Thank you so much for your outpouring of kind words about the loss of Gracie. Reading all of your comments and emails yesterday made the first full day without her easier to face. I’m so grateful!
As promised, here are the truffles! Maybe it’s because Gracie joined our family on Valentine’s Day (almost 13 years ago to the day…), but Gracie certainly had a keen eye for any chocolate that was within her reach. One time in her puppyhood, she ate a fun-sized candy bar, wrapper and all, and never got sick. Last summer, she downed an entire full-sized bar of organic Chocolove, leaving the wrapper in shreds behind. Her chocolate craving got the better of her and sent her straight to the vet for an emergency stomach pumping treatment. Despite the drama, she still had a nose for all things chocolate afterwards. What a dog. Sheesh!
I’ve been sitting on this recipe for almost a month, just waiting until the week of Valentine’s Day to set it loose. If you want a soft and chewy and oh-so-chocolaty treat to enjoy come V-Day, this is the truffle for you.
I promise they taste indulgent and rich, but get this: these truffles are gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free, and vegan. Whew, that’s a mouthful.
You may want to invite a bunch of friends over after you make these, because when you see them every time you open the refrigerator, you may not be able to resist! Because of their richness, though, I find just one to be pretty satisfying…so maybe you’ll be able to stretch them to last a few days. Maybe.
Truffles are notoriously messy and a bit tricky to make, but if you follow this recipe just as I’ve outlined, I don’t think you’ll find these to be too difficult. Using a food processor to make the truffle filling takes so much work out of the process. With the push of a button you have gorgeous, chocolaty truffle filling in mere seconds.
To avoid refined sugar, I make my own chocolate coating for these truffles. It’s a simple ganache-like coating that is so creamy and divine! But work with it quickly otherwise it will begin to set up and won’t coat the truffle balls as easily. You don’t have to rush, just don’t dilly-dally when it comes to dipping the truffles.
When you’re trying to make a chocolate truffle out of whole ingredients, it’s tough to come up with a nut-free recipe…at least it was for me. Ingredients like ground walnuts or pecans, almond flour, and almond milk are so useful for sweet no-bake treats. But I’m happy to say that these truffles are nut-free thanks to our lovely pal sunflower seed butter. Please read the ingredient note at the end of the recipe where I mention the brand that I use and how to adapt this recipe to other brands of nut or seed butter.
A few tips for you eager truffle-makers:
- Use high quality ingredients. In other words, don’t cut corners and buy the cheap-o chocolate. If you want these truffles to taste every bit as good as something you’d buy in a fine chocolate shop, then you must start with pure, high quality ingredients.
- Have patience. Making truffles is a fun, albeit somewhat time-consuming, experience. Approach it leisurely and with great respect for the art of chocolatiering. How do you do this? I’ll tell you what I do: I crank up the Chocolat soundtrack, tie on my cutest apron, and imagine I’m in some quaint French cottage preparing truffles for my fellow villagers. Be an artist in the kitchen!
- Move with efficiency. Don’t take the dog out halfway through dipping your truffles or stop midway to fold the laundry. Once you start, move right along and finish as quickly as possible.
That’s about it, then. Let’s make truffles!
Nut-Free Dark Chocolate Truffles
Soft and chewy dark chocolate truffles that are gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free, and vegan!
For the filling:
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped (preferably organic)
1 tablespoon honey or Grade B maple syrup
1/2 cup (packed) pitted Medjool dates
1/3 cup natural unsweetened sunflower seed butter (see note below)
2 tablespoons canned coconut milk (full fat)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
For the coating:
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped (preferably organic)
3 tablespoons honey or Grade B maple syrup
1/4 cup canned coconut milk (full fat)
Make the filling: place the 1 ounce chocolate and 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup in a small pot set over very low heat. Stir constantly until just melted and smooth. Transfer to a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the remaining filling ingredients. Process until the mixture forms a ball. Break up the ball with a rubber spatula and process until it forms a ball again. Do this one more time.
The filling “dough” should be slightly tacky but not too sticky to handle. Divide the ball of dough into 4 equal pieces. Divide each piece in half, forming 8 pieces. Form 2 small balls out of each piece, yielding 16 truffle balls total. Place the balls on a parchment-lined plate or baking sheet and freeze for at least 10 minutes while you make the coating.
In a small pot over very low heat, combine all of the coating ingredients. Stir constantly until just melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Working quickly, roll the truffle balls in the coating, placing them back on the parchment-lined baking sheet as they are done. Working quickly is important, as the coating will begin to firm up and become “goopy” if you dilly dally.
If desired, sprinkle the tops of the truffles with sea salt. Freeze or refrigerate until set. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.
Ingredient Note: The sunflower seed butter that I use is organic and unsweetened from Once Again. I get it at my co-op. It has a thick consistency close to that of chilled peanut butter. Ideally, use a nut/seed butter for this recipe that is spreadable, not pourable. Some brands of nut/seed butter are runnier than others. If your brand is more on the runny side (pourable), use 1/4 cup instead of 1/3 cup. You can always add a little more later, but you don’t want your filling mixture to be too soft to work with. (If it is, put it in the refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes to help firm it up before you roll it into balls.)