It's a winter wonderland over here. Snowing like crazy and totally freezing. Ok, not really, I totally lied. I'm in Texas and there is no snow and it's barely even cold. However, that didn't stop me from creating the illusion of a cold, wintery holiday photoshoot. It may not be snowing or freezing outside, but it felt like it with this recipe and photoshoot.
I shared the above photo on my Instagram a couple weeks ago telling you all that an amazing recipe was coming using them. Most people likely thought of cake or muffins or cranberry sauce or something. As you can see though, I had something different in mind.
Truffles are rich, so I thought the contrast of a fresh, tart cranberry stuffed inside the luscious dark chocolate would be amazinggggggg. Then by adding a touch of espresso, it further drives home that rich, dark chocolate flavor. Oh my word.
May I be bold? These are seriously the best truffles I've ever had in my life. You might just agree too, that is if you love the rich, deep, luscious flavor of dark chocolate. I much, much prefer dark chocolate over the overly sweet milky type of chocolate. I make truffles every year for Christmas and this year I wanted to create mine a bit different. I went with dark chocolate, instead of semi-sweet and decided to make them super festive with a little surprise inside. A gorgeous, vibrant red cranberry will surprise your guests and their tastebuds.
Cranberries are very tart and it really is the most amazing contrast and freshness against the rich, dark chocolate. Kind of amazing.
What makes them so creamy? I'm glad you asked.
A combo of lite coconut milk and cashew butter makes them so creamy and the perfect truffle texture. Last year when I made truffles for a party, I used almond butter in combo with the chocolate. They were delicious and a hit at the party, but the almond butter tended to make them not quite as smooth as a truly indulgent truffle. So, this time I decided to add cashew butter and coconut milk and oh boy. I seriously could not get over how amazing the flavor and creamy texture was. My non-chocolate-fan-husband even thought they were outstanding. He doesn't even like dark chocolate y'all, yet he gave nothing but praise.
Look at that little beautiful cranberry all nestled in that luscious chocolate. I just die.
The holidays are always about pumpkin, ginger and lots of spices....but let's not forget about these gorgeous, red jewels.
- 1½ bars of 3.16 oz 70-71% dark chocolate bar (135 g, make sure to use a good quality chocolate that you love the flavor, since this will affect the final flavor)
- ¼ cup lite coconut milk, room temp or slightly warm (can shaken well before measuring)
- 1/16th fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup, room temp
- 1½ tablespoons raw cashew butter, room temp
- ¼ teaspoon finely ground espresso (I only use Illy, found at most stores or online at the link)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 12-14 fresh cranberries (or you can use blueberries or cherries, or just leave out fruit)
- Cocoa powder, powdered sugar, nuts, etc. to roll truffles in
- It is very important that your ingredients are at room temperature when adding to the melted chocolate or it can cause the chocolate to harden and turn lumpy. Also, make sure to weigh the chocolate or use the correct size bars for accurate results. Too much chocolate or not enough will alter the perfect smooth truffle texture.
- Finely chop your chocolate bar and add to a bowl. Either melt over a double boiler or heat in the microwave for 30 seconds, then 15 seconds and stirring in between until almost all melted, being careful not to burn. Stir until completely smooth. Add to a food processor.
- If your cashew butter is stored in the fridge, then you will need to warm it up to a smooth consistency before measuring. Add all of the remaining ingredients, except the cranberries. Process until completely smooth, scraping the sides as needed.
- Pour into a bowl and make sure to scrape out all of that chocolatey goodness from the processor. Place in the fridge for at least 2-4 hours or more until it is completely firm and solid. Or even better, make the chocolate the day before you want to make the truffles, so they have all night to set.
- After it is completely chilled and set, using a melon scooper, form balls in your hands and press an indention with your finger into the center. Add a cranberry and form the chocolate around it, pressing it together. It's best to choose the smallest of the cranberries. If you don't like cranberries or just want all dark chocolate, then they are fabulous that way too! Then roll into your preferred coatings. I did some in cocoa powder (my favorite because it's extra chocolatey!), some in powdered sugar and some in crushed pistachios. Doing a variety makes them look very festive and beautiful on a table. Keep them stored at room temperature for the perfect, smooth texture. This makes 12-14 truffles, so if you are serving a large party, then double the recipe.
*Nutrition per serving (2 truffles): 152 calories, 10.4 g fat, 13.76 carbs, 2 g protein, 9.51 g sugars