Saturday, April 27, 2013

Individual vegan dark chocolates with lavender cream filling

Sometimes, I make something that is so exciting, so fun, and so enjoyable that it takes all of my energy not to pepper the associated post title with exclamation marks.

This is one such occasion.



Ever since reading Hannah's post about vegan dark chocolate cups with a lavender filling - courtesy of her Valentine's Chocolate box of delights - I have been thinking about trying to create a similar thing at home. I am a firm believer in the delights of culinary lavender, thanks to positive experiences with lavender, lemon and pistachio cheesecakelavender biscuits with lemon, and lavender dark chocolate.

Now, I can add dark chocolates with lavender cream filling to that list.


These chocolates also provided me with an opportunity to play with coconut cream. I have had a can of coconut cream (full-fat coconut milk) in my fridge for, oh, about six months. I have a terrible tendency to sit on new ingredients in such a way, waiting for inspiration or "the right time" or something sufficiently worthy of the ingredient in question.

Chocolate with a lavender cream filling seemed like a sufficiently important cause, and once I got going, I found coconut cream to be very fun indeed. As many of you will know, when you chill a can in the fridge (24 hours would do; 6 months is optional), you can remove it, turn the can upside down, open it, drain off the liquid, and be left with a solid, cream-like mass. If you whip it, it goes fluffy. 

There is something delightful about ingredients changing form between your very eyes, and I think that even if these chocolates had turned out terribly, the process of making them would have been sufficient reward. As it is, they turned out quite well, and I am just a little bit (or a lot bit) in love with them.

Clockwise from top left: Solid coconut cream, whipped coconut cream,
the mess involved with these creations!, and a close up of the lavender cream filling.

If you're not sure about a lavender filling, you could easily adapt this recipe to make other sorts of chocolates. Adding cocoa and chilli to the cream mix would give a wonderful chocolate chilli truffle. Alternatively, you could go with mint - always a classic - or lemon. I am delighted with the lavender outcome, but am still keen to experiment more with future batches. 


Individual vegan dark chocolates 
with lavender cream filling
Makes about 15 small chocolates, or a smaller number of larger ones
Vegan


Ingredients
For the cream filling
1 375g can full-cream coconut milk, chilled in the fridge for at least 24 hours (you will only use half of the can)
1 1/2 tbsp agave nectar
1 1/2 tbsp custard powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
Pinch salt

For the chocolate
1/2 cup (~60g) cocoa butter
1 cup (~120g) cocoa powder
1/4 cup (~65g) agave nectar

Silicon moulds or firm cupcake liners, extra

Method
Remove your chilled can of coconut milk from the fridge, flip it upside down, and remove the top. Pour out the liquid and then spoon the solid mass into a large mixing bowl. Reserve half of the solid coconut mixture for another time. Beat the remaining half with an electric mixer, on high speed, for 2 to 3 minutes or until light and fluffy.

Add the agave nectar, custard powder and vanilla to the coconut cream mix, and beat briefly to combine. Add the lavender and salt and stir through. Place in the fridge or freezer to chill for at least 30 minutes (this will make it easier to use the cream mix in your chocolates).

When the lavender cream filling has chilled, place the cocoa butter in a heat proof dish and heat over low heat on the stove top, stirring regularly, until fully melted. Add the cocoa powder and agave and stir well, still over low heat, until smooth.

Set your silicon moulds or cupcake liners out on a chopping board or other firm surface. Use approximately half of the chocolate mixture to fill the bottom of each mould/liner. Using a teaspoon, spoon a small amount of the lavender cream filling over the lower chocolate layer. Cover with the remaining chocolate.

Set in the fridge for at least 4 hours before removing from the moulds. Store in the fridge.



With time, I might even manage to make chocolates that look as neat as the ones that inspired these...

What are your thoughts on lavender flavours in food?
Or have you got any favourite uses for coconut cream? I still have half a can spare!

32 comments:

  1. I feel like I could pepper my comment with exclamation marks but will also try and be restrained. I have never tried the coconut milk in the fridge trick - but will have to - even if I need to do the 6 month run up. Was it a 400g tin of coconut milk you used for the recipe? Am curious about the custard powder in this - have you seen this used elsewhere or is it just something you love? And I wish I could say I was using my lavender as much as you do - this sounds a truly exciting use for it and looks like something I really want to try - must buy some other chocolate moulds than my easter egg ones that are now terribly unseasonal

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    1. It was very careless of me not to mention the tin size - yes, 375g (I've updated the post too). As for the custard powder, I put it in my Easter tahini eggs on a whim and liked the result, so ran with it again here! I have a box of it that I never use so it's more about finding uses for it than loving it particularly. It's standing in for corn flour or flour really, but gives a slightly lighter result (you can't taste custard per se). You could easily use corn flour instead though, or anything else to slightly thicken the filling mix.

      I highly recommend putting a can of coconut milk in the fridge, as then it looks at you every time you go in there (although mine did end up at the back) and I found my imagination returned to possible uses semi-regularly :-)

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  2. I love dark chocolate! These look really delicious Kari :)

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  3. Wow - these are really cute. Like you, I tend to buy a random ingredient and then it just sits in the pantry... I am very impressed your coconut milk survived a long time in the fridge.. It has been my goal to eat through the perishables before we move so I am unearthing a bunch of new ingredients, hehe. I grew a lavender plant last summer but it only made the tiniest buds at the end of the year so I didn't do anything with it... and now it looks dead. I hope it perks up now that it is outside... We'll have to see. I don't think I have ever tried eating something with lavender, especially not chocolate.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Fortunately for me it was a can, and they last quite long periods, otherwise I might have lost the ingredient in question to non-survival! (And that has happened before...)

      The first time I used lavender I used the garden-grown variety, but was then introduced to culinary lavender, which is grown specifically for eating. It's has a slightly more subtle flavour and less bitterness. I recommend it!

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  4. I'm not a huge fan of lavender in food, but then again I'm not big on perfume flavours in food in general. No Earl Grey for me, my only exception is my inexplicable love for turkish delight. But I love this revelation about coconut cream, I'm now wondering what amazing creations that could lead to.

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    1. I love Earl Grey, but unlike you, don't much like Turkish delight :-) I am sure you'll find lots of fun uses for coconut cream that don't involve lavender though!

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  5. These are adorable, and so clever.

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  6. They look amazing! Love getting excited over special food creations :) want to try coconut milk in fridge thing too

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    1. Food-related excitement is definitely a special sort of excitement. I hope you get to experience it soon with coconut milk turned into coconut cream!

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  7. Oh goodness these sounds simply amazing! I love the combination of lavender and chocolate. Add in coconut cream and I'm totally sold! Awesome recipe :)

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    1. Thanks Gabby :-) I'm sure you could make them look neater than me too!

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  8. Oh, that looks gorgeous - I keep meaning to try the coconut cream trick. This might be the inspiration I need...

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    1. It took me a while too, but I can assure you that it's worth getting there!

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  9. Do it!!!!!!!!!!!! These deserve exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. *Laughs* Now I feel totally justified! And I must say, every time I eat them, I do get a sort of '!!!!' experience happening.

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  10. Coconut cream is bliss on anything for dessert so I'm sure you won't have too much trouble using it up.... or make a curry :D
    Hmmmm, I don't really like using flowers in food - everytime I've tried it so far I just feel like its something i should be smelling not eating!
    Your choccies look so cute and delicate!!! :D

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    1. I think you have a lot of people with you on the flowers in food thing - but I'm sure you'd come up with a great twist on the lavender filling if you made these!

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  11. Wow, they look really powerful and indulgent. What's great to know though, is that with your choice of ingredients they are pretty damn healthy.

    Incidentally, I thoroughly agree with the trust in lavender as a culinary ingredient. There is a lavender farm near me called long barn which I will definitely be doing a post on this summer, it is a wonderful place!

    Take care love :) xx

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    Replies
    1. How fun that you have a farm near by - it must be a great place to visit.

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  12. Oh, wonderful. Making chocolate on my own for the first time this year was life changing. How wonderful to use lavender here!

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    1. Thanks so much Gena! And you're right, chocolate making has been quite life changing. It certainly makes generic brands look quite unappealing!

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  13. Lavender and chocolate is an amazing combination. Just the title of these was enough to make my mouth water

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    1. They are pretty much a match made in heaven :)

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  14. LOVE cooking with lavender. It has such an awesome flavour. These look so good. I can honestly say I haven't made my own chocolate since I did the class a few years back. Other than my bark the other day.. but I suppose that doesn't count.

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  15. I love chocolate and I love lavender - Im sure these taste wonderful!!

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    Replies
    1. If you love both, I think you'd like them!

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