Thursday, April 10, 2014

Vegan Chocolate Truffles

There's no better place to post this recipe from than Bali. We're staying in Ubud (yes, where Elizabeth Gilbert stayed). This little city is basically heaven for me. It's a haven for hippie expats who are into yoga, veganism, and overall green living. We (Nick + Cate + me) have been detoxing from our weeks of overeating in Vietnam. My 200 cousins trying to feed us as much as possible was pretty great but similar to a marathon of eating every single day. I almost cried when I ate my first green salad in months (beet, mung beans, goji berries, sprouted sunflower seeds, and cashew parmesan flakes with a raw dressing). We've been drinking a lot of fresh smoothies and juices and doing yoga in between vegan meals.

We're renting a little villa amidst rice paddies and farmhouses. Being surrounded by the jungle is such a relief from the stark landscape of Saigon. In fact, we're so close to nature that there was a little rat (from the rice paddies) on Cate's bed one night. After that, we all crammed onto one bed for the rest of the nights she was staying. Her cousin is an expat here and he has been showing us around Ubud. We rented a little scooter, and we can actually go above 20 km/hr here!

Bali is predominantly Hindu and intensely spiritual. There are daily offerings and ceremonies that we get to witness daily. We were fortunate to be here during the Balinese New Year. Basically all the villages build monsters and demons out of paper mache to be paraded around. The kids send off firecrackers and make lots of noise to attract the demons. Then on the day of Nyepi, everyone is silent. No lights or electronics are used. It is illegal to go out into the roads. For Nick and I, this meant hiding in our hotel room (with blacked out windows) and watching a marathon of Gilmore Girls.

This recipe is appropriate to post now since we've mostly been consuming raw, vegan desserts. This means so much delicious raw chocolate (cacao grows in Bali). Also, this makes a lot of truffles so be prepared!

1 pound good quality chocolate (70%)
1 3/4 cups coconut cream
1/3 cup coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
cacao powder for rolling

Chop up the chocolate into little pieces and place in a large ceramic bowl. Set aside. In a small saucepan, bring the coconut cream to a simmer. Turn off heat and add coconut oil. Stir after 1 minute, making sure coconut oil is completely melted. Pour hot liquid mixture over chopped chocolate. Wait a 3-5 minutes, then use a spatula to completely mix the melted chocolate with the cream. Then add the vanilla and garam masala.
Feel free to try other spices (cinnamon, cardamom, cayenne, etc) or herbs (mint extract, lavender oil, etc). Start adding small amounts to the chocolate while tasting regularly (yum) to see when the flavor is just perfect.
Place truffle mixture in refrigerator overnight. After being refrigerated, the truffles should be soft but slightly firm. You may need to remelt the mixture and add a couple more spoonfuls of coconut milk depending on what kind of chocolate you use. Then refrigerate and repeat.
Once the texture is just right, grab some friends and use spoons to scoop out a heaping teaspoonful of chocolate. Roll quickly into a ball with your hands and then roll in a bowl filled with cacao powder. Place in  a glass tupperware container in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature.

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