mixture into a bowl. Press with a spoon to get all of the liquid out, leaving the coconut fluffy and dry.

Step 6: Put the fluffy meat back in the blender and cover with drinking water. Add sweetener, to taste, if you like. I use a little bit of Stevia. Blend thoroughly a second time and repeat the straining process. Repeat the blend, strain, blend, strain process with the other half of your coconut pieces.

Step 7 (optional): Transfer the dry coconut meat to a cheesecloth or strong paper towel, wrap tightly, and squeeze out every last drop of milk. This is not necessary, but I like to get the most milk that I possibly can.


You can use the leftover coconut in pancakes, muffins, or other baked goods, but it usually ends up sitting in my fridge unused, so I’ve stopped saving it.



I made a little over half a gallon with two coconuts. Remember that because this milk contains no strange additives or preservatives, it will separate and small clumps will form. Stir before drinking and enjoy the clumps – they’re smooth, buttery, and my very favorite part. Chill before serving and sip to your heart’s content. Or guzzle. Either way, embrace your new addiction.

Enjoy!

~Becky, a coconutty skinnyfat girl

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