These chocolates are a good option if you are looking for a fancy and grown up Easter treat to bring to a family gathering. Don't get me wrong, I do like chocolate bunnies and eggs, and here are quite a few proofs: my first Easter cake, these vanilla cupcakes with chocolate eggs on top, or that time I was in full choco-beast mode and made these luscious Millionaire's Banofee Tarts and my vanilla cupcakes with a super creamy avocado chocolate frosting from last year...yep, these ones were also decorated with cute bunny and egg toppers.
So I felt a little rebel this time and thought about making something chocolaty (Easter = chocolate overdose) yet different from what I've done in the past. Plus it was the perfect excuse to finally use my new chocolate molds.
Wish I could have more time to make a second Easter recipe but my mom's birthday is in four days and still haven't decided what kind of cake I will bake to surprise her, one thing's for sure: there will be an almost indecent amount of chocolate.
Let's talk about the fillings I made for these chocolates. I adapted two of my favorite ganache and filling recipes: the first one is a vegan 'Dulce de Leche', the original recipe is a chocolaty version of this classic caramelized milk and it's from Fran Costigan's cookbook 'Vegan Chocolate'. I simply omitted the last two ingredients (dark chocolate and vanilla) in order to make it look more like a toffee sauce. It's so creamy and delicious! Tip: if you aren't planning to make a big batch of chocolates keep in mind that there will be plenty of Dulce de Leche leftover, use it for waffles, pancakes or ice creams...do not throw it away! It will last for up to two weeks in a covered jar in the refrigerator.
The other filling is an orange chocolate ganache: an adapted version of the delicious Rich Chocolate Ganache Topping from Isa Chandra's and Terry Hope's cookbook 'Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World'. If you let this ganache set in the fridge overnight it will get firm and with a texture very similar to truffles. By the way, I also made some small truffles with the leftover ganache, so deliciously creamy that they are disappearing very quickly!
Receta en español aquí!
(Yield: 30 chocolates, 15 salted caramel chocolates and 15 orange ganache chocolates)
- For the chocolates:
300 g/10 oz dark chocolate (70 %).
- For the salted caramel filling:
1 can full-fat coconut milk (400 ml/14 oz approximately).
1/2 cup coconut sugar.
1 tablespoon agave syrup.
1/4 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt.
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum.*
- For the orange ganache:
1/4 cup soy milk.
113 g/4 oz dark chocolate, chopped.
2 tablespoons maple syrup.
2 drops orange essential oil.
*Use 1/8 teaspoon of xanthan gum if your coconut milk already contains some thickening agent like guar gum. If not, add 1/4 teaspoon of xantham gum to thicken the sauce.
I recommend making the fillings the day before so they set overnight and get firm enough to fill the chocolates.
- To make the salted caramel filling:
Combine the coconut milk, sugar, agave syrup, salt, and xanthan gum in a blender. Start blending on low and increase the speed to high. Blend for 1 minute until the sugar is disolved.
Pour into a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally just until the mixture begins to bubble.
Raise the heat to high and stir constantly until the mixture starts to boil furiously. Stir frequently for 10 minutes, adjusting the heat up or down as necessary to mantain a steady boil.
Once the mixture has reduced, let it cool at room temperature and then pour into a clean jar. Cover and refrigerate overnight. It will last up to two weeks in the fridge.
- To make the orange ganache filling:
Bring the soy milk to a gentle boil in a small saucepan. Immediately remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate and maple syrup. Use a heatproof silicone spatula to mix the chocolate until it is fully melted and smooth. Stir in the orange essential oil. Set aside at room temperature until cold and refrigerate overnight.
- To make the chocolates:
Temper the chocolate:
When we are using chocolate for coating, such as when making truffles and confectionery the tempering method makes it look more glossy and helps to prevent the chocolate from quickly melting when we are touching the chocolates, truffles or bars. Tempering chocolate might seem a little tricky the first time and it does require some precision, a good sugar thermometer and patience. Don't get mad if at first you don't succeed (it took me several times to nail it), if your chocolate begins to harden or thickens too quickly while filling the molds then melt it again using the double boiler method.
The easiest way to temper small amounts of chocolate at home is called the 'seeding' method, which involves stirring unmelted chocolate into melting chocolate that has been heated to 45 ºC (113 ºF).
To temper 300 g (10 oz) chocolate, first chop 200 g of it and finely grate or chop the remaining 100 g. Place the 200 g of chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water until melted, making sure that the bottom of the bowl is not in contact with the hot water. Use the sugar thermometer to check the temperature of the chocolate. When it has reached 45 º C, remove from the heat and stir in the 100g finely grated chocolate. Keep stirring until the temperature of the mixture drops to 28 ºC. Set the bowl over the pan of gently simmering water again and heat to 31 ºC. The chocolate is now tempered and ready for use.
Fill the molds:
Pour a little of the couverture into each chocolate mould (30 chocolates in total), then turn them upside down so that the insides are fully coated and the excess drips out. Wipe off any chocolate from around the edges of the moulds. Chill until set.
Fill 15 chocolates with the salted caramel sauce until they are almost filled to the top. Give the moulds a shake to even the surface of the filling. Chill again, then cover the filling with more of the tempered chocolate. Quickly smooth the surface with a palette knife.
Fill the other 15 chocolates with the orange ganache and repeat the process above. The quantity of ganache that you should use will depend on the type of mold and its shape. I would recommend though to drop about 1/4 teaspoon of ganache per chocolate.
Leave the chocolates in the fridge to set, then release them from their moulds.