Tis the season for all things sweet.
Last year at this time, I was savoring dark chocolate pear cake and whipping up loaf after loaf of braided challah. That’s what I’d like to be doing right now, too, but I’ve found that baking isn’t a treat when it’s squeezed into my busy weekends these days. What cooking time I do have goes to meal prep, which isn’t exactly festive, but it is a part of keeping me well fed through the DI, which has been a source of strength, comfort, and pleasure.
Still, I’m not about to forgo holiday treat-making entirely. The trick is to find a treat that’s as easy as it is rewarding, and these vegan cashew espresso truffles are it.
I made these over the weekend, and I still can’t believe how easy they were. I got my inspiration from an Ina Garten recipe, using cashew milk in place of regular dairy and simplifying things a lot.
All you need to prepare the recipe is dark chocolate (I used 70%, but you could use 65% for slightly a sweeter version, 80% for something intense), vanilla, espresso, and a little sugar (I used coconut) if you wish. Pour hot milk over the chocolate, stir till everything’s melted, and stick your bowl in the fridge for 2 hours. As soon as the mixture is firm, you can roll the truffles in cocoa powder, and dessert is ready. I can’t think of an easier indulgence, and since the recipe makes a ton (intentionally, though you can half it), it’s perfect for a vegan dessert platter or for edible gifting.
I shared the truffles with my coworkers on Monday, and we all agreed that, while chocolate has a starring role in the recipe, it’s the espresso that makes everything sing. And the espresso I used was supplied by the awesome folks at Trade Coffee Co.—a personalized coffee delivery service that matches home coffee lovers with ethically sourced, seasonal coffees from trusted farmers and producers.
Sure, home cooked food and good nutrition has been helping me through the DI. But let’s be honest: a very solid portion of my internship survival is thanks to caffeination. I’m a total coffee nerd; I love coffee-making so much that I’ve often traveled with a hand grinder and an Aeropress, and my morning pour over routine is generally what gets me out of bed. Much as I rely on coffee to function/wake up/think/do, I also love it for its own sake.
The fun thing about testing Trade Coffee is that the company helped me to discover new roasts that fit my tastes. When you sign up with Trade, you take a cool quiz that matches you with a bag (and you can keep trying new coffees as you go). I got to taste a light roast from NYC’s own Irving Farm, an awesome dark roast from Stumptown, and—for this dessert—an espresso from Sightglass. It was such a pleasure to grind, brew, and savor these different beans.
I ground the Sightglass Crown Point espresso finely for the truffles; you could use any finely ground espresso you’ve got, or you could use instant espresso if you prefer. I’ll be coming back to this bag for homemade lattes, mochas, and such; one thing I learned when making the recipe itself is that, if you add a few tablespoons of the truffle mixture to hot milk, you’ve got a killer mocha hot chocolate on your hands ?
I loved working with Trade, and I appreciate the care and consciousness that the company pours into the sourcing process. Plus, all of the coffee delivered is roasted to order. It was such a fun collaboration that I plan to subscribe (you can choose a cycle for coffee delivery, which for me at the moment will be…short). In the meantime, I can get a little caffeine delivery through these wonderful, rich, and creamy vegan truffles.
- 1 lb dark chocolate (I use 70%), chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons finely ground espresso or instant espresso
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch sea salt (about 1/8 teaspoon or so)
- 1-2 tablespoons coconut sugar (optional, but I like the touch of sweetness)
- 1 cup cashew milk or another non-dairy milk of choice
- dark cocoa powder, for rolling (or chopped nuts or shredded coconut)
- Place the chocolate, espresso, vanilla, salt, and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Heat the cashew milk to a gentle simmer/low boil. Pour the milk over the chocolate. Stir until the mixture is fully melted and glossy smooth.
- Place the bowl in a fridge for 2 hours. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop up enough chocolate mixture to roll into a 1-inch ball. Roll the ball in cocoa powder (you could also use chopped nuts or coconut). Serve.
A lot about this holiday season is unusual for me: no tree, no trimmings in my apartment, more-frugal-than-usual gift-giving, no time to bake. But the spirit of Christmas is very much alive in me, from listening to carols on my commute to the simple wreath hanging over my dining table to all of the tenderness I feel in my heart for my patients these days.
And, even if my oven mitts are a little lonely right now, there are sweets. And these are very sweet indeed.
Huge thanks to Trade Coffee for the chance to discover new roasters and new beans—and for the gift of an awesome holiday treat. Hope you enjoy the truffles, too, and see you this weekend for the weekly roundup!
This post is sponsored by Trade Coffee. All opinions are my own, and I love this company (and its love of coffee)!