For me, Valentine’s Day has gotten an exciting, fresh breath of air since we have a little, cute person celebrating it with us now. Decorating, making (and receiving) Valentines, and creating treats to give to our loves, we’ve had so much fun surrounding ourselves with hearts, red, and pink this last week. This truffle recipe has become a Valentine’s tradition in our house (along with s’mores brownies) since I created it a few years ago for a gluten-free class I was teaching in New York. And this year I finally got to make them with Deacon.
So creamy, dairy-free, healthy, and easy. With the combined strengths of antioxidant-loaded dark chocolate and healthy, fatty coconut oil, these truffles are a thumbs up. Extra virgin coconut oil is one of my favorite fats to use in the kitchen (along with organic grass-fed butter, extra virgin olive oil, and a few other unrefined oils). Coconut oil is nice and saturated, so it heats safely to high temperatures. It’s loaded with amazing lauric acid, a saturated fatty acid with antimicrobial powers. Perfect for winter – IN the body for cold and flu season and ON the body for a moisturizer. Pick any kind of chocolate you want to limit sugar intake. I used Enjoy Life semi-sweet mini chips.
This recipe is also perfect if you’re just starting to cook with your kids because it doesn’t include any raw eggs or meat and getting messy is pretty much a prerequisite. The only adults-only job is the melting and pouring of the coconut mixture. Once it’s poured over the chocolate, it cools really quickly.
This year we were feeling a little salty-sweet and added sea salt to make a more complex flavor. You can easily leave that out, or you can experiment with other flavors, like orange or lemon using zest, or you can add some finely grated toasted coconut to the truffle mixture.
We covered ours in cocoa powder and toasted shredded coconut (totally reminiscent of a Fanny May Trinidad… Anyone?) I LOVE the crunch of the toasted coconut, but you could also dip them in raw coconut, cocoa powder, chopped nuts… the sky’s the limit. I toast my shredded coconut (not low-fat – it will burn too easily) on the stove top over low-heat stirring constantly until it starts to turn golden and you can smell it. It will cook very quickly, so you have to give it full attention. You could easily put it in the oven at about 300 for about 15-20 minutes, stirring every few minutes, but I prefer the speed and control of the stove top.
After we made them, we packed a few in a sticker-covered box. Then Deacon walked to our neighbor’s, box in hand, and shyly asked her, “Will you be my Valentine, Sam?” We swooned. And then ate truffles.
Happy Valentine’s Day!!
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- ½ cup coconut milk (full fat)
- 9 ounces bittersweet or dark chocolate, either in chips or finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Plain or toasted shredded coconut or other toppings, such as chopped nuts (optional)
- Heat oil and coconut milk in small saucepan, whisking occasionally, until mixture begins to bubble. Place chocolate in a heat proof bowl and pour milk mixture over chocolate. Let sit for two minutes then whisk until all chocolate is melted.** Stir in sea salt. Pour melted chocolate mixture in a shallow dish. Chill in refrigerator for about an hour.
- Using a teaspoon or melon baller, scoop out heaping teaspoons of truffle mixture. Dust hands with cocoa powder and shape into little balls. Place on a parchment-lined tray. Roll in shredded coconut, cocoa powder or topping of choice. Serve immediately or store in airtight container in the refrigerator. If you refrigerate, let them sit out for a few minutes before serving; coconut oil gets very solid in the fridge.
**If chocolate is not completely melted, you can finish melting it in a double boiler. Place bowl with chocolate mixture over pot with a small amount of gently simmering water. Make sure the bowl is bigger than the pot, so that it doesn't fall in. Stir until just melted; DO NOT let chocolate mixture burn.