I was at Bulk Barn last week to pick up hemp seeds and I left with various red and pink mini cupcake liners, dried cherries, red heart tins, hearts on a stick, and V-Day heart tags. You know, baking “construction materials”. Gag me. I tell ya, I embarrass myself sometimes. Oh, and I forgot the hemp seeds.
I don’t even remember what I wanted hemp for anyways.
It’s all about the dried tart cherries right now. They taste like fruit roll-ups…but better.
I rarely think to pair cherries and chocolate throughout the year, but once February hits, it’s all I can think about. I also like to add a touch of almond extract to take cherry recipes over the top. Almond extract brings me back to my childhood when I used to eat cherry almond icebox cookies around the holidays. There’s just something about the scent that is so comforting to me.
I decided to make a cherry truffle based off my Chocolate Macaroon truffles. The best part is you can freeze the truffles ahead of time. The worst part is, they taste best straight from the freezer.
So if you are like me and think, “oh if I put them in the freezer I won’t eat them all!”… think again. I’m not a miracle worker here.
A freezer will not stand in the way of a girl and her truffles! I wouldn’t stand for it.
[Despite my best efforts to be a food stylist, I just noticed the chocolate chips and cherries look a bit like rodent droppings on the dinner table. Now that’s romantic!]
Dark Chocolate Cherry Walnut Truffles
Similar to my Chocolate Macaroon Truffles, but with a slight tart cherry flavour, hint of almond extract, and walnut crunch. To make the truffles, I soaked and blended dried tart cherries with a bit of sweetener (my immersion blender mini processor worked great for this) and folded it into the truffle mixture with a touch of almond extract. To dress them up for Valentine’s Day, roll the truffles in pink-dyed shredded coconut. Be sure to use a great tasting chocolate here for the best outcome.
Yield: 23-24 truffles
- 1 cup walnut halves, finely chopped and toasted
- 1 cup dried tart cherries
- 2 tbsp agave nectar (or other liquid sweetener)
- 1.5 cups of your favourite vegan chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk (use the cream from the top of the can)
- 1/4-1/2 tsp kosher salt, to taste (I used 1/2 tsp)
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
- 12 drops red food colouring
1. Preheat the oven to 325F and toast the chopped walnuts for 12 minutes. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, soak the cherries in a bowl of water for about 10 minutes. Drain and add to food processor (or mini immersion processor like I used) along with 2 tbsp agave or other sweetener. Process until finely chopped.
3. In a medium-sized pot, heat the chocolate chips over low heat, stirring as necessary. Add in the coconut milk and stir well. Add toasted walnuts, cherry mixture, and almond extract. Stir again until combined. Now add the kosher salt to taste. The salt should give the sweetness a bit of a pop. Add a touch more sweetener if necessary to achieve your desired taste.
4. Spoon the truffle mixture into a bowl and place in the freezer, uncovered, for 90 minutes, stirring every half hour. After 90 mins, stir again and transfer bowl to the fridge for another 20 minutes until chocolate is firm and workable.
5. In a small bowl, mix together the coconut and food colouring until pink. When the truffle mixture is firm enough to handle, roll into small balls (you can use wet fingers if necessary- it will be very sticky!) and then roll into coconut mixture until you have about 23 balls. Store in an air-tight container in the freezer or fridge (they will become very soft at room temperature). They should keep for a couple weeks in the freezer in an air-tight container. I like to place mine in a baggy first, then in a container, to prevent freezer burn.
Pack them up in a heart-shaped tin and you have yourself a bite-sized Valentine’s Day gift.
No hemp seeds required.