I developed the recipe for Winter Coconut Truffles as an anti-pumpkin spice offering. You can make a real from-scratch production of it by roasting your own winter squash and candying your own ginger (recommend!), but there’s no shame in canned pumpkin and bulk bin candied ginger. These truffles can be made coconutastic – and vegan to boot! – by subbing in a nice fatty coconut cream for the dairy cream. I love the combination of hearty, homey, super-seasonal winter squash with the zing of ginger and tropical tranquility of coconut.
Additionally, truffles hand-rolled in chocolate and then tossed in fun stuff like shredded coconut are way more fun and forgiving when Chef Kid is in the kitchen!
Winter Squash Coconut Truffles
makes 30-40 truffles
This recipe involves using tempered chocolate to coat the ganache. Tempering can be an intimidating task for the home cook new to chocolate work, but fear not! You can do this! A good definition and set of directions/explanations for tempering chocolate can be found here.
Ganache (for INSIDE the truffles)
1 ¼ Cup (6.5 ounces) finely chopped dark chocolate, 60-70% cacao
½ Cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 Cup winter squash puree (pumpkin, butternut, buttercup, acorn…)
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. unrefined coconut oil or coconut butter
1/3 – ½ Cup chopped candied ginger
¼ tsp. powdered ginger
Approx. 2# dark chocolate
3 Cups unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted in a pan and cooled completely
The day before, making the ganache:
Dump chocolate in a small-to-medium bowl, set aside.
Caramelize your squash of choice: place puree into a wide skillet or pot. Over medium heat, push and fold the puree around until the color deepens and puree seems slightly drier/stiffer, 10-15 minutes.
Combine remaining ingredients in a small saucepan. Set over medium heat and stir frequently until mixture bubbles and stirring does not disrupt bubbling. Pour hot mixture over chocolate and briefly stir to moisten chocolate. Let rest 3-4 minutes, allowing the hot cream mixture to melt the chocolate. Once nicely melted and slightly cooled, fold gently with a rubber spatula until mixture is smooth and homogenous. If mixture looks greasy, whisk briefly to bring together. Scrape down sides of bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the ganache. Cover the bowl with another piece of plastic wrap. Set aside 8 hours or overnight.
Portioning the ganache:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Portion ganache as you would cookie dough using two spoons or a small cookie scoop. Grape/olive size or slightly larger is perfect. Cover sheet tray with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour. (If you have not toasted the coconut, you can do this while you wait.)
Coating the ganache balls:
Place toasted coconut in a large, wide bowl, and grab a couple spoons, too. Bring portioned ganache back to room temperature while you begin tempering your coating chocolate. Once coating chocolate is tempered, set aside. Working with clean, dry hands (or latex gloves) to quickly roll the portioned ganache into round-ish balls. The heat of your hands will melt the ganache if you dawdle!
With the portions all rolled into ball-ish shapes, work one-by-one to apply a coat of tempered chocolate to each ball: with clean, dry hands make a small puddle of chocolate in the palm of your non-dominant hand and use the other hand to roll the ball around and around until totally smothered in chocolate. Immediately toss into toasted coconut and quickly bury to coat completely. Remove from coconut, proceed with remaining balls.(We also experimented with cocoa powder.)
Truffles can be stored at cool room temperature for 3 days, or in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a week. Bring back to room temperature before enjoying!
Left-over chocolate! Dip some stuff in it! Figs, candied ginger, nuts, orange slices… The chocolate can also be recycled for future baking projects: spread in a thin layer on parchment paper. Once dry and firm, chop it up and store in a zip-top bag.