I have read a lot of detective novels over the past few months. I have made some great discoveries including a new series by a crime writer, Kerry Greenwood. I have previously enjoyed her series about a 1920s flapper detective (Phryne Fisher) and now started on the series about present day baker-cum-detective (Corinna Chapman). The most recent book I read was Heavenly Pleasures. The title is also the name of a chocolate shop and Corinna must find out who is poisoning the chocolate delicacies – although there are messianic complexes, bombs, murders and lost kittens along the way!
I love a novel that lingers lovingly over food and then gives you the recipes at the end. But I want to share with you my favourite lines from the book. Corinna spends a lot of time thinking and talking about chocolates and muses, ‘How had a paste made of crushed cocoa-beans become so important? How had a bitter bean come to mean comfort, reconciliation and kindness?’
It does make you wonder how something so bitter has come to represent such sweet decadence in our lives, something that tastes so good that we don’t demand nutritional benefits from it. But on the weekend I made chocolate truffles that were vegan, gluten free and sugar free! Yet, I am sure Corinna would have melted with gooey delight at the taste.
I got the recipe from Ricki at Diet, Dessert and Dogs, and thought it might be kids party food. I didn’t count on the sophisticated adult depths of flavour. I had to make some minor changes to suit my tastes (wattleseed in preference to coffee) and pantry (I couldn’t find agave despite Ricki’s encouragement so I strayed from the vegan ingredients into the land of honey). The truffles are almost raw food which is also beneficial and easy. A recipe that requires no saucepans or ovens in summer is very welcome indeed!
In the end, despite all the talk of nutrients and health benefits, it is the taste the really matters and these truffles were chock full of it. They are soft, creamy, rich and oh so delicious! I didn’t put them in the fridge, although by the time I had given some to Yarrow and taken some to my parents, there was no danger of them hanging around too long. The feedback was all good, although E found them quite rich.
These truffles even had a mystery to be solved by the tasters. I would challenge anyone to guess they had soy sauce in them. And my problem of finding agave was solved over a coffee on the weekend – Yarrow has pointed me in the direction of the organic grocery on Lygon St in East Brunswick! Corinna Chapman would be pleased at all the detective work!
Wattleseed Cashew Truffles
(adapted from Diet Dessert and Dogs)
1 Tbsp wattleseed (or instant coffee)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. soy sauce (it adds depth of flavor)
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tsp honey (or 3 tsp agave syrup)
1/2 cup cocoa (I used Dutch cocoa)
1/2 cup cashew nut butter
coconut, dried fruit or chopped nuts as desired to mix in or roll truffles in (optional)
Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix. It is a little stiff and you can do it in the food processor if you wish! Take teaspoons of mixture and roll into glossy balls. Roll truffles in coconut (or cocoa or chopped nuts etc). Store in airtight container. Ricki advises to keep in fridge for up to 10 days – if you can keep them that long! I left them out of fridge because I like them soft. Ricki made 15 balls, I made 23.
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