The pungent ground ginger cooked into coconut milk to flavor these ultra creamy truffles elicited this comment from my friend Lisa Pitman, an accomplished cook from Toronto: “Not only are these exquisite, they are perfect for sharing when you want to spice things up with a certain someone.” How you spice things up is up to you, but make sure you add enough ground ginger to ensure that at least these truffles are up to the task. Remember: bittersweet chocolate will temper the flavor of the ginger. Using coconut sugar adds a subtle caramel note to the spiciness, but mixing organic granulated sugar and whole cane sugar works just as well. Either way, just follow the recipe carefully and your reward will be luxurious truffles to serve after a meal of vegetable curry.
Spicy Ginger Truffles
Makes about 30 (1-inch / 2.5-cm) truffles
- 8 ounces / 227 grams dark chocolate (68 to 71%), finely chopped
- 3/4 cup / 180 ml unsweetened canned full-fat coconut milk, well-stirred (do not use light)
- 2 tablespoons / 18 grams coconut sugar or 1 tablespoon each organic whole cane sugar (9 grams) and granulated sugar (13 grams)
- 1 tablespoon / 6 grams ground ginger, divided, or more to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml mild tasting extra-virgin olive oil
- Dutch-process cocoa powder, for coating (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon flaked sea salt, for coating, plus more for sprinkling on finished truffles (optional)
- Candied ginger, slivered, for serving (optional)
Set a fine mesh strainer over a heatproof liquid measuring cup for straining the heated milk. Add the chocolate to a heatproof bowl and set aside while you heat the milk.
Pour the milk into a small saucepan. Add the sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons / 3 grams of the ground ginger, and the salt. Cook over medium heat, whisking a few times, to a low boil.
Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat. Cover the saucepan and let the milk sit for 10 minutes to infuse with the flavor of the ginger, stirring a few times. The heat of the ginger should be pronounced, so taste the milk now. If not, add a little more ginger to taste and let the milk infuse another few minutes.
Pour the milk through the strainer into the measuring cup. Discard any solids.
Wash and dry the saucepan. Return the spiced milk to the saucepan and cook over medium heat until small bubbles are visible around the sides.
Pour the hot milk over the chocolate all at once. Gently rotate the bowl so the chocolate is completely submerged. Cover the bowl with a plate and let stand undisturbed for about 4 minutes.
Add the vanilla and olive oil and whisk from the center out only until smooth and glossy.
Keep the bowl of ganache at room temperature while you test the final consistency. A properly made truffle ganache is firm enough to scoop and shape but still tastes creamy. Dip a teaspoon into the ganache, set the coated spoon on a small plate, and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes. After chilling, the ganache on the spoon should be smooth and firm, but still taste creamy. It is unlikely, but if the glaze is too firm, add a tablespoon of room temperature milk and repeat the test. Add a second tablespoon if needed.
Cool the ganache in a shallow dish at room temperature for 30 minutes. (The ganache sets up fastest and most evenly in a 9-inch / 23-cm glass pie pan or similar dish.) Refrigerate uncovered until the surface is no longer soft, then place a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ganache, covering it completely, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until very firm. The ganache can be refrigerated at this point for up to 1 week in an airtight container.
Make The Truffle Centers
Line a shallow container with parchment. Remove the ganache from the refrigerator. Use a spoon to scoop out 1-inch pieces of ganache and another to push the ganache off the spoon into the container. (If you prefer more uniform truffles, use a 1/2 tablespoon scoop.) When a half dozen or so are made, roll and press the pieces into irregularly shaped rounds. Repeat until all the ganache has been used, washing and drying your hands as needed. (If at any time the ganache becomes too soft to shape, refrigerate until cold and proceed.) Cover and refrigerate the truffle centers in layers separated by parchment paper for 15 to 25 minutes before finishing with the cocoa coating.
Finish The Truffles
Choose one of the following three methods to suit your time or taste: roll in cocoa powder, the remaining ginger, and flaked sea salt; coat in melted chocolate and cocoa powder (the hybrid method); or enrobe in tempered chocolate. Place the coated truffles in refrigerator to set for 30 to 45 minutes. Sprinkle the truffles with a pinch of ginger powder and a few grains of flaked sea salt just before serving, or press a small sliver of candied ginger into each.
From Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, © 2013 by Fran Costigan. Photo © Kate Lewis 2013