It is the season to be indulgent, and if you’re anything like me then chocolate truffles are near the top of your list. There’s something wonderful about that creamy, smooth and soft chocolate centre that takes me back to childhood Christmases where they would occasionally be on offer at the adults’ table. If I was lucky I would be allowed one little truffle, dusted with cocoa powder, and it certainly was a sumptuous treat. Mix that up with some delicious Grand Marnier, an orange flavoured liqueur, usually reserved for making crêpes, and you have yourself a wonderful after-dinner dessert- or if you’re anything like me- a little pile of chocolate goodies to dip into at least three times a day! Sometimes I just can’t help myself when chocolate’s around, so it’s a good thing I’ve made these a little more guilt-free than their regular counterparts… not that you can taste the difference 😉
These truffles are made with coconut cream and dark chocolate. I prefer to use dairy and refined-sugar free chocolates, but when I made these for my family over Christmas I found that the Whittaker’s 50% cocoa blocks worked well. If you prefer to make your own chocolate you can also try them with the real deal Paleo chocolate recipe, though you will need to keep them in the freezer until serving time. You can also add as much or as little Grand Marnier as you like, to suit your own taste. Alternatively, you can sub out the Grand Marnier for almost any other liqueur or alcohol that works well with chocolate (so basically everything!).
Though they’ll definitely be delicious without, I would strongly suggest using a garnish for an extra hit of orange. I used my favourite Fresh As freeze-dried mandarin segments, crushed over top of the truffles as their chocolate coat was setting. You could also use any citrus zest or ribbons of peel, or if you’d prefer to skip the chocolate coating altogether, then they also look wonderful simply dusted with a little cocoa powder.
What is Grand Marnier?
Grand Marnier is an orange flavoured liqueur made from Cognac brandy and orange essence. It is used in many French desserts, such as Crêpes Suzette- where it is set alight to flambé the crêpes as they are served. It’s also used in a famous Christmas season dessert- bûche de Noël, which is similar to our kiwi “Chocolate Log”, but with a lovely touch of orange.
The delicious orangey flavour in grand Marnier comes from citrus bigardia, specially picked by hand at the Marnier-Lapostolle plantation in the Caribbean. The orange peels are dried and used to produce the distilled orange essence that is then mixed with Cognac brandy. Finally, the Grand Marnier is aged in oak casks, which provides a lovely oakey flavour to the liqueur as well.
Naturally, these delicious flavours pair beautifully with chocolate, especially of the dark variety. Try it out with these chocolate truffles and you never know where it will take you. If you’re anything like me you’ll be experimenting with this liqueur in all your favourite desserts!
Makes 20-30 grand marnier chocolate truffles (depending on the size of your melon baller/spoon and how much you “taste test”). 😉