If you’ve been following me for a while, my nationality and culture heritage are no mystery to you. But for the new followers, let me tell you a little something about chocolate.
I eat it everyday. When I don’t, I think about it, and dream of it, and I can
turn into the Hulk get cranky if I don’t get it. Because essentially, chocolate, not blood, runs through my veins.I have been vegan for over three years now but when I do make an exception to my dietary habits, it’s always for chocolate. Mum keeps a stack in her kitchen that makes you think she’s either a smuggler or secretly she’s Willy Wonka in disguise. I cannot resist. Or maybe I could if only vegan chocolate manufacturers could up their game a bit. I mean, seriously – where are the pralines? The truffles? The creamy, nutty, caramel chocolate bars? You can’t let Booja-Booja monopolise the high-quality vegan chocolate market forever (not until I get a paying job, anyway).
And someone has got to make vegan chocolate sea shells.
You know them – those pretty little marbled seashells with chocolate praline filling, the ones that melt on your tongue, make you throw your head back in your neck, eyes close, and unashamedly proclaim, ‘HHHMMMMMMMMMMM.’ Yes, those ones.
Guylians Chocolate Seashells Lookalikes
For the praline:
80g (1/2 cup) soft brown sugar
60ml (1/4 cup) water
100g (3/4 cup) hazelnuts
100g (3.5 oz) creamed coconut
300g (10.5 oz) plain chocolate, roughly chopped
Line a rectangular platter or baking tray with non-stick baking parchment.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, dissolve the brown sugar in the water. Raise the heat a little and boil till the caramel is reduced by half. Keep a close eye on the saucepan; caramel easily burns. Swirl the pan to prevent any burning and sticking.
Add the hazelnuts to the caramel, coating each hazelnut, then pour onto the baking parchment. Leave to cool for at least ten minutes, or until the caramel has hardened on the hazelnuts.
Pulse to a fine powder in a food processor.
Melt the creamed coconut and plain chocolate au bain-marie, i.e. in a heatproof bowl suspended over a saucepan of boiling water. When completely melted, fold in the fine hazelnut powder. Set aside to cool before refrigerating for at least half an hour.
Press the chocolate praline filling into 24 lightly greased seashell moulds. A silicone mould is always easiest to work with. Refrigerate for at least two hours, until firmly set.
For the marbled chocolate coating:
100g (3.5 oz) vegan milk chocolate buttons
100g (3.5 oz) vegan white chocolate buttons
125ml (1/2 cup) soya cream (soy creamer), divided
Pour half of the soya cream into one small saucepan. Add the white chocolate and gently heat until melted. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine and pour into a large shallow bowl. Set aside for now. Clean out your saucepan and repeat this process with the remaining cream and the white chocolate.
Pour the melted white chocolate in a swirling pattern into the milk chocolate. Use a toothpick, knife-point or chopstick to swirl and criss-cross the two chocolates together, but do not blend them. You want to create distinct white and brown patterns.
Remove the pralines from their moulds. Dip each one into the white and milk chocolate mixture, then place flat side down onto a plate. Repeat with each praline.
Refrigerate at least 6 hours, but preferably overnight, to allow to fully set. You can place them in the freezer to speed up the setting process.
Which kind of chocolate would you like to see veganized?