I knew as soon as I unmolded these little hearts that they were ruined.
Rough edges, jagged lines, cracks, crevasses, chips and divots. You name it, they wouldn’t make the cut. I’ve been operating in the blogging world long enough to know this is not what people want to see.
No big deal, I’m well accustomed to redos. Besides, the fix was easy enough. The mixture was too thick to form properly into the crevasses of the mold — a simple matter of adding a different type of chocolate better suited to melt and pour. I’d have these little truffles smoothed out in no time.
And then something funny happened on my way to fixing them.
The more I looked at these tattered little hearts, the more I fell in love with them and the perversion of covering them up split me down the middle.
How many times had I done this, seen this, felt this.
Our collective desire to hide, cover, smother for the sake of something brighter, smoother, straighter (for the record, I also miss the occasional crooked tooth — where did they all go?). We don’t tolerate flaws very well.
But if the heart symbol represents the center of our emotional and spiritual selves, could I not just let that be what it is? The sum of our love and losses, our wounds, our scars, our strengths and our weaknesses. Many bold and beautiful things but surely not perfection.
These vegan truffles are made from raw cacao powder and coconut butter. They are silky, rich and delicious — I also happen to think they’re quite beautiful.
The resulting mixture is thick and somewhat sticky so it doesn’t pour like some other fluid chocolates do. If you prefer smooth truffles, you can either shape the mixture into little balls (quite common with raw cacao) or, if you want to go with smooth little hearts, let’s call them new-to-the-world hearts, you can melt dark chocolate (raw cacao is available in bars as well). Also, be sure to read the notes on melting coconut butter in the recipe below.
I added a splash of mint because I like the touch of freshness it adds to these rich delights but you could omit in favor of pure chocolate or your own extract of choice.
Finish with a dusting of cacao, cinnamon, nutmeg, matcha or vanilla powder, as desired (the possibilities are endless).
Here’s to your happy, healthy, vibrant hearts!
- 1 cup raw cacao powder
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp pure mint extract (or to taste)
- 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup (or to taste)
- ⅓ cup coconut butter or slightly more, melted
- pinch sea salt
- Place raw cacao powder in a mixing bowl.
- Add vanilla extract, mint extract (if using), maple syrup, melted coconut butter and sea salt.
- Whisk ingredients together until smooth (adding slightly more butter if needed). The truffle mixture should be smooth but fairly thick.
- Taste the truffle mixture and make any desired adjustments (extracts, syrup, etc).
- Use a spoon to scoop out the thick truffle mixture and place it into the silicone heart molds pushing the chocolate down (compressing it) as you go along. Use a spreader or knife to smooth out the back.
- Place heart mold/s in the fridge for approximately one hour to allow the hearts to firm up. (You could also place in freezer for about 20 minutes but be careful not to freeze/burn).
- Gently unmold the hearts.
- These chocolate truffle hearts do best stored in the fridge.
2) In their pure form, cacao and cocoa powder are used interchangeably to refer to the basic powder made from whole, roasted cacao beans that have been ground up. The powder itself contains very little fat and no added sugar. This is not to be confused with the more common commercial cocoa powder used to make hot chocolate which is processed and sweetened. You can find natural cacao and cocoa powder at health food stores and many large grocery stores.
3) If you are new to coconut butter, it is the pureed pulp/meat of the coconut - unlike coconut oil (which is extracted and separated from the pulp of the coconut), the butter retains its native fiber content.
4) Coconut butter, like all saturated fats, is generally solid at room temperature. Coconut butter is a little trickier than coconut oil to melt. The butter's texture varies considerably and it also burns easily. I do not recommend melting coconut butter in the microwave. The water bath method (double-boiler) is a gentler method (a warm but not hot oven might also do the trick). If you wish to keep these truffles 'raw' you can simply heat the coconut oil over a bowl of hot water (using the double-boiler method) and gently coax it along until it melts -- as opposed to heating more rigorously (and at a higher temperature) on the stove top.
5) I prefer chocolate (and desserts generally) on the mildly sweet side - the vanilla and mint add wonderful taste but you can also modify the maple syrup quantity to suit your taste.