I’ve been good for a while so I think it’s time for a little indulgence, guys! A while ago a friend challenged me to make a vegan version of Ferrero Rocher truffles. I am a big fan of both chocolate and hazelnuts so my hand really didn’t need much twisting. As it turned out, these were quite simple to make and they went down a storm with everybody – they are a perfect accompaniment to an afternoon espresso, which is something of a ritual in our house.
Be warned though, these truffles are not the ‘healthy’, sweet but slimming kind of dessert – there are no dates, raw cacao powder or coconut oil in sight, sorry! These puppies are based on two simple components: quality (70% cacao) dark chocolate and 100% hazelnut butter. I make nut butter myself from hazelnuts in my food processor (here is how) but you can definitely buy it in a health food store too. I make mine out of roasted hazelnuts, which makes the butter more potent and fragrant so, if you are buying yours, I would encourage you to go for roasted nut butter as opposed to the raw kind.
So what we have is chocolate hazelnut ganache as a base, which is rolled into truffles around a single roasted hazelnut and then rolled in finely chopped hazelnuts. It couldn’t be easier! Six ingredients, slightly messy hands and you have rolled yourself little bites of chocolatey and hazelnutty heaven!
- 150 g / 5.3 oz vegan dark chocolate*(70% cacao)
- 150 ml / ½ cup + 2 tbsp full fat coconut milk
- 60 ml / ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1-2 tsp instant coffee (or a generous pinch of fine sea salt) to reinforce the chocolate flavour
- 180 ml / ¾ cup all natural smooth hazelnut butter (I make my own)
- 150 g / 1 cup roasted hazelnuts**
- a few drops of hazelnut extract or vanilla extract (optional)
- Chop your chocolate roughly – I tend to whack an unopened packet against my workbench to break it up. Place the broken-up chocolate in a glass bowl over a water bath and melt very slowly (I use setting 1 out of 6). Once the chocolate has melted, remove it from the heat, but keep the bowl over the hot water.
- As the chocolate is melting, place the coconut milk in a small pot and warm it up a little bit. Dissolve the instant coffee in the warmed-up milk. I went for 2 tsp of instant coffee to get a hint of coffee in the truffles. If you don’t want to taste coffee, go for 1 tsp instead – this will simply bring out the chocolate flavour more.
- Slowly add warm coconut milk to the melted chocolate. If it seizes (chocolate becomes grainy and hard), don’t worry, it happens sometimes but as we are essentially making a ganache here, that’s no problem. Just keep on adding milk and whisking at the same time. At some point the chocolate will return to its glossy and runny state.
- Whisk in the maple syrup and finally the hazelnut butter. If you happen to have hazelnut (or vanilla extract), add a few drops (you could use both!), but I also made a batch without them and, while they deepen the flavour, they are totally optional.
- Let the mixture come to room temperature and place in the fridge overnight for it to harden.
- Before taking the mixture out of the fridge, put aside at least 20 (22 to be safe) hazelnuts and chop the rest quite finely. Spread the chopped hazelnuts on a tray or clean baking sheet.
- Scoop portions of the mixture. Use kitchen scales to measure out equal sized portions of the mixture first or just eyeball the portions if you don’t have kitchen scales. Flatten each portion in the palm of your hand, place a hazelnut in the middle and then close the truffle mixture around the hazelnut. Quickly roll between the palms of your hands (that’s one area where permanently cold hands help a lot) and then coat the truffle in the chopped hazelnuts. I recommend working in small batches as the mixture will get messier to work with the longer it sits around. Transfer ¼ of the mixture to a chilled bowl and place the rest of the mixture in the freezer while you roll the first 5 truffles. Proceed in the same way with the remaining ¾ of the mixture.
- Store in an air-tight container, in the fridge. These truffles should keep for 5-7 days.
**If you cannot find roasted hazelnuts, roast them in the oven at approx. 180° C / 350° F for 6-10 minutes. For full instructions, see this recipe.