I have to admit – I am ambivalent about Valentine’s Day.
On one hand, getting showered with chocolate and flowers and a reservation at a fancy restaurant seems like an unequivocally wonderful thing. But if in reality it means treats full of refined sugars and artificial ingredients, wilted roses with obscene price tags and squeezing into a tiny table at an overbooked bistro, isn’t that a pretty low bar for romance?
My husband and I usually pass on the big gestures in favour of a simpler evening. This year we’ll tuck into a favourite home-cooked meal, a stellar bottle of pinot noir that we’ve been saving and some nourishing chocolates with a little heat to ring in the holiday right.
These spicy chocolate truffles give me nothing to be ambivalent about – they’re dark and decadent, with a nice kick that is warming from the inside out (an especially welcome surprise during this chilly time of year in Canada!). Best of all, they’re made from whole food ingredients and are full of antioxidants, good fats, and essential vitamins and minerals like iron, magnesium, selenium, beta-carotene, copper and manganese. Dark chocolate, coconut oil, raw honey and cayenne pepper join forces to pack a pretty impressive healthy punch . They’re even vegan! Though often truffles are dusted with cocoa powder (or sometimes coconut shreds) to finish, I chose to roll these in hemp hearts to give them a little extra protein and omega-3s. Take that, drugstore chocolate boxes!
(All this to justify that we ate the entire batch in one sitting the day before Valentine’s Day. Good thing I wrote down the recipe. Happy holiday, all!)
- 80 g of 100% baking chocolate
- 25 g dark chocolate chips (Enjoy Life or Cocoa Camino)
- 75 g coconut milk (the thicker part in the can)
- 25 g coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp raw honey
- 1/2- 1 tsp powdered cayenne pepper
- tiny pinch sea salt
- 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 4-5 Tbsp hemp hearts
- Chop the baking chocolate and chocolate chips finely. Pour boiling water into a bowl for 15 sec to warm it. Dump the water, dry the bowl, and add the chocolate and cocoa powder.
- Heat the coconut milk and coconut oil over low heat until just before it starts to boil. Add in the vanilla extract at the last second, give a quick stir, and pour the hot liquid over top of the chocolate.
- Stir gently with a spatula until the chocolate has melted, and add in the honey, salt and 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper. Taste test and add the extra cayenne pepper if like me you like the heat! If it’s not sweet enough for you, add 1 tsp of cane sugar or extra honey and taste test again.
- Put the mixture into the fridge for about one hour, or until it is cool, but not solid yet.
- Sprinkle hemp hearts onto a cutting board and roll balls of the chocolate in it to coat. Store in the fridge, but let them sit out for a few minutes before serving.
Makes about 15-20 truffles, depending on size.