Classic chocolate truffles are sinfully indulgent, melt-in-your-mouth, bite-sized confections made from ganache (an emulsion of chocolate and heavy cream). Truffles sometimes include butter, as well as spices, coffee or tea, liqueurs, nuts, and even fruit purées for flavor. Vegan truffles are also based on ganache, and when made right, they are just as luxurious, velvety smooth, and indulgent — but not sinful. A variety of nondairy milks replace the heavy cream and no butter is added. And here is the best part: After creating and serving hundreds of truffles made with nondairy milks, I am convinced they taste more intensely chocolaty than their heavy cream–based cousins. What is important is to choose a chocolate that tastes good out of the wrapping to you and to use the percentage listed in recipe.
Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles [Vegan]
- 8 ounces dark chocolate (70 to 72%), finely chopped
- 3/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened organic almond milk, coconut milk beverage, or soy milk
- 2 tablespoons organic granulated sugar, optional
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons mild-tasting extra virgin olive oil
- A few pinches of flaked sea salt, for coating and serving, optional
- Dutch-process cocoa powder for coating
- Nuts or seed for coating, optional
- Add the chocolate to a heatproof bowl and set aside while you heat the milk.
- Pour the milk into a small saucepan. Add the sugar, if using, and salt. Cook over medium heat, whisking a few times, to a low boil.
- Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat. Pour the hot milk over the chocolate all at once. Rotate the bowl so the chocolate is completely submerged. Cover the bowl with a plate and let stand undisturbed for 4 minutes.
- Add the vanilla and olive oil and whisk from the center out only until smooth and glossy.
- Keep the bowl of ganache at room temperature while you test the final consistency. A properly made truffle ganache is firm enough to scoop and shape but still tastes creamy.
- Dip a teaspoon into the ganache, set the coated spoon on a small plate, and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes. After chilling, the ganache on the spoon should be smooth and firm, but still taste creamy. It is unlikely, but if the glaze is too firm, add a tablespoon of room temperature milk and repeat the test. Add a second tablespoon if needed.
- Cool the ganache in a shallow dish at room temperature for 30 minutes. The ganache sets up fastest and most evenly in a 9-inch glass pie pan or similar dish.
- Refrigerate uncovered until the surface is no longer soft, then place a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ganache, covering it completely, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until very firm. The ganache can be refrigerated at this point for up to 1 week in an airtight container.
To Make the Truffle Center:
- Line a shallow container with parchment. Remove the ganache from the refrigerator. Use a spoon to scoop out 1-inch pieces of ganache and another to push the ganache off the spoon into the container. (If you prefer more uniform truffles, use a 1/2-tablespoon scoop.) When a half dozen or so are made, roll and press the pieces into irregularly shaped rounds.
- Repeat until all the ganache has been used, washing and drying your hands as needed. (If at any time the ganache becomes too soft to shape, refrigerate until cold and proceed.) Cover and refrigerate the truffle centers in layers separated by parchment paper for 15-25 minutes before finishing with the cocoa coating.
- Roll in the truffles in cocoa powder. Add a pinch of flaked sea salt if desired. Alternatively, coat the truffles in chopped nuts or cacao nibs, seeds, or coconut.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, by Fran Costigan, (Running Press 2013). Photo credit: © Kate Lewis