Vegan Chocolate Truffles

December 6, 2014

These vegan chocolate truffles made with cashew cream are exquisite from master vegan baker, Fran Costigan. These sweet treats make incredible gifts.

These vegan chocolate truffles made with cashew cream are exquisite and make incredible gifts.

I got the recipe for these chocolate truffles from Fran Costigan who is widely known in the vegan community as “the queen of desserts”.  In her gorgeous book, Vegan Chocolate, she shares 120 incredible chocolate recipes for cake, brownies, truffles, puddings, ice creams to delight every incantation of chocolate your heart desires including these chocolate truffles.

Some recipes are gluten-free and there is also some raw offerings. I’ve been saving this post, because this book would make such an amazing Christmas present! I’m making batches of these truffles with my mum this weekend to give as Christmas presents. But, the problem is…..we keep eating them. As soon as I finish this post, I’m heading to the store to buy some more ingredients!

Here are some notes from Fran about making these chocolates:

This three-ingredient, one pot, luxuriously creamy chocolate truffle is incredibly quick and easy. However, unlike truffles made with other nondairy milks, the Basic Thick Cashew Cream used in this recipe must first be warmed gently over low heat with very finely chopped chocolate or, better yet, chocolate that has been powdered in a food processor. Smaller particles ensure that the chocolate will melt quickly into the warm liquid, resulting in a smooth ganache with minimal stirring.

For the Basic Thick Cashew Cream: Cashew Cream is a valuable base ingredient that stands in for dairy cream in a variety of ways, and is used both uncooked and cooked. Refrigerate Cashew Cream for up to two days, or freeze it in ice cube trays so that the right amount is always available for quick defrosting. To make the smoothest and best-tasting cashew cream, start with soaked whole raw cashews. If you want to speed the soaking process, use boiling water. The cashews will be soft enough to blend in one hour. If using a high-speed blender, the Cashew Cream will be thick and smooth in minutes. If using a standard blender, blend the nuts in batches, processing longer. Stop the blender a few times to clean the sides of the container. The small amount of guar gum added is highly recommended to make the richest tasting cream, and one that does not separate.

Tempering Chocolate: Tempering is simply melting chocolate in a controlled way so the fat crystals are stable. The chocolate bars that you purchase are already tempered. However, when chocolate is melted that changes, and the chocolate must be tempered again. The traditional manner of tempering chocolate is labor intensive. Professionals use tempering machines. I make small batches of tempered chocolate as needed using the easy-to-master seed method. And when I do not wish to temper chocolate for truffles, I dip truffle centers in melted (untempered) chocolate, and dust with cocoa or another dry coating. I call this the hybrid method of coating I store chocolate-coated cookies, cakes, and transfer sheet chocolate shapes in the freezer, where the sheen stays pristine.

For those of you who don’t know Fran, she is an internationally recognized culinary instructor, recipe developer, innovative vegan pasty chef, and author of three cookbooks. If you’re in NYC check out her incredible vegan baking boot camp intensive at the Institute of Culinary Education and at the Natural Gourmet Institute. She also teaches events all over the United States and Europe.

Fran has been featured on Discovery TV, demonstrating her celebrated “Chocolate Cake to Live For,” and on Better TV and ABC’s Nightline with her “Healthy Organic Vegan Twinkies.” Her work has been profiled in print and online media including VegNews, Vegetarian Times, Vegetarian Living, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Professional Pastry Chef, Café Sweets Japan and Organic Spa.

I have to tell you, I learnt so much from this book. Baking or working with chocolate (besides raw cacao powder) is not my strong suit. But, I really feel like I can handle all kinds of chocolate with absolute confidence after reading this book. It is so comprehensive.

Fran gives you the skinny on the vegan chocolate and baking essentials: wheat flours, gluten-free flours, starches, gums, fats, extracts, leavening agents, superfood ingredients, non dairy milks, nuts and seeds, spices and seasonings, sweeteners, and, of course, all about every kind of chocolate!

You learn about the different kinds of chocolate, how to store and chop chocolate, instructions for melting and tempering chocolate, and tips for decorating with chocolate. Fran also shares instructions for measuring dry ingredients (the “whisk, dips, and sweep” technique for the best results), roasting nuts, and gives you the rundown on all of the equipment you will need to make fabulous chocolate desserts.

Then there’s the exquisite recipes.

There is an entire section on truffles. I love the truffle tutorial! There’s lemon olive oil truffles, spicy ginger truffles, chai-spiced truffles, espresso truffles, and I just love these bittersweet cashew-cream truffle squares. Mine didn’t look quite as beautiful as Fran’s, so I’m use the gorgeous photo from the book. Kate Lewis.

The cake section of the book is absolutely fantastic. The Cake Troubleshooting page and frosting tips page are so helpful. I will be referring to these pages every time I make a cake. Do not missing making the white and dark chocolate cheesecake. Oh my….

The cookies chapter has similar great tips for troubleshooting your own recipes like what to do for dry cookies and under-baked cookies. The gluten-free brownie bites, gluten-free chocolate chunk cookies, and chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons are delicious.

In the pies and tarts chapter I tried the gluten-free raw nut crust, and made the chocolate pecan pie with a gluten-free crust. Yum! I also learnt to slow-roast pecans for 35 minutes at 275/140 C for a more concentrated pecan flavor. There are great tips like this throughout the book. I also made a gluten-free version of the bittersweet chocolate and lemon tartlets.

But, the creams and puddings section was my favorite because there were so many gluten-free options. The chocolate panna cotta was superb, the almost-instant chocolate pudding was super easy and scrumptious, the coconut milk black rice pudding, warm chocolate cashew cream pudding, and magic chocolate mousse, white chocolate and matcha mousse pudding, mocha creme brulee, and chocolate “jello” shots were all so good I am contemplating death by chocolate!

Don’t miss the frozen desserts section with recipes for chocolate espresso gelato, peanut butter and jam fudge-swirled ice cream, chocolate Mexican-spiced ice cream, chocolate margarita ice cream, and watermelon granita with chocolate seeds.

There’s also great recipes for confections and drinks, such as no mallow rice crispie treats, chocolate peanut butter cups, mendiants, Mexican hot chocolate, peanut butter cup smoothie, chocolate horchata, and chocolate vodka.

I really found the master recipes section helpful. This section of staple recipes is reason enough to get this book. There recipes for different chocolate glazes, frostings, syrups, sauces, creams and fillings, and sauces to use in your own creations. There’s also a comprehensive resources section to get all of your supplies.

I really love this book, and have purchases four extra copies to put under the tree this Christmas.

Get your copy of Vegan Chocolate and learn more about Fran Costigan.


Vegan Chocolate Truffles

These vegan chocolate truffles made with cashew cream are exquisite from master vegan baker, Fran Costigan. These sweet treats make incredible gifts. 

Prep Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours
Servings 30 to 36 Truffles
Author Tess Masters


thick cashew cream:


  • 1 cup (240ml) Basic Thick Cashew Cream  (recipe above)
  • 7 oz (198g) dark chocolate (70%)
  • 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract

tempered chocolate:

  • 10 oz (283g) dark chocolate (70 to 75%), divided


  1. To make the cashew cream, drain the cashews in a strainer. Put the rinsed nuts into a blender and add the water, agave or maple syrup, and vanilla. Blend, starting on low, and quickly increase the speed to high. Blend for about 1 minute until the cream is perfectly smooth.
  2. If you are using a standard blender, stop the machine and push any pieces of unblended cashews down into the cream; blend for an additional minute.
  3. With the motor turned off, add the guar gum directly onto the cream, making sure it doesn’t land on the sides of the container. Blend on low for 30 seconds, then increase the speed to high and blend for 1 minute. Pour and scrape the cream out of the blender while it is warm, it is very thick.  
  4. Pour the cream into a container, cover, and refrigerate for up to three days or freeze for up to two months. I freeze cashew cream in silicone ice cube trays, defrosting only the amount I need and giving the defrosted cream a good whisk before using. Store the frozen cubes in a zipper-lock bag until needed. 
  5. To make the truffles, pour the Basic Thick Cashew Cream in a small saucepan and set aside.
  6. Chop or break the chocolate into pieces, then process in a food processor until powdered. Add the chocolate to the cashew cream and cook over very low heat, stirring slowly and constantly with a silicone spatula until the chocolate is about two-thirds melted, about 1 minute.
  7. Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat and continue to stir gently until the chocolate is completely melted and the ganache is smooth. Stir the vanilla into the ganache.
  8. Line an 8 x 8-inch / 20 x 20-cm pan with parchment paper large enough to hang over the sides. Spoon the ganache into the pan and smooth the top. (You want to make a block of ganache that is 1⁄2 to 1 inch / 1.3 to 2.5 cm-thick.) Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours until firm and then transfer to the freezer. Freeze for 4 hours or overnight until quite firm.
  9. When the ganache is firm, remove from the freezer. Lift the block onto a cutting board with the help of the parchment paper. Square the edges with a sharp knife and cut the block into squares. Work with half or even a quarter of the block at a time, keeping the rest refrigerated. (If the ganache gets too soft to cut, just refrigerate until chilled and firm.)
  10. To enrobe the truffles in melted chocolate remove the centers from the refrigerator about 5 minutes before enrobing. The centers should be chilled but not icy cold or the coating might crack. 
  11. Pour the melted, or melted and tempered chocolate into a deep bowl. (See instructions for tempering below.) Drop a chilled truffle center into the chocolate, and use a chocolate dipping fork to make sure it is submerged. Use the fork to remove the truffle. Hold it over the bowl to allow the excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl, and wipe the bottom of the truffle gently on the side of the bowl. Place on parchment close together but not touching. Repeat with the rest of the centers. Dip a fork in the melted chocolate and wave over the truffles to create a decorative drizzle. Alternatively, spoon chocolate into a small pastry bag. Cut a very small tip, and squeeze chocolate lines onto each truffle. Refrigerate briefly to allow the coating to harden.
  12. To dust the truffles in cocoa powder, pour the cocoa powder into a fine mesh strainer and lightly sift the cocoa powder over the truffle squares. (If the squares are very cold, the cocoa may not adhere. If that happens, allow them to soften slightly for a few minutes.) You could also coat them in melted chocolate and the dust with cocoa powder.
  13. Refrigerate the finished truffles until set. 
  14. To Seed Tempered Chocolate, chop 2 ounces / 57 grams of the chocolate into medium chunks and set aside until needed.
  15. Finely chop the remaining 8 ounces / 227 grams of chocolate. Place in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir once or twice with a silicone spatula until the chocolate is almost, but not completely, melted. The chocolate should be about 100 to 110°F / 38 to 43°C now. If not, keep stirring.
  16. Remove the bowl from the saucepan to the counter, and add the reserved pieces of unmelted chocolate (the “seeds”). Whisk the seeds vigorously until they are melted. Check the temperature. When the temperature drops into the low 80s, you want to slowly bring it back up to between 88°F and 90°F / 31°C and 32°C over the warm water. This is the working range you need for dipping.
  17. Spread a small amount of melted chocolate on a plate; the chocolate should harden in a few minutes and remain shiny. If it doesn’t, repeat the tempering process.

Recipe Notes

Recipe from Vegan Chocolate © 2013 by Fran Costigan
Photo by Trent Lanz; styling by Alicia Buszczak


Comments 3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *