Baci are Italian truffles filled with decadent chocolate hazelnut cream. The name "baci" means kisses, and these rich chocolate confections are the perfect treat for Valentine's Day.
The process of recreating baci at home is pretty simple and they are made with only 5 ingredients. To make these vegan-friendly I used coconut milk to replace heavy cream, which is traditionally used in the ganache filling. Coconut milk chocolate ganache should be a staple in every vegan cook's repertoire. It is so rich and delicious and can be used in a variety of dessert applications like coating cakes or whipping it into a lush frosting.
Toasted hazelnuts are chopped and mixed into the ganache before is sets. Once the ganache has cooled and firmed up in the fridge it can be scooped into bite-sized mounds, which are then topped with a toasted whole hazelnut. The next step is to dip each mound of the filling into a bath of melted dark chocolate for their final coat of chocolatey goodness.
The ganache can be made a day in advance and kept chilled until you are ready to form the truffles. Use quality dark chocolate of around 70% cacao for an intense chocolate flavor. You may want to add sweetener to taste to the ganache filling as dark chocolate can sometimes be slightly bitter. Use full fat coconut milk, like the kind that is canned. The coconut milk does not need to be separated.
The Perfect Valentine’s Day Treat
- 1 cup 150g or 5.3 oz whole hazelnuts
- 1 ½ cups 318g or 11.25 oz. full fat coconut milk
- 2 cups 424g or 15 oz. chopped 70% dark chocolate, divided
- 2-3 tablespooons sweetener such as maple syrup or organic sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350˚F.
- Spread whole hazelnut into one layer on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven until golden brown and the oils start to release and become aromatic, about 10 minutes. Check them at 5 minutes and shake the pan to rotate the hazelnuts for even browning.
- Remove toasted hazelnuts from the oven and let them cool for about 10 minutes.
- Lay a kitchen towel out flat and transfer hazelnut to the center of the towel. Gather the ends together and shake and rub the hazelnuts around in the towel to remove their papery skin. Separate the nuts from the skins and discard the skins.
- Pick out 48 whole hazelnuts and set aside to use later. Blitz the remainder of hazelnuts in a food processor until they resemble a coarse meal.
- Make the ganache by heating up the coconut milk, sweetener and vanilla extract in a saucepan over medium heat. Heat the mixture to scalding but avoid bringing it to a boil.
- Remove the coconut milk from the heat and add ½ of the chopped chocolate (1 cup/212g/7.5oz). Let it sit for 10 seconds or so then whisk the chocolate into the mixture until it is silky smooth with a glossy shine.
- Stir the blitzed hazelnuts into the ganache then pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the ganache and refrigerate for at least one hour to cool and firm up the ganache.
- Line a ¼ sized baking sheet with parchment paper. When the ganache has set and cooled, take it out of the refrigerator and scoop it into rounded tablespoons. A small cookie scoop is helpful here. Transfer rounds to another parchment lined baking sheet as you go.
- Press 1 toasted whole hazelnut into the top of each ganache round. Pop the sheet pan into the freezer to chill and firm up the the ganache while you melt the chocolate coating in the next step..
- Melt ⅔ cup of the remaining chopped dark chocolate in a double boiler or a bowl set over a rolling simmer of water in a sauce pan. Once the chocolate has melted, remove the double boiler from the heat and stir in the remaining ⅓ cup of chopped chocolate.
- Take ganache rounds out of the freezer and dip them one by one into the melted chocolate. Use 2 forks to dip and coat the ganache rounds. With the truffle sitting on the fork, gently tap the fork on the edge of the bowl to remove any excess chocolate coating. Then transfer the truffle back to its place on the baking sheet to set.
- Once all the of truffles are coated in chocolate let them set at room temperature undisturbed until the chocolate coating has hardened with a shine. You can also pop them in the refrigerator or freezer to set but may lose some of the shine.
- The truffles are now ready to be enjoyed. Keep them in a sealed container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- Use full fat coconut milk, like the kind that is canned. The coconut milk does not need to be separated.