Coconut Chocolate Truffles

image I often find that after I eat in the evenings I just fancy a little something sweet. In the past, a small square of dark chocolate used to knock out any after-dinner munchies and nowadays a piece of fruit will usually do the trick. I'm not a huge chocoholic but when I do fancy a square or two, it can be hard to find dairy-free chocolate bars that are reasonably priced and not full of sugar or other unfriendly ingredients. So a few months ago I decided to finally give chocolate making a go.

By some wonderful beginners luck, these have to be some of the yummiest chocolates I've had in a long time. I couldn't believe quite how easy and totally delicious the resulting truffles were so I wanted to share them with you. This recipe also provides you with a really simple base, ready for all sorts of experimenting just in time for the run up to Christmas (too soon to mention it I know but after a day of sampling very festive treats, I just can't help it!). I love chilli chocolate so I have included the option to spice things up a little but if you prefer something a little more traditional then I think you will be equally as delighted with the outcome!

I've called them 'truffles' as they set with a slight softness to the centre and they can be a little messy if you let them warm so I would really recommend keeping them in the freezer right until serving. They do look wonderful served after dinner on a pretty board or plate or just eaten more casually out of tiny cupcake holders! If you don't have a chocolate mould, a soft ice cube tray is perfect and usually you can find them in cute shapes. Alternatively, tiny cupcake papers work really well - the thicker metallic ones are best.

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Ingredients (makes about 15-20 small chocolates)

6 tablespoons of raw cacao powder

100g of raw cacao butter

2 tablespoons of maple syrup

1 small pinch of pink Himalayan salt

1 small pinch of chilli flakes/powder (optional)

Place a small pan of water on the hop on a low heat. Then put the cacao butter in a bowl and rest this on top of the pan so that it begins to slowly melt. It is really important to make sure that the bowl stays dry inside as water can cause separation.

Once the butter has melted, stir in the cacao powder using a metal spoon. Then add the maple syrup, salt and chilli if you are using it and mix everything together well. It is a good idea to check the mixture at this point - if you like things sweet then add a little more maple syrup to suit you taste.

Now you just need to put the mixture in your moulds or cases. The mixture should be runny and easy to pour and I find it easiest to use a small spoon for this part. Divide the mixture evenly between the moulds and then leave to set in the freezer for a minimum of 30 minutes. These do set in the fridge but take much longer and the result is a little softer although equally as delicious.

Dust with a little raw cacao powder before serving.

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