But every once in a while, call it my "mid-point stretch" between Hanukkah and Christmas, then Christmas and New Years, I need a teeny-tiny break. I'm not talking anything dire (there's still chocolate), but I like to ease up for a day or two with recipes that my system finds easiest to process. For me, that means less dairy, less refined sugar when I can help it, and as much green stuff as I can get my hands on. When I find a holiday recipe that fits any part of that bill, I cling on hard.
They were so delightfully creamy, so deeply chocolate-y, and so perfectly textured that I couldn't believe that they came from just two ingredients (dark chocolate, and coconut milk) and only about 10 minutes of active work. And they're vegan?!, I thought, doing one of those "pffft"-I-don't-believe-it noises most often seen in children's cartoons, and consequently spraying truffle all over my kitchen.
There was no question: these had earned a permanent spot in my holiday rotation. Both for my "mid-point stretch" days, and the ones with holiday-cookie-marathon—they're that good. However, because I am who I am, I couldn't help but riff on the recipe a bit each time I made it.
In the original recipe, Shultz provides the option of including vanilla extract, which I tried and loved. She outlines how to decorate (a quick roll-around in cocoa); I tried and loved that, as well. She notes that adding ground hazelnuts in the mix would lend more of a Nutella spin. I can confirm that three times over. But I didn't stop there, because I have very little self control (shout-out to all those latkes and Yorkshire puddings I mentioned!).
I got some salt into the mix, and adored the way it deepened the flavor and complexity of the chocolate, while subtly eradicating any tiny trace of coconut flavor from the milk (which, to be fair, was nearly nonexistent to begin with). I modified the technique for melting chocolate (and the ratio, just a hair), to make it fool-proof for me. Then, I tried a version with a touch of peppermint extract and fell in love. Like, stop-talking-to-all-of-your-friends-for-days-because-you're-obsessed-with-your-new-boyfriend love. Not only did the peppermint twist hit that refreshing combination I treasure so greatly, but it also made these little guys exceptionally festive for the winter holidays.
I absolutely loved the three-ingredient version (plus salt), and could eat about 100 at a time. But once I realized I could give them a cocoa dusting and a little hat of crushed peppermint candy as a garnish—which, should you choose to partake, would take you from just three ingredients to five—there was only one thing left to do: make a quadruple batch, and give them to everyone I know as holiday gifts.
And you know what? I haven't received a single return request.
Ella Quittner is a a writer at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner. She also develops recipes for Food52, and has a soft spot for all pasta, anything spicy, and salty chocolate things.