Life, Love and All Things Chocolate & Cocktail.

It’s always a great time for chocolate and cocktails. Creating new drink and truffle recipes is a fun way to explore flavors – and to share the creations with good friends. Oh, no, twist my arm! Truffle and cocktail parties are the way to go. I don’t know a single mom that wouldn’t be down with a similar 5:00 PM shindig. Moms out there, you get it – we all need our social time. And, it’s always better with something delicious.

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These truffles are dairy-free, incorporating creamy, healthy cashew milk. Inside, the base is flavored with earthy almonds… deep, dark chocolate… and of course some robust cocoa nibs. A vibrant splash of citrus livens up the little, silken balls of heaven.

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The rich cocoa powder and flavorful Maldon sea salt round-out the sweet, aromatic bites.

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This orange liqueur turns the truffles from ordinary to extraordinary. Still, the truffles are fantastic with a bit of orange zest and freshly squeezed orange juice in its place. It’s a nice idea for alcohol-free kid’s truffles. In this case, we made half the truffles “sober” for the munchkins and the other half “tipsy” for adults.

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The first six truffles were rolled early in the morning for an important taste-tester – the hubby. The littlest guy and I dropped some off at the hospital while the older kids were in Montessori school. Once the truffles had the Dr. Chocolate stamp of approval, the rest were rolled out, eaten with morning coffee, shared with friends – and posted on Curls and Carrots. We may be renaming the blog to Curls and Chocolate. Though my daughter did request roasted carrots on her pizza last night…

The truffle base itself is quick to make. Just pop it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to roll-out the truffles and dunk them in their glorious, brown, powdery bath. You can make them all at once, or just a few at a time.

Now, onto another fantastic treat (that pairs quite well with a truffle, if I do say so myself).DSC_3791

Introducing the perfect truffle pairing – a fantastic purple, floral martini made with sweet, rich elderflower liqueur that is balanced with dry vermouth and neutral vodka. You could use gin instead of vodka for additional floral notes, though it seems there are two groups of people – those who like vodka martinis and those who prefer gin-based ones. I am not getting in the middle of this one!DSC_3793

Sadly, the elderflower liqueur would not open. My friend had a great idea (seen above) and the night was saved. Good thing my hubby has a tool kit (and I’m sure he’s happy it’s finally being used by me!). 

DSC_3797The martini is shaken in a cocktail shaker with a single blackberry, giving it a vibrant, scarlet huh. We’ll nickname this one the Purple People Eater Martini.

DSC_3798If you don’t have a martini glass, a stemless wine glass would do just fine. In our house, the wine glasses seem to endlessly break – but martini glasses not so much. I suppose cocktail time is a special, festive occasion that happens too infrequently. Should we remedy that?

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And for more pink and purple celebratory gastronomy: my friend’s little girl turns one today. Happy birthday to the sweet, smart and utterly adorable MF!

So, here’s a cute idea for a little ones “smash” (personal) birthday cake. Use mini, whole grain, homemade cakes and fresh buttercream icing- both “dyed” with your food coloring(s) of choice – and create any cake shape desired. In this instance, the birthday girl was all about a pink cake with pink icing – in the shape of a heart. When she “smashes” into her cake, she’ll have an easier time picking up those pieces.

Even if there are no birthdays coming up, Valentine’s day certainly is. So get to making some chocolate truffles, a heart-shaped cake – or both. This pink creation took about 45 minutes for me to make, start to finish – and my two older kids had a ton of fun helping! They suggest decorating the next cake with our tasty truffles. Now that’s good thinking. They have my cocoa genes.

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Print

Floral Purple Martini (i.e. Purple People Eater)

Ingredients:

2 1/2 ounces vodka

1 ounce dry vermouth

1/2 ounce St. Germain (elderflower liqueur)

1 frozen blackberry

three large or six small ice cubes

Preparation:

Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Use cold St. Germain, dry vermouth and vodka if possible.

Shake vigorously to break-up the blackberry, mix and further chill the cocktail.

Pour into a martini glass and serve immediately.

Print

Spiked Dark Chocolate Truffles (Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free)

Adapted from Jamie Oliver

Makes about 35-40 big-ole truffles!

Ingredients:
  • 300 g (10.5 ounces) dairy-free, 50-55% Belgian dark chocolate with almonds, chopped 

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil (or goat or dairy butter, if desired)

  • 120 mL each: reserve Mexican orange liqueur* (40% ABV) and cashew milk

  • 2 teaspoons each: vanilla bean paste or extract and finely ground espresso beans

  • two or three pinches of Maldon sea salt, to taste

  • 4 Tablespoons cocoa nibs, chopped if they are on larger side

  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder (or add more, a Tablespoon at a time, to taste, up to 8 Tablespoons)

  • Toppings to roll truffles in, such as cocoa powder and Maldon sea salt

Preparation:

Chop the chocolate into pieces. Place it in a double boiler over simmering water. Stir gently until melted. Add the cocoa powder, orange liqueur, cashew milk and coconut oil. Stir gently until combined.

Stir in the pure vanilla extract or bean paste, espresso beans and Maldon sea salt. The mixture sure be silky and smooth, dotted with small chunks of almonds and cocoa nibs.

Place the mixture in a bowl. Allow to cool in fridge for an hour. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to chill for several more hours, until very firm.

Spread cocoa powder and Maldon sea salt, or desired toppings, onto a plate.

Use a teaspoon or melon ball scooper to dollop out balls of the chocolate truffle mixture. Place the balls in your hand. Roll the mixture gently in your palm with two fingers to form a ball. Place truffles on baking sheets lined with wax or parchment paper. Refrigerate until set, about an hour.

Roll the balls in the cocoa powder and Maldon sea salt mixture, or in any toppings of your choice.

Return the truffles to refrigerator on the previously used baking sheets to firm-up; this should take about half an hour.

Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator, enjoying a few each day and sharing with friends and loved ones if you’re feeling especially magnanimous.

*Or, substitute equal amounts orange juice and two teaspoons orange zest for an alcohol-free truffle, perfect if serving to children.

©Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, shannaward.com (2013-2015), unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author, Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, and/or owner is strictly and completely prohibited.

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35 thoughts on “Life, Love and All Things Chocolate & Cocktail.

  1. The martini looks heavenly! We are huge St. Germaine fans, just got another bottle yesterday. We have discovered, after several bottles getting glued shut with the sweetness, that they are less likely to stick shut if you don’t close them too hard. I tend to screw bottles shut tightly, not good for St. Germaine. I enjoy a simple St. Germaine and Prosecco, among other drinks. We are so on the same page as for chocolate….I have a post hopefully going up today with dark chocolate and orange and a truffle post hopefully Friday! Needless to say there is a bit of chocolate now with Valentine’s Day coming up.

  2. Those truffles are fantastic, so is the drink. I’m a big St Germaine fan. Had problem with it opening and ran under hot water for about a minute it opened then. I could eat a dozen of the chocolates.

  3. This is all so lovely, Shanna! Your truffles look gorgeous and I love that you dropped them off for your hubby to try. And that cocktail!!!! Already have the ingredients on hand, so guess what I’ll be sipping this weekend 🙂 Fun cakes, too. You are a dynamo, Shanna, and I am blessed to know you.

  4. I love red drinks, its amazing how a simple blackberry made that colour! And I’m so impressed with the truffles, does a lot of patience need to be involved in shaping them?

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