It’s been way too long since I’ve last blogged! It’s good to get back in it again, I missed it so much. School can seriously eat you up sometimes and now that it’s summer, it’s great to get back into balance again and get in touch with things I love. If you want to follow my food adventures more, you can follow my Instagram account where I post more often and also include a bunch of good Toronto/GTA restaurants that I recommend.
So…IT IS SUMMER! Freedom! I have to work for my school work placement, but right now I have a good week break to do anything I want! I want to celebrate being done and chocolate is obviously invited. Always.
I don’t know what is going on with me but I think I’ve made truffles at least 4 times these past few weeks! I am obsessed. When you think of truffles though, it tends to be this big bad image of excess sugar-ridden fatty indulgence. I also think that people get intimidated by the idea of making their own truffles since they are supposedly a delicacy (says who!). They are actually super easy to make and don’t have to be bad for you! Remember, when you make things at home, you literally have control of everything that goes into your recipe. So emit the bad stuff and bring in the good.
This past school term, I served as a Project Lead at my university’s sustainability service. I was responsible for raising awareness on Fairtrade products to the student body and for making students think more consciously about their consumer decisions. We are often so disconnected from where we get our food from that we don’t think twice about the hands that picked our fruits, our coffee, and our daily produce. Out of sight, out of mind. Many times, the food we purchase goes to support unethical, large-scale, unsustainable organizations that mistreat their producers, pay unfair wages, and exploit workers (child labour, no safety regulations, etc…). We, as consumers, have such an important role to play and can be a powerful force when we simply refuse unfair products (I’m talking about you, drinking that Tim Horton’s coffee!) and demand an ethical and environmentally-conscious food system. We have to question where our food comes from. We are, after all, citizens of the world.
What is Fair Trade?
Fair Trade is defined generally as a partnership that is, well, fair. It embodies the vision that producers are entitled to good working conditions as well as their rights, especially in developing countries. Fairtrade, however (note the lack of separation between the two words), refers to the specific Fair Trade certification system, represented by Fairtrade International and all its partner organizations. In 1997, Fairtrade International was established for setting standards to “…address the imbalance of power in trading relationships, unstable markets and the injustices of conventional trade”. Fairtrade International’s principles include payment of fair wages, no discrimination (especially against women), opportunities for capacity building, and consideration for the environment, among a few.
Products can bear the Fairtrade mark (above) which ensures that the social, environmental, and economic Fairtrade International standards have been met. I strongly recommend you to actively search for the mark whenever purchasing a product that can be Fairtrade certified. Here is a video I suggest watching that will sum up Fairtrade/Fair Trade better than I can in words.
What are some Fairtrade products?
- Grains (Rice and quinoa)
Normal grocery stores carry these products, mainly in the natural foods section, since 50% of all Fairtrade products tend to be organic too. The quality of Fairtrade products is just so much better, you can actually taste it! There are other stores that carry Fairtrade products such as the Canadian store, Ten Thousand Villages, which is centred around the concept of Fair Trade. You can also buy Fairtrade products online if you can’t find any, but they are more common than you think.
Ingredients (Makes 30-40 small truffles)
- 1 cup Fairtrade raw cacao butter (I used the Giddy Yoyo brand)*
- 1/2 cup Fairtrade raw cacao powder
- 1 tablespoon Fairtrade ground coffee**
- 3 tablespoon Fairtrade coconut oil
- 1/2 cup Fairtrade bittersweet or dark chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cup almonds
- 2 tablespoons organic honey
- 2 drops vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
*If you cannot find cacao butter, you can replace it with coconut oil instead, but I strongly recommend finding some as it has a wonderful rich chocolatey taste.
**I only used 1 tablespoon since my stomach is sensitive to coffee. However, if you love a nice espresso taste, I recommend adding more.
1. In a food processor, pulse all the almonds until a coarse texture is achieved. Set aside.
2. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Then reduce heat to medium and place a large stainless steel or glass bowl on the pot, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. This is called a double boiler and should always be used when melting chocolate, as it prevents the chocolate from burning.
3. In the bowl, melt the cocoa butter, coconut oil, chocolate chips, and honey.
4. Once fully melted, add the cacao powder gradually, mixing well. Add the coffee, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt to the mixture.
5. Take the double boiler off the stove and mix in the almonds.
6. Place the mixture in a pan and put in the freezer for no more than 20 minutes. You want the mixture to be semi-hardened, but not completely as it will be difficult to roll them up into truffle balls. Be sure to check on them every 5 minutes to make sure they are not fully frozen.
7. Once semi-hardened, remove from the freezer and roll into balls. I also rolled mine in dessicated coconut and cacao powder to make them more visually pleasing. Feel free to decorate them however you feel (almonds, cinnamon, etc…)
I hope you guys like this recipe! Please don’t be shy and comment below to let me know what you think. So far, a few of my friends and family have said it tastes like dark chocolate Ferrero Rocher and I’m cool with that! I have some other truffle recipes to share with all of you, but I’ll save those for later…one good thing at a time!
I’m also super excited to share a bunch of awesome tunes I’ve been listening to. But again…one at a time! For now, here’s an awesome track by Jamie xx. For those of you who listen to The xx (awesome band!), he’s the one behind the cool atmospheric sounds. He does his own solo work doing remixes and producing some super chill music. I actually went to a free concert that featured him, but didn’t have a great experience (he came out at 1 am after we waited for over 3 hours…I’m getting too old!). However, this song, featuring the female lead in The xx, Romy, is an amazing comeback. Enjoy!