Monday, 11 August 2014

Chocolate Truffles (Gluten and Dairy Free)

This weekend was the 25th birthday of one of my longest standing and closest friends, and her boyfriend organised a surprise birthday party for her inviting me and all her other friends to Dublin where they live and work.

About this time last year she was diagnosed with a large amount of food allergies and I had to keep this in mind when coming up with a present for her, which actually turned out to be rather easy. I've had enough practise at developing recipes for people with obscure food allergies at this stage I can pretty much make these things up as I go along.

In truth when you buy chocolate truffles by the bagful from any sweet shop they're not made using the traditional chocolate and fresh cream ganache approach. I was suspicious of this in the first place when I saw speciality truffles advertised as being "made with fresh cream", which made me think what are they usually made of? After reading the backs of a few bags of cheap sweet shop truffles I learnt the answer to this: they are usually made of chocolate, vegetable or coconut oil, and gluscose syrup.

I know this approach is to cut costs for the chocolate manufacturers, but in my case it would be necessary to create chocolate truffles that my friend could eat without exploding.

In the box I also included some chocolate dipped coconut ice which I made using this recipe, however I replaced the milk with half coconut milk, half water.

☑ Soya (check for soya lecithin)
☑ Yeast
☑ Wheat
☑ Gluten
☑ Nuts
☑ Eggs
☑ Dairy
☑ Refined sugar products

☒ Cocoa


For the truffles:
  • 7 ounces (200 grammes) dark chocolate, at least 70%
  • 2 fluid ounces (55 millilitres; 4 tablespoons) sunflower oil
  • 2½ fluid ounces (75 millilitres; 5 tablespoons) honey
  • Pinch of salt
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon (5 millilitres) vanilla essence

For coating:
  • 5½ ounces (150 grammes) dark chocolate, at least 70%
  • 2½ tablespoons (37 millitres) sunflower oil
  • Or desiccated coconut, cocoa powder, coloured sprinkles, chocolate sprinkles, flood consistency royal icing

  • Melt all the truffle ingredients except the essence, if using, in either a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, or in the microwave set to "Defrost" in one minute bursts. Melt until smooth then remove from the heat.
  • Stir in the vanilla essence and then allow to cool to room temperature. Chill in the fridge until fully set, about 6 hours or overnight.
  • When it's time to roll the truffles, remove the ganache from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature for about an hour. Using a teaspoon, scoop out the ganache and roll into balls with your hands.
  • If you are going to chocolate dip them, set them on a plate and allow to chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes. If you are not, simply drop the truffles into a coating of your choice and roll around to coat. Put the truffles into little cases if you have some.
To chocolate dip:
  • To make the chocolate coating, melt the chocolate and oil together as above. Using a fork, lower each chilled truffle into the chocolate and roll around to coat. Raise the coated truffle from the chocolate and gently tap off the excess, allowing it to fall through the fork back into the bowl.
  • Put the dipped truffles onto a tray lined with baking paper and allow to set completely at room temperature for at least 2 hours. If you like, you can add sprinkles or other decorations while the chocolate is still wet.
  • Once set, put the truffles into little paper cases if you have some.

In my opinion, these are actually a lot nicer than regular cream-ganache truffles because they seem a little lighter and cleaner on the palate. You could also add other flavourings instead of the vanilla such as peppermint essence, grated orange zest, or fine espresso powder.

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