Here are some ways to design your own truffles.
Notes on fruits –
When trading out dried fruits, if they are “dry” to the feel and not “moist” out of the package, they’ll need to be soaked before using.
The amount of dates will always remain the same, when we refer to trading out dried fruits, it’s the fruit we are using as the flavour in the truffle. The dates are a sweetener and also give us a lovely consistency.
Stick to using only dried fruits here, not fresh. Fresh fruits have a high water content, which means they’ll make the truffles very soft and shorten the “shelf”life of them.
You can use freeze dried fruits, they’re lovely and bright, but you’ll then need to add more dates in order to keep the truffle moist enough, as freeze dried fruits will thicken the mixture when they absorb the moisture in it.
Stick to using sticky, sweet dried fruits as listed below. Using fruits like peaches, pears and apples will result in a less rich, flavourful truffle as these fruits don’t turn to paste like sticky fruits do and they don’t carry as much flavour through the chocolate.
Dried Fruits –
Apricots – Figs – Cherries – Blueberries – Mulberries – Dates – Raisins – Mango
Nut / Seed Butters –
Almond – Pecan – Tahini – Pumpkin – Hazelnut – Cashew – Brazil – Mixed Butters – Coconut Butter – Pistachio – Peanut
Notes on nut / seed butters –
If you are using the butter from the bottom of a jar, the oils will be mostly gone and the resulting butter will be very thick. In this case, you’ll need to adjust the recipe by adding some more date paste and, perhaps, cacao paste to keep the truffles silky and smooth.
This is the same for homemade, not stone ground, butters. They are thicker when freshly made and the oils release and rise to the top over the course of a week or so.
Pair your butter of choice with a fruit that suits it well. For ideas on pairings, have a look in the Flavour Bible or do a Google search for your proposed combo, such as, “Pecan and Apricots” and see what comes back.
Cinnamon – Nutmeg – Cloves – Cardamom – Star Anise – Vanilla – Allspice – Ginger – Cumin – Cayenne – Chipotle – Ground coffee
Peppermint – Lavender – Rose – Lemon – Cardamom – Orange – Star Anise – Lemongrass – Cumin – Black Pepper
Notes on essential oils and spices –
The same note applies for flavour pairing as when combining nuts and dried fruits. Do a search online or in the Flavor Bible to get some good ideas.
You can find essential oils “made for internal use” but I have used any essential oils in food for several years and I’m fine… I hope I’m fine 🙂 Brands like Doterra and Young Living are medical grade and are “prescribed” for internal use.
Get the best quality of essential oils and spices that you can afford, it makes all the difference. The bulk section in health food stores can tend to have really good stuff. In the UK Steenbergs is amazing quality. In the USA Whole Foods brand is really good stuff, from what I am tried.
The general cooking rule applies here; You can always add, you can’t take away. Add a little at a time, taste and add more as needed or wanted.
This recipe and tutorial was written by Amy Levin, you can check out her website, including her live classes here.