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Monday, December 23, 2013

Last minute Food gifts

Every year, I make a food gift for the holidays to give to my friends at work as well as it is nice to give as a hostess gift for parties this time of year.  This year I made 2 different things and they both ended up being delicious!  There is something delightfully decadent about chocolate and I often make chocolate goodies for the holidays.  This year I decided that I would make chocolate truffles and vegan chocolate coconut fudge.

The chocolate truffles are so easy and people are usually very happy to receive them.  A chocolate ganache, chocolate and cream with or without flavoring and rolled in cocoa.  It's candy making made easy.

The vegan chocolate coconut fudge was a bit more involved but mostly it was just measuring and melting the coconut oil in a pot.  I reduced the amount of maple syrup in the recipe in half and I found that it was still very sweet fudge.  Perhaps, it's because I often find regular fudge to be cloyingly sweet that I reduced it so much.  The strange thing about this recipe is that it said to pour the mixture in a dish but it did not specify what size.  From looking at the mixture in the pan, I decided that a small loaf pan, 3 by 5 by 3 inch was the perfect size for fudge that was a great size for cutting into cubes.  The original recipe called for walnuts, but I wanted to keep my fudge unadulterated.  If you prefer, add nuts or she suggested that you may also like to try dried fruit.   I found that when I started to cut the fudge it crumbled fairly easily.  I think a little more time in the fridge might have helped keep it more firm.

Chocolate Truffles adapted from Ina Garten's Chocolate Truffles recipe
1 cup Heavy cream
1 pound Bittersweet chocolate
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

Chop chocolate finely with a sharp knife and place in a bowl.

Heat cream in a small saucepan until it just boils.  Pour cream through a strainer into the bowl of chocolate.  Whisk mixture together until the chocolate is completely melted.  Whisk in vanilla extract.  Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.

Scoop out teaspoonsful of the chocolate mixture into a bowl full of cocoa and shake the bowl until the truffles are coated in a fine layer with the cocoa.
The gifts all wrapped up!

Vegan Coconut Chocolate Fudge  adapted from the Culinary Life blog
1/2 cup Coconut Oil
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
1/4 cup Maple syrup
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Melt ingredients gently in a pan and pour into plastic lined small loaf pan and allow to cool.

The results:
The chocolate truffles were intensely chocolately.  A few truffles for a gift is enough, as it is quite rich.  I would definitely make these again!  Maybe next time I'll add frangelico and roll in chopped hazelnuts, which I saw Ina make the other day.

The fudge was surprisingly sweeter than I expected considering my reduction in maple syrup.  I think there is something about the coconut oil which inherently tastes sweet as is.  The fudge was delightful, but I might even go further and reduce the maple syrup.

Link to the original Ina Garten Chocolate Truffle recipe:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/chocolate-truffles-recipe2/index.html


Link to the original Vegan Fudge recipe:
http://www.theculinarylife.com/2008/perfect-raw-chocolate-fudge/
http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2013/12/edible-holiday-gift-special-vegan.html

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