truffl'd raw chocolates & a recipe

part deux // piece two

we thought we'd kick off our first real CACAO post with the recipe that started it all: truffl'd raw chocolates!

as you may already know (and if you’re one of my friends reading this you probably already know), i make raw chocolate truffles (they're more like little delicious melt-in-your-mouth chocolate nuggets) -- the key piece being they are made of raw cacao instead of your typical chocolate made out of cocoa. cocoa is roasted bean. cacao is the raw good stuff.

so i might as well tell you, this recipe is not really a recipe.. it’s more of a guideline, for you, and for me. it’s what’s come out of a lot of experimentation and is quite simply my unique way of combining the ingredients. there are tons of chocolate recipes out there (search Chocolate-anything on Pinterest and prepare to oggle). the very first time i made proper chocolate, i followed the recipe of one of my favorite seasonal cooks Sarah Britton of My New Roots. it was yummy and delightful, as all her recipes are, but i knew it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. i like Super dark chocolate andd... i didn’t want it to have a lot of sugar, if any. and quite honestly i wasn’t finding what i was looking for, so i set out to figure out how to make it myself.  if you’re not seeing what you want in the world, you make it yourself right?

when i did that, i was really thinking it would be just for me - as in, i’d be the only person who enjoyed this super dark chocolatey stuff; to my surprise it was really well-loved and well-received by those around me, most especially my roommates who got to be my delightful and delighted guinea pigs :)

why raw cacao? well, i noticed these tend to be the most expensive chocolates, so i figured there must be something to it. that’s one. and two, i’d been interested in raw foods for a good while, so i figured it was worth a shot. never did i imagine the profound effects cacao would have -- which i’ll get into deeper in a later post. 

and well, here's where the magic happens…. :]

before you, you have your sort-of recipe. this is an open invitation to fail, succeed, trust where your intuition leads you. Play! have fun, Experiment! in essence, all you really need are three ingredients to make chocolate - cacao, a good fat, and a sweetener of choice. i've given you some guidance on proportions and such, but really, let freedom ring! it may take a couple of goes to get it to your exact liking, but truly it's hard to go wrong. that's one of the many amazing things about making chocolate - it'll always be tasty, and messy! :) i urge you to make some of it up as you go . 

MAGICAL RAW CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES: THE RECIPE 

(prep & cook time: this should take no longer than 90 mins including cleanup time. i am one for simple no-fuss recipes that require as few conventional appliances as possible).

*ingredients for magical raw chocolate truffles*:

  • raw cacao butter **
  • raw cacao  **
  • vanilla (i use vanilla bean but i imagine extract could work too!)
  • coconut oil (organic virgin or extra virgin)
  • cinnamon (i like grinding whole cinnamon sticks, the fresh-ground flavor is truly incomparable!)
  • salt (i use Real Salt for its specific health properties)
  • your sweetener of choice (syrupy consistency works best; i use raw honey or organic brown rice syrup and would like to invest in Yakon syrup - there couldn't be a better fit for chocolate!)
  • love <3 (but seriously this last one is the key ingredient in my opinion :))

*basically all the ingredients should be as close to their natural states as possible. you can also make this recipe without cacao butter; the butter adds the richness and cohesiveness and the amazing smell. yumm

**organic and fair trade are really important when it comes to chocolate; much like coffee, common practice is to use pesticides and unfair working conditions for the people who grow this amazing food. please consider this when you purchase your chocolate

step 1: use what you've already got in your kitchen. this recipe is all about simplicity! what are the basics you have (or want) in your kitchen, and go from there. seriously, if you have cocoa  (instead of cacao) - use that! it's all about the process anyhow, like many if not most things in life. and trust me you're going to want to make these again - so use what you already have and go from there :]
step 2: melt three cups (total) coconut oil and cacao butter in a makeshift double boiler (or real double-boiler if you happen to have one :]). i go for as low a heat as possible to preserve the "rawness" of this recipe, but you can go as hot as you want. the coconut oil melts first and actually helps the cacao butter melt. i do roughly ⅓  coconut oil to ⅔ cacao butter. any combination of the two goes. the more coconut oil you put, the more melt-in-your-mouth (and in-your-hand) effect you’ll have.
step 3: while the cacao butter-coconut oil blend is melting together, put a couple tsp's vanilla, and a couple tsp's cinnamon + a tiny pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl. 
step 4: once the cacao butter-coconut oil is fully melted, pour it into that large mixing bowl. grab a sieve if you have one and sift raw cacao powder into the oil while you whisk ‘em together. keep sifting cacao in until you’ve reached your desired flavor - ie. darker or more milk chocolatey.* your arm will get a workout :O. Add in a syrupy sweetener, as much as you prefer, and you can continue adjusting the cacao powder to sweetness to fats ratio* as you go.

*you’re going for ooey gooey fudgy consistency (where you have to scoop out the mixture with a spatula) or a more liquidy consistency (where you can pour the mixture into the molds right from your mixing bowl). either yields amazing chocolate. i’ve had chalky chocolate and more buttery-rich chocolate - both are yum! the fun part is you get to play around, and see what you like! same goes for sweetness. i add raw honey if i’m looking to up my sweetness - a little bit goes a long way and it happens to have incredible health benefits :]

step 5: when you like what you've got, pour the chocolatey mixture into a mold. i use small ice cube trays. (if you’ve made your chocolate quite dark and are using full-sized ice cube trays, i recommend cutting your chocolate into at least 2 or 3 portions when it comes time to enjoy them as the energizing effects of cacao can be quite intense, especially if you’re more susceptible to caffeine). place molds in your freezer to cook. in 20-35 minutes they’re ready to punch out of the molds and enjoy. store in sealed container (mason jars are super) in the coolest section of your fridge or in a wine cooler. *refrigeration is just to keep the coconut oil from melting and preserve the shape of your truffley chocolatey nuggets.

final tidbits: i tend to play around with a lot of different ingredients - i call these confetti ingredients. i happen to have a small confection of things in my pantry, so sometimes i’ll add cayenne, spirulina, things like that to the mix. you can pretty much add in any additional ingredients you want, as long as it doesn’t sacrifice the overall consistency of the truffle; meaning, as long as it doesn’t get too powder-packed. i typically add in more of the liquidy coconut oil-cocoa butter blend to bring it back to smooth delightful dark chocolatey goo.  

in closing: what i find truly great is these never come out perfect. there. is. no. perfect. chocolate. yup, i said it. what a relief right?! they’ll pretty much always taste good no matter what, because you’ve got an awesome combination of ingredients. and you know generally speaking what you intend to make out of this combination. and then well presto- you’ve got magical delicious yummy chocolate bringing joy and energy and inspiration to everyone who has ‘em, including you.

P.S. you can save some of your mixture and add it to the bottom of a small mug to make a raw chocolate cup! it's delightfully fun to scoop out

that’s all for now. more on chocolate-making and the specific ingredients that make up this wonder of a food coming up <3

with love & chocolate,

Juliana Mariia Rose & Leah Salinas