Here in the Brew Room there is a fairly continuous bubbling of lotions and potions – all largely produced largely from locally and ethically sourced ingredients. We spend a fair amount of time delving into old herbals and recipes to inform our creations. A delicious sample appropriate for a healthy Valentine’s Chocolate Truffle treat follows….
The following combination builds on a standard chocolate truffle recipe but with magical incorporation of ingredients which not only evoke the season, but also benefit the digestive system and the heart, build up the immune system and provide a virtual hug in each glorious bite. The sugar content is minimal and the ingredient choice can cater to a vegan diet. The nutritional value of cacao (theobroma cacao) and dark chocolate is well researched but here we are highlighting the antioxidant action and high proportion of healthy fats, magnesium, copper and iron. All good during cold spells where exhaustion can become an issue.
The choice of chocolate strength is very personal and I have chosen 85% dark to counteract the sweetness from the cinnamon, richness of the coconut cream and to balance out the spicy notes from chilli and cardamom. If you prefer a sweeter note, then using a lighter chocolate combined with antioxidant rich dried berries, or coat the truffle with white chocolate. The options are endless and creativity is definitely a must.
As far as the liquor is concerned, this can be replaced with a good quality vanilla paste (a tsp will suffice), but the addition of the wildcrafted hips & haws elixir (between 2 – 3 tbsp) provides depth and punch to the flavour whilst adding beneficial components for the heart and immune system. I recommend eating at least two truffles a day….
Herbal Truffles with Hips and Haws Elixir
First infusion: 250g dark chocolate or 50/50 mix cacao/dark chocolate, Heaped tsp cinnamon powder, Pinch of sea salt, Seeds removed from 8 cardamom pods
Second infusion; 150ml full fat coconut milk or single cream,Pinch of rose petals (strain out before adding to the chocolate infusion
Coating Ginger powder, orange zest and caster sugar for dusting
The key here is to heat both the chocolate and creams separately and very slowly with their respective infusion materials in bains-marie. This usually takes around 15mins. Then add the cream to the chocolate, blend and trickle in the liquor/elixir. The amount is variable (between 2 – 3 tbsp) but we want a consistency of unwhipped double cream at this stage. Once combined, the bowl can be popped in the fridge for a short period until starting to thicken. This phase does not take long. Once it is semi soft and malleable, make Malteser size balls and roll in the sprinkled coating mix. Keep in the refrigerator and take out 30mins before eating