There’s nothing sweeter than a homemade treat. For Valentine’s Day, give the gift that everyone loves: dessert. Our chefs have created three amazing confections that are sure to please, no matter the dietary preference. Whip up our divine Vegan Spicy Chocolate-Orange Truffles, a heavenly batch of Paleo Nutella Thumbprint Cookies, or our Gluten-Free Salted Caramel Budinos, to show your special someone how sweet it is to be loved by you. We promise, one bite of these delights and you will fall in love all over again!
Vegan Spicy Chocolate-Orange Truffles
- 4 oz dark chocolate
- ¾ cup water
- 8 cardamom pods
- ¼ – ½ tsp cayenne (to taste)
- 1 bay leaf
- 7 black peppercorns
- 1 orange
- 2 tbsp flax or olive oil
- 1 tbsp Grand Marnier
- 3 oz dark chocolate
- ¼ cup Dutch-process cocoa
ASSEMBLE DOUBLE BROILER
- Bring a medium pot half full of water to a boil. Place a glass or metal bowl (larger than the pot) over top. Reduce to a low boil over medium heat.
MELT CHOCOLATE FOR GANACHE
- Roughly chop 4 ounces of dark chocolate.
- Add chocolate to doubler broiler bowl. Stir occasionally, until melted, about 4-5 minutes.
MAKE SPICE-INFUSED WATER
- Lightly crack cardamom pods to expose seeds.
- Bring ¾ cup water, crushed cardamom, bay leaf and peppercorns to a simmer in a small pot over medium heat. Add cayenne to taste (or omit). Simmer 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.
- Remove from heat. Zest whole orange with a microplane (or small holes of a box grater) over pot. Let steep 1 minute.
- Strain with a fine-mesh strainer into a liquid measuring cup; discard spices. Add additional water if needed, to measure ½ cup of liquid.
MAKE TRUFFLE GANACHE
- Slowly add 1 tablespoon of spice-infused water at a time to bowl with chocolate while whisking continuously.*
- Once all water has been added, and mixture is smooth, slowly whisk in oil and Grand Marnier. Whisk until smooth.*
- Remove from heat and let cool. Transfer ganache to a shallow dish. Allow to cool slightly.
- Once cool, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator. Chill at least 2 hours, or until firm.
- Chef’s Tip: The chocolate may appear to seize up after water is initially added, however by continually whisking slowly, it will begin to flow smoothly as more water is added.
- Once ganache is firm, scoop about 1 tablespoon of the filling with a small spoon.
- Roll mixture into a ball between palms, forming a smooth ball.*
- Transfer truffle to a small baking sheet, or plate. Repeat process with remaining chocolate, making 10-12 truffles total. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1-2 hours, or until firm.
- Chef’s Tip: Avoid spending too much time on one truffle, as your natural body heat will cause the chocolate to melt.
MELT CHOCOLATE COATING
- Finely chop remaining 3 oz of dark chocolate.
- Bring a medium pot, half filled with water, to a boil. Place a glass or metal bowl over top.
- Place chocolate in bowl. Stir occasionally, 3-4 minutes, or until melted.
- Spread cocoa powder out on a plate.
- Working one at a time, dip each truffle into the melted chocolate. Evenly coat, using fingers or a fork to turn. Remove from chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. Transfer to plate with cocoa powder. Repeat process to fully coat.
- Roll coated truffles in cocoa powder to evenly coat. Repeat process with remaining truffles. Return to refrigerator.
SERVE & EAT TRUFFLES
- We recommend removing truffles from the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving for best results.
Paleo Sea Salt Nutella Thumbprint Cookies
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1 tbsp coconut flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Dash of sea salt
- 4 tbsp ghee, room temperature
- Ghee can be substituted with room temperature coconut oil or chilled unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp honey
- Paleo Nutella
- ⅔ cup hazelnuts, finely ground
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup coconut oil, melted
- ⅓ cup + 1 tbsp maple syrup
- Finishing salt to garnish
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Place almond meal, coconut flour, baking powder, and sea salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir to combine.
- Add ghee and honey to dry mix. Beat with paddle to form a stiff, cohesive dough.
- Scoop spoonfuls of dough and briefly roll into a ball. Place on a baking sheet with lightly oiled, parchment paper, spacing about 1-2 inches apart.
- Press your thumb into the top of the dough.*
- If dough is a bit sticky, lightly wet your hands
- Bake cookies for 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
PREPARE PALEO NUTELLA
- Place ground hazelnuts in a medium bowl.
- Add salt and cocoa powder to bowl with hazelnuts.
- Add coconut oil and maple. Whisk to combine.
- Spoon about 1 teaspoon of paleo nutella, or melted chocolate, into each thumbprint. Sprinkle lightly with finishing salt. Allow to cool on baking sheet before removing.
Gluten-Free Salted Caramel Budino
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- ½ cup tightly packed dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup water
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 cup half-and-half
- 1 cup heavy cream (divided)
- 1 large egg + 2 large egg yolks
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- ½ tsp coarse sea salt
- We recommended fleur de sel
- Chocolate shavings for garnish
- Strawberries, sliced for garnish
MAKE CUSTARD BASE
- Bring maple syrup, brown sugar, water and salt to a boil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 5 minutes, or until mixture darkens and thickens; stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
- Add half-and-half and ½ cup heavy cream to pot, while whisking. Whisk until smooth.
PREP EGGS & CORNSTARCH
- Crack egg into a medium bowl. Add egg yolks and cornstarch. Whisk until smooth.
- Add egg mixture to brown sugar maple mixture in a slow, thin stream while whisking continuously.
- Return pot with budino mixture to medium heat. Cook 5-7 minutes, or until mixture thickens and resembles pudding, whisking constantly.
- Divide budino between four small ramekins, or glasses. Sprinkle tops with fleur de sel. Cover tops with plastic wrap. Transfer to refrigerator. Chill 1-2 hours, or overnight.
MAKE WHIPPED CREAM
- Place remaining ½ cup heavy cream in a bowl.* Whisk to form soft peaks.
- Use a stand mixer and whisk attachment to help whip cream!
- Divide whipped cream and sliced strawberries between budinos. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings.