Calm the Shen Truffles

Leaving tomorrow for the NC Herb Association conference Wild Herb Weekend in Valle Crucis, NC! So excited! I’m going for the medicinal herb growers track, but when I saw the cooking competition I knew I had to enter.

best foods contest

One of the farmers at the market grows shiitakes and other medicinal mushrooms. He sells reishi mushroom powder for people to put into capsules themselves, which is significantly less expensive and higher quality than the pills in the health food store. Capsules are popular because reishi mushrooms are bitter and tough. In Chinese medicine, reishi mushrooms “nourish the heart and strengthen qi and blood to treat Heart and Spleen deficiencies that manifest in insomnia, forgetfulness, fatigue, listlessness and poor appetite.”

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I thought dark chocolate would be an unexpected combination with the bitter reishi mushrooms and what better way to combine them than decadent truffles! I asked one of the licensed acupuncturists at my office to help me find a gentle formula based on reishi that also had flavors that wouldn’t overwhelm chocolate. It didn’t take us long to find a simple formula.

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This will be a tough recipe to replicate unless you have access to a Chinese herbal dispensary, but you can make these truffles with just reishi mushroom powder. If you’re local, cultivated reishi powder is available from Southeast Mushroom at both the Alachua County Farmers Market and the Downtown Farmers Market. This was my first time making truffles but they’re so easy. Don’t skimp on the quality of the chocolate!

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Calm the Shen Truffles

7 oz 70% chocolate
2/3 c organic heavy cream
1 tbl sorghum molasses
6 grams ling zhi (reishi mushroom) powder
3 grams each: dang gui (angelica root), bai shao (white peony root), suan zao ren (zizyphus seed), and long yan rou (dried longan fruit)
cocoa powder, for rolling

Put the reishi powder and the rest of the herbs into a clean electric coffee grinder and grind until it’s a coarse powder. Measure out two heaping teaspoons and set aside.

Heat the cream and sorghum molasses in a small pan until almost boiling. Chop the chocolate and put into a small heatproof bowl. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate and beat gently until the chocolate is smooth. Let cool for 5 minutes in the bowl. Add the powdered herbs and beat again.

Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper. Scrape the chocolate mixture into the lined pan. Cover tightly. Set aside someplace cool for three hours. When the chocolate is set up, use a small scoop or two small spoons to form small balls. Roll the balls in cocoa powder and place then on a plate. Let them sit at least an hour to set up. Store in the fridge if necessary.

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