Saturday, November 15, 2008

How to Roast Chestnuts

Roasting chestnuts is easy and fast. All you need are chestnuts, a knife, and an oven.
  1. Heat your oven to 425 degrees
  2. Take your chestnuts and cut an 'x' on one side of them
  3. Roast them in the oven for 15-20 min
  4. Peel while warm- it becomes harder when the chestnuts have completely cooled
  5. Eat chestnuts as is, or use in a recipe

Dairy-free Chestnut Spice Tuffles

This is a tasty seasonal treat that's celiac friendly. Yields about 18 truffles.

1/2 lb coverture
1 1/2 T agave nectar
2 tsp orange blossom honey
6 shakes nutmeg powder (I was out, so I used allspice instead)
2 shakes clove powder
1 shake ginger powder
1 T cacao nibs
6-7 medium sized chestnuts, roasted and chopped

  1. Temper chocolate
  2. Stir together all ingredients, except chestnuts, until it reaches truffle consistency
  3. Roll out each truffle and dip all sides except one in chopped chestnuts
  4. After truffles have been rolled and dipped, pour a drop of orange blossom honey on each and sprinkle a little bit of nutmeg and/or clove powder on top
  5. Let sit until hardened, do not refrigerate

Tader Joe's Chocolate

Sorry it's been so long since there's been a post, but with school in full gear there just hasn't been much time for chocolate making. There has been lot's of time for chocolate eating though. If you're craving some chocolate and there's a Trade Joe's neaby, I suggest you check out their chocolate covered almonds.

I love the Black Cocoa Almonds, they're dark chocolate dipped almonds rolled in black cocoa. Simple but ridiculously tasty.

My favorite, which I've nicknamed "little ogasms," are the Dark Chocolate Almonds, that are dipped in Belgian chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt and tubinado sugar.

Enjoy, because both are phenomonal and hit the spot when you're in serious need of some chocolate.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Dairy-free Dark Chocolate Honey Truffles

These truffles are as easy to make as the Vegan Agave Honey Truffles. The only difference is, they use honey instead of agave. These are celiac friendly.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and when it reaches about 110 degrees mix in a little bit of honey and add more as needed. Stir for about two minutes and you get frosting, mix for about 7 minutes and you get truffles. You'll know you're ready to roll them when the chocolate is not smooth and has a dull sheen (it will look a little like charcoal). Then, roll a blob of chocolate into a ball. Roll the ball in the cocoa powder/sea salt mixture. We used a combo of clover honey and wildflower honey. We rolled some of them in crushed pistachios, then cocoa powder and sea salt. For the majority of the truffles, we rolled them in a combo of cocoa powder, sea salt, and bee pollen. You can add other things like black sesame powder, other crushed nuts, turbinado sugar, etc. If you leave them covered over night, they will firm up a little. If you eat them right away- which really who can resist eating a few fresh ones- they will have a tendency to stick to your mouth. Do not put in the refridgerator, they will get too hard.

  • 1/4 lb Coverture
  • 2 T to 1/4 c Honey
  • 1/4 c cocoa powder
  • salt to taste

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Cacao and Chocolate Making

This is a picture of a cacao tree with cacao pods. Cacao pods contain cacao beans, that magical food from whence comes chocolate. I took this picture in Costa Rica at a small cacao plantation.

After the cacao beans have been dried, roasted, and de-hulled, they are crushed into cacao nibs. After that, the beans are ground into a liquid that is called coverture or chocolate liquor. This is pure chocolate. It is unsweetened and bitter. Coverture can be used for confection making, baking, or anything else you wish to use it for. You can also add things to it, like sugar or flavorings. This is a very short explanation of the chocolate making process and skips many different steps that are used in chocolate farming and factories. Since most chocolate is grown in countries that are not industrialized, many big companies don't have rigorous standards for chocolate production, especially in regards to the human labor (including child labor) responsible for harvesting and handling this magical bean. That is why it is important to be conscious of the types of companies you buy your chocolate from. For more information on fair trade chocolate, visit For more information on fair trade in general, visit

Vegan Chocolate Agave Truffles

For the innaugural recipe we present Vegan Chocolate Agave Truffles. For this recipe we don't have exact measurements. These morsels are vegan and celiac friendly.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and when it reaches about 110 degrees add about 1 T agave nectar and add more as needed. Stir vigorously until the chocolate looks kind of grainy and doesn't stick together. Then, take about a gumball sized amount of chocolate and roll or mush it together. Roll the ball in the cocoa powder and salt mixture. These truffles were rolled in Sudan Dutch cocoa powder and sea salt. Instead of salt you can add other things like black sesame seed powder, turbinado sugar, crushed nuts, etc. Leave them covered overnight and they will firm up a little. Do not put into the refridgerator, they will get too hard.

  • 1/2 lb coverture
  • 1 T to 1/4 c agave nectar
  • 1/4 c cocoa powder
  • salt to taste