Saturday, October 30, 2010

Raspberry Truffles and Chocolate Rice Krispies Bavarian Cream Bars (both vegan friendly)

For the longest time I was feeling really inspired to bake bread and do whole grain baking. I still love to do both, but my current obsession is making vegan versions of fancy-pants desserts. Just in time for the holidays! I have been experimenting with different kinds of dairy substitutes and have found a few winners, things that work well and taste good.

The truffles and the bars are both from Sherry Yard, and neither is originally vegan. I'll give you the recipes straight from the books, and then I'll show where I've made vegan substitutions, and what products I used.

I've made truffles a zillion times, and these were extra special with the addition of fresh raspberries, and surprisingly, no heavy cream. They are sort of soft, so I like to keep them in the fridge.

Raspberry Ganache (truffles)
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (or vegan margarine)
1 cup raspberries, pureed and strained at room temperature
cocoa powder for coating truffles

Using a serrated knife, finely chop the chocolate into 1/4-inch pieces and place in a medium heatproof bowl. Place over a saucepan of simmering water and melt the chocolate. Cool to 100F. In a microwave or in a small saucepan, melt the butter and allow it to cool 100F, pour the butter into the chocolate. Using a rubber spatula, stir in a circular motion, starting from the center of the bowl and working out to the sides.

Stir in the raspberry puree with the same circular motion.

Allow the ganache to cool to 70F, at which point you can roll it into small balls for truffles. Dip each ball into cocoa powder until it's lightly covered.

I like to store truffles in the fridge in a tightly sealed container.

The Rice Krispies Bavarian Cream Bars are fabulous! They are Dave's newest favorite dessert. I love the contrast of the dense chocolate Krispies crust and the light cream topping. My bars came out a bit on the soft side, (I may have had some measurement mishaps), but I kept them in the freezer until serving and they stayed just perfectly firm but not too hard.

Chocolate Rice Krispies Bars Topped with Ovaltine and Milk Chocolate Bavarian Cream
For the bars:

8 ounces milk chocolate, preferably Valrhona Jivara (or vegan milk chocolate)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup Rice Krispies
pinch of salt

For the cream topping:

8 ounces milk chocolate, preferably Valrhona Jivara ( or vegan milk chocolate)
2 cups heavy cream (or vegan whipped cream substitute-see below for suggestions)
1/2 cup Ovaltine (I used plain cocoa powder since it's dairy-free)

To make the bars: Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler. With a rubber spatula, stir in the oil and mix until it is incorporated and the mixture is shiny. Fold in the Rice Krispies and salt. Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pan. Place in the refrigerator.

To make the Bavarian cream: Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring 1 cup of cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan and whisk in 1/3 cup of the Ovaltine. Whisk vigorously to break up any lumps as you bring the mixture to a boil. Pour the mixture over the chocolate. Tap the bowl on your work surface to settle the chocolate into the cream and let sit for 1 minute, then whisk until smooth. Let cool to room temperature.

Whip the remaining 1 cup cream to soft peaks. Fold half the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining cream. Remove the Rice Krispies base from the refrigerator and spread Bavarian cream over it in an even layer. Tap the pan lightly against your work surface to flatten the top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Just before serving, dust the top with the remaining Ovaltine. To serve, run a knife along the inside of the pan and unmold. Using a warm knife, cut into 4 x 1-inch bars or 1-inch squares.

Vegan Ingredient Options:

Vegan chocolate- there are quite a few brands of good quality dark chocolate that are naturally vegan. There are also vegan specific bars. Read this to learn all about vegan chocolate options.

Vegan cream substitutes- these are the three I use on a regular basis:

MimicCreme- has a faint nutty flavor but works well with dark chocolate. It's really nice and thick. Since it doesn't have to be refrigerated until you open it, I like to keep a couple of these on hand.
MimicCreme Cream Substitute, Unsweetened, 16-Ounce Aseptic Boxes (Pack of 6)

Coconut Milk Creamer- I really like the coconut flavor.

Soyatoo- I love this stuff! You can buy the whippable version, or the already whipped kind that comes in a can. The canned soy cream is so yummy and does not have any discernible soy taste.

MimicCreme has a new whipped cream substitute, Healthy Top. I've tried it once and I'm so-so about it. It works well and tastes pretty good, but it takes a bit getting used to. It sort of reminds me of Cool Whip. Still, I'll probably keep some on hand to use in recipes and for topping ice cream.
MimicCreme Non-Dairy Whippable Cream Substitute, 16-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 6)

To make homemade coconut whipped cream, just whip the very top, thick layer in a can of coconut milk. It's not as stiff as some of the cream substitutes, but it has a fabulous coconut flavor.

The Secrets of Baking: Simple Techniques for Sophisticated Desserts

Desserts by the Yard: From Brooklyn to Beverly Hills: Recipes from the Sweetest Life Ever


  1. Both look awesome! And thank you for the info on the vegan products.

  2. I think it's great that you're vegan-izing desserts! These both look delicious. I like Cool Whip, so maybe I'd like the Healthy Top! The coconut whipped cream sounds really good too.