Recently, an article focused on the health properties of raw chocolate has been circulated at my place of employment. I love, that as human beings, we naturally remember information that reinforces our preestablished beliefs. Those who love to consume chocolate on a regulary bases, quickly memorize the tidbits from studies, like this one, to defend their choices. I am not a big proponent of including “candy bars” in your food pyramid. Did you know that there is no longer a standard food pyramid? We are each encouraged to create “my pyramid”. Sorry, that was a tangent.
Back to the chocolate.
The article is clear that the health properties associated with chocolate are found in its raw form and are destroyed during the standard processing that chocolate undergoes to become a “candy bar” on a store shelf. With this as motivation, I decided to break out some of the cacao paste, cacao butter and cacao nibs that had been taking up a lots of space in my pantry. I thought creating some raw chocolate confections would be a great way to celebrate my colleagues chocoholic tendencies and promote their health and longevity and the same time.
So, I turned to my favourite resource for raw decadence. Sweet Gratitude a dessert recipe book from the pastry chefs at California’s Cafe Gratitude. There is an entire chapter dedicated to raw chocolate confections.
After reviewing the options I selected the raw brazil nut truffles. Brazil nuts are full of vitamin E, healthy fats and selenium. Combining these nuts with the raw cacao was the perfect equation to create amazingly rich, creamy and wellness-promoting treats.
I got to work by creating a brazil nut cream to form the ganache-like centre of these truffles.
Brazil nut cream is simple to create. Simply put equal parts water and brazil nuts into your high-powered blender and turn it on. Once it is blended to a creamy consistency, let it steep for 10 minutes and then strain it through a nut bag.
To create the centres, I added the seeds of a vanilla bean, cacao butter (melted in a bowl of hot water), agave and cacoa nibs, to the blender. Keep this moving until a very smooth consistency is achieved. Move this delicious concoction into a container and let it set in your fridge overnight.
The next morning scoop out truffle sized servings and roll them into little balls. Once they are rolled, all smooth and perfect, place them in your freezer.
In the mean-time you have to melt the chocolate sauce for the smooth coating. For this I used cacao paste, cacao butter, vanilla beans, and agave syrup. To melt everything, I placed it in a bowl inside a larger bowl with just-boiled water in the bottom. I stir it up until a smooth and shiny sauce was achieved.
Just before you are ready to dip the truffles, chop up a handfull of brazil nuts to use for a special garnish.
The frozen centres were then dipped in the melted sauce and quickly rolled in the chopped nuts. You have to work fast because the frozen centres set the hard shell quickly, and then the nuts won’t stick.
As a final touch I drizzled the truffles with extra melted sauce.
I can’t tell you how heavenly thes truffles are. Each bite is a little escape into utopia. Amazing.
If this is what it takes to be healthy…i’m in.
I hope you will be inspired to explore raw chocolate options available where you live.
If you’re in Toronto check out the offerings from Chocosol. It is incredible company that works closely with the cacao farmers in Mexico to create a truly horizontal-trade relationship. We need more people to care about the global impact of how the food we eat is produced and transported.
I am pretty excited to watch my colleagues enjoy these special delicacies.