Learn to make vegan decadent Peppermint Hot Chocolate Truffles with this recipe and by attending an upcoming Holiday Chocolate Truffle-Making & Self Care workshop with Natasha Gayl and yours truly at Hall.
Baking for others is my personal form of therapy, and truffles are my favorite treat to make. I started making chocolate truffles as an undergraduate in college, when I had free range of my parents’ always-stocked kitchen just across town. Due to my special guest access, I didn’t feel anywhere near the same financial strain with baking that I do as a real world adult. However, because of my demanding schedule studying pre-med curriculum, running competitively, and working as a research assistant in a lab, time was frequently a limiting reagent. Yet even more constraining than time was calories. Eating – or choosing not to – was the one way that I could fully control my success as a self-disciplined student and an aerodynamic athlete.
Baking dense and decadent vegan treats was the one exception to the strict lines that I drew in my life. By choosing to frequently forgo tasting the final product, I convinced myself that I was not truly cheating on my sense of self-control. I would bake batches upon batches of desserts for family members and friends and treat myself to the dishes – the melted chocolate-covered spoon, the thick batter that lined the edges of the bowl, the last chunk (or two or five) of dough on the cutting board that wasn’t quite big enough to mold into a cookie.
After one too many stomach aches, I finally realized that my self-care routine wasn’t helping myself or others. My digestive system revolted against the gooey batter that I habitually ingested, and my baked goods were only half-decent. I was perpetually clueless on how to improve my treats by not taking a taste of the end result.
It wasn’t until I shook off my extreme self-control that I was able to make my truffles taste like gold. I eventually realized that I deserved better than the batter. I worked hard as a student, as an athlete, as a researcher, as a daughter, and as a truffle-maker. My efforts merited my indulgence both in my baked goods and in all the pleasures of life. Instead of giving all the fruits of my labor away, I turned the tables on my baking strategy. I started donating one or two chocolate truffles per batch to friends and freezing the remaining 18 or so to savor for dessert one day at a time. Bite by bite, I retrained myself to feel worthy of eating, of enjoying, of indulging in life.
Just as my approach to life evolved over time, so too did my recipe for truffles. After many renditions, I replaced sugary vegan cookie crumbs with ground nuts for a Ferrero Rocher-esque, real food taste. I upgraded my chocolate to higher and higher quality until settling on Taza for the stone-ground exterior layer. I changed my plastic-y sprinkles on top to sweet coconut flakes. And in this most recent batch, I’ve substituted peppermint extract with ever-potent and sustainably-sourced doTERRA essential oil.
Now I pass on the baton to you to make, taste, and adapt this holiday treat. Take the directions as guidance from a friend rather than strict guidelines, but if there is one step to follow to perfection, it’s this: ENJOY.
(Makes 21, takes about 1 hour of active baking)
2 cup walnuts
1 cup Enjoy Life vegan chocolate chips
¼ cup soymilk
1 microdroplet doTERRA peppermint essential oil
1+ bars Taza stone ground chocolate
¼ cup coconut flakes
Grind walnuts in a blender or food processor until they come to a smooth consistency. A few small, crunchy pieces should remain for a nutty final texture.
Caramelize your dates by coating with soymilk in a small saucepan on a low to medium heat. Stir continuously for about 10 minutes or until the dates are combined into a smooth, caramel texture.
Melt your chocolate chips using the “double boiler method”: place a small, heat-proof bowl of chocolate chips atop a small saucepan of water on high to medium until the water begins to boil. When the chocolate begins to melt, turn the saucepan down to a low heat, and stir the chocolate until it is evenly melted.
In a large bowl, combine the ground walnuts, melted chocolate, and caramelized dates.
Add doTERRA peppermint essential oil to the mixture, using the “microdroplet method”: place a drop of peppermint oil onto the blade of a knife, and allow a tiny drop to fall off the blade and into the mixture. This technique will prevent you from accidentally dropping too much oil into the mixture (it’s very potent!).
Mix the truffle batter until it forms a chocolate Powerbar consistency (do you remember those?!).
Using your hands, roll the truffle batter into 21 ping-pong-sized balls and place onto a cookie sheet.
Use the double-boiler method to melt your bar (or two, depending on how thick you like your outer layer) of Taza chocolate.
Coat the ping-pong truffle balls with chocolate, using a spoon.
Before the chocolate dries, sprinkle coconut flakes on top.
Freeze for at least 30 minutes before touching the truffles.
Either eat your truffles immediately or continue to freeze in an airtight container until you’re ready to eat them.