Sunday, February 15, 2015

Vegan Chocolate Truffles

When I run across a recipe that I find unusual in some way, I often race to try it, especially if it uses an unconventional ingredient in a dessert. I love the Texanerin Baking site (the chickpea chocolate chip cookie recipe comes from there) so when she posted a recipe for Healthier Raspberry Truffles using avocado, I was all over it.

My mother-in-law is a Valentine baby, so what better excuse than to make her these truffles for a birthday/Valentine gift. However, because I knew the girls would want to taste them, and because I've found that I'm not super-fond of boozy desserts, I decided to omit the liqueur and replace with the suggested 2 tsp vanilla extract. We did keep the raspberry theme by coating half in freeze-dried raspberries as she suggested, and alternating with cocoa-coated ones in our gift box.

These truffles are a snap to make and they are delicious. Grandma was most impressed. You'd never know there was avocado in there and they're wonderfully light yet rich. However, when you substitute only 2 tsp vanilla extract for 2 TBSP of liqueur, you end up with a mixture that is crumblier than it should be, at least for forming them--they were awesome for eating. So, since nice chocolate was on sale and I had enough for a new double batch, I decided to try adding some instant espresso mixed with warm water in addition to the vanilla to see if more liquid would solve the texture issue. It did! This second batch formed way easier and tastes just as good. There is no discernible coffee flavor; it just brings out the chocolate more. We are bringing a dozen coated ones to a dinner party but then I formed and froze the rest uncoated because they will be a perfect little something on days when one or more of us needs a perfect little chocolate something! I suspect that you could thaw them and then coat them with cocoa or freeze-dried raspberries--or freeze-dried strawberries or toasted coconut, but I also suspect that we will just eat them unadorned and may not even wait until they thaw completely...

INGREDIENTS
1/2 a ripe avocado (about 80g--err on the side of more rather than less_
6 oz good quality chocolate (we used Theo 70%)
Pinch of salt (forgot this the second time, but it was ok)
1/2 tsp instant espresso
1/2 TBSP warm water
2 tsp vanilla extract (or you could try a lesser amount of coconut extract or almond extract)
15-20 freeze-dried raspberries, crumbled and/or cocoa powder and/or toasted coconut to garnish

DIRECTIONS
  1. Put the avocado flesh in a medium-sized bowl and smash well until there are no big chunks remaining
  2.  Mix the instant espresso, warm water and vanilla extract in a little dish and set aside
  3. Break the chocolate into small pieces and melt, either using a double boiler or 50% power in the microwave for 2 minutes, then stirring, and cooking an additional 90 seconds or until melted
  4. Add the melted chocolate to the avocado, stirring well and smashing any lumps of avocado with a spatula
  5. Stir in the coffee/vanilla. The mixture will start firming up as you do this
  6. Refrigerate 20-45 minutes--if the mixture is too sticky when you try to form it, refrigerate a bit more
  7. Form into small balls. I used my smallest cookie scoop and got 16 truffles compared to the 20 truffles Texanerin got. Roll the balls in the raspberries/cocoa/coconut or freeze uncoated. Texanerin says that these should be refrigerated and eaten within a day but, as there is no dairy to go bad I'm not sure why this is the case