Around this time of year, I really try to slow down and take stock of what I am grateful for in life. Sweet and spunky Evelyn, friends and family, health and well being. Nothing overly shocking here. But I have to confess, I am outrageously grateful for organic dark chocolate. Really. Not that I am more appreciative of chocolate than say, my daughter, but it does hold a special place for me -- infusing a truly delicious quality into life. Dark chocolate is actually a health enhancing food when savored in moderation and with intention. Find out how it sharpens the mind here or wards off cancer along with other disease here. Even the ancient Aztecs recognized the benefit of chocolate on well- being, both emotionally and physically.
In celebration of this love affair, a recipe for truffles. These little bundles of bliss are rich and lovely and can be whipped together in no time flat. Truffles are elegant and unique -- the perfect sweet for those family gatherings where you would like to inspire a bit of sophistication and spirit.
Please be aware, only the highest quality ingredients will do. Since chocolate is the heart and soul of truffles, it is crucial to use the very best you can get your hands on. I find Equal Exchange Organic Panama Extra Dark Chocolate with 80% cacao content to be exceptional. Not only for the quality, texture and taste, but also because this is one of the few truly independent organic companies that is not controlled by a 'parent' corporation. Equal Exchange is socially responsible, fair-trade certified and embodies an extraordinary business model as well. If we want to see change in the world, this is the kind of company we want to support. For those interested in other products that embrace sound values and business practices, a chart can be found in this article.
A note on the coconut oil. This is one of the few times I do not recommend extra-virgin. Standard coconut oil is neutral in flavor, which is what we are aiming for here. Just make sure it is organic to avoid any unfortunate solvents.
Considering our hectic schedules, I realize that for many of you making this recipe is just a dream. If you still would like a divine chocolate experience this season, Lagusta's Luscious is the answer. The most amazing chocolates you will ever taste can be ordered here. All organic, fair-trade and vegan -- absolute handmade ecstasy. Incredible flavors like ginger-orange flower water, fennel-apple, peach-tarragon or raspberry-balsamic are just a few of the exquisite offerings. Sheer rapture and heartily recommended.
Wishing all a beautiful and gracious day of thankfulness, abounding in opportunities to make the world a better place for all.
Grateful Truffles -- Cinnamon, Cocoa and Cardamom
*As always, organic ingredients are best for flavor, nutrition and health
1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
16 ounces Equal Exchange Organic Panama Extra Dark Chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons coconut oil or organic butter
For dusting (1/8 cup each):
In a double boiler, bring the coconut milk to a mild simmer. Reduce the heat to low. Add chocolate and coconut oil. Stir until the chocolate and oil are completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and pour into a wide, shallow bowl. Refrigerate for several hours until firm enough to handle.
Sift cinnamon, cardamom and cocoa powder onto a pie plate. Line an airtight storage container with parchment paper and set aside. Remove chocolate from the refrigerator. Dip a small spoon or melon baller into warm water and drag across the chilled chocolate to form a 1-inch ball. An alternative is to simply slice the chocolate into small squares. Drop the truffle into the cocoa power and gently shake the pan to cover completely. Transfer to prepared container and repeat process with remaining truffles. Seal the container tightly. Truffles will remain fresh in the refrigerator for 2 weeks or can be frozen up to 3 months. Share lovingly with those your cherish.
"The superiority of chocolate, both for health and nourishment, will soon give it the same preference over tea and coffee in America which it has in Spain."