I can already hear what you are thinking. You are thinking, wow, that’s a really bizarre combination for truffles. And you are quite right, of course. These truffles are not love at first bite. Your brain and palate are far too busy trying to work out whether they are peppermint truffles or raspberry truffles to really delight in them. But when you sneakily go back for more – just to try to work out what they actually do taste like – you discover that, actually, they really are rather good. And you want another one. And another after that.
The fact that they are shaped like teeny tiny teddy bears doesn’t hurt, either.
Of course, this still doesn’t explain what possessed me to come up with such a bizarre flavour idea. In fact, it was a unique conjunction of events.
First, today is Andrew’s birthday (happy birthday, Andrew!), and Andrew really likes chocolatey peppermint things. Over the fifteen or so years we have known each other, I have been steadily escalating the chocolate-mint birthday cakes to ever more ridiculous levels of elaboration and richness.
But the last few weeks have been absolutely hellish at work, and not a lot of fun outside it. Which I haven’t been, very much, because I have been working very long hours just to keep up. So by the time I got home yesterday evening, I was in no mood for serious baking. Raw truffles seemed like just the thing.
Which brings me to the third factor (which may be the one you don’t want to know about, but if I have to suffer, I don’t see why others should escape scot-free), and that is the fact that I currently have my period. And, in addition to causing quite a bit of pain and other un-fun side effects, my period has a truly bizarre effect on my sense of smell. Since I cook largely by smell, this means that my culinary judgment at this time of the month becomes seriously iffy, and in really good months, I get to have a nervous breakdown about the fact that I can’t cook, that everything I cook tastes terrible, that everything I cook will always taste terrible, and if I can’t cook, then what is the point of even being a Catherine?
Add all this together with the fact that I’m seriously tired, and what you get is a Catherine who is trying to adapt a recipe while simultaneously not being capable of reading it correctly, and who then finds herself with something that tastes like Dreadfully Wrong Peppermint Truffle, casts wildly about the pantry and the freezer for something with which to fix it, and randomly throws in an entire packet of freeze-dried raspberries.
Of such conjunctions, brilliant recipes are not made… but, in spite of everything, this is still actually quite a good one. The coconut oil is optional, because I put it in by accident and strongly suspect that this was the reason my truffle mixture separated in such an unsightly fashion.
After all this, you might well ask why I am posting such a manifestly imperfect recipe. It’s quite simple, really. I can’t stop eating these things. They are seriously more-ish. I have no idea what it is that makes them work – they shouldn’t work, I’m quite positive, and yet, I keep going back to the fridge for more. And my sister-in-law felt the same way about them, so it’s not just weird Catherinishness. There’s something in this flavour combination that actually does work. I just don’t know what.
Your Shopping List1/4 cup coconut oil 1/2 cup cacao powder or good dark cocoa powder 1/2 cup melted cocoa butter 1/2 cup almond butter 1/2 cup pistachio butter 1/2 cup maple syrup 5 tbsp water 1/2 tsp, or thereabouts, peppermint oil 40 g freeze-dried raspberries
Now what will you do with it
Put it all in a food processor, and process until smooth.
Done! (I told you I was tired…)
OK, the method really looks more like this:
Melt the coconut oil and the cocoa butter. Pour into the food processor with the other ingredients, and process until smooth. You should have quite a nice chocolatey truffle.
Add a few drops of peppermint oil. Process. Taste. Conclude that you can’t taste the peppermint. Repeat several times until you can taste the peppermint, at which point you realise that it was better when you couldn’t, because peppermint and maple syrup do not belong together in any sane universe.
Consider throwing everything out and then having a tantrum.
Realise that these ingredients are far too expensive to throw out. Vaguely remember that you had some peppermint and strawberry chocolate once that was weird but appealing. Search for freeze-dried strawberries, which it turns out you do not have. Find freeze dried raspberries instead. Chuck them in.
Process again and realise that the whole thing is trying to separate. Also, realise that while the truffles no longer taste Deeply, Horribly Wrong, they do taste rather strange. Despair. Consider adding some milk, which is a very good way to un-curdle things, but then decide that even though nobody eating this recipe is vegan, this was supposed to be a vegan recipe, damn it, and this is apparently the mountain you are prepared to die on today.
Remember there was some water in the recipe! This might help!
Add too much water. Mixture uncurdles very slightly but is still inclined to separate. Despair again.
Pour the Truffles of Despair into a 20cm square cake tin lined with baking paper, and refrigerate. Try to pretend that you are not noticing the way the coconut oil is trying to separate out of the mixture into a fine layer on top. Watch the Dr Blake Mysteries to cheer up.
Cut the truffles into tiny squares, or better still, into teeny tiny teddy bears to try to disguise their sadly unsightly appearance.
Serve to people who love you enough to give weird teddy-bear shaped raw truffles a try.
Discover that, actually, they taste rather good, hastily take a few photos, and blog about them.
I dare you.
But for what it’s worth, these are gluten-free and vegan.
Oh, and also, they have a remarkably gorgeous, truffly texture for something that was such a disaster from beginning to end. Who would have thought it?
I am submitting this recipe to We Should Cocoa, hosted this month by I’d Much Rather Bake Than…, because the theme is coconut! (It turns out that my accidental addition of coconut oil was a good thing after all…). If you are a fellow chocolate fiend, I strongly recommend following these links back to find all sorts of other delicious recipes to play with…