It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago and one of my sisters sent me the most wonderful care package. Wrapped in Japanese tissue paper, were amongst other things, some rose scented face cream, a knitted rose corsage and a bar of the most delicious 95% cocoa content chocolate which I just about managed to restrain myself from inhaling whole!
Sister number two just sent me a slightly belated present (a tradition I wholly approve of - extending the birthday feeling as long as possible) a box of pink tissue wrapped loveliness, more rose gifts, including rose tea and wild rose soap and a little tissue twist with three raw orange and cardamom truffles in it. Heaven!
They know me well those two. Some rose infused something or other and some very bitter chocolate is pretty much my idea of nirvana.
Fin and I soon finished off the truffles and I was inspired to create some myself. We often have cacao in the house - Fin and I nibbling a bitter chunk when we need a cocoa hit. Our very favourite cacao of the moment is the Nicaraguan version of Willies Cacao (Waslala superior) - a creamy, nutty and very moreish blend.
The truffles I was sent used coconut oil which I don't keep - preferring the more local goose fat for cooking. However, goose fat is not going to fly in a truffle, so I opted for the deliciously creamy flesh of an avocado so bring my raw truffles the requisite mouth soothing soft texture.
The result was amazingly delicious! No hint of avocado taste - just creamy truffleness with a pleasing bite from the finely chopped cacao. Fin and I polished off two each, cocoa coating our lips and fingers, before I whisked the plate away to a cool dark Finley proof location.
When Nick tried one later, I warned him with a twinkle that there was a secret vegan ingredient within. Alert as he is to my sneaky ways, he first sniffed the truffle suspiciously - depositing an amusing smudge of cocoa on the end of his nose. Unable to detect anything this way, he told me that he was so over his fear of dates now - if that was the secret ingredient (he thinks they look like insect pupae).
Nope, not dates...
He then threatened certain death if I had found a way to include tahini in a truffle (read this for a fuller understanding of the tahini-phobia which burdens Nick).
Nope, not tahini - just eat it for goodness' sake!
He sank his teeth in and looked instantly relieved as his tongue tasted orange, cardamom and chocolate - nothing else. Not a hint of secret ingredient.
Avocado! I sang, as though I had invented the wheel.
Try them - you won't regret it!
Raw Cacao Truffles (makes 18)
2 oz Cacao (unsweetened chocolate)
2 oz flaked almonds ground to a powder in a coffee grinder (or ground almonds)
1/2 a ripe small black skinned avocado
2 heaped tsp of organic cocoa powder
2 heaped tsp of set local honey
4 green cardamom pods (skinned and ground to a powder in a pestle and mortar)
16 drops of orange essential oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
Chop the cacao into smallish chunks (or grate it) and put into a food processor with the ground almonds. Process until a very fine dusty mix.
Add everything else and process again until the mixture forms a paste and there are only the smallest specks of green showing.
Scoop small teaspoonfuls of the mixture and roll lightly into balls with your hands. Put some cocoa powder into a small bowl and roll each truffle around to coat. Place on a plate or on waxed paper in an airtight box.
If you struggle to make the balls, you can make a rougher looking truffle by just scooping up spoonfuls of the mix and coating these in cocoa powder.
Store in a cool place for up to three days - they will be best on the first day and I challenge you to make them last three!
x x x