Nama Chocolate: Celebrate Valentines in a Japanese Fashion

Nama chocolates are a really popular kind of confection that is a blend of Japanese dessert philosophy and Western ingredients. As someone who devoted an entire summer to researching Japanese sweets, known as wagashi, I learned a fair deal about nama chocolate. Nama means fresh or raw, and in this case, it refers to the freshly made sort of texture that the chocolate itself has; it’s essentially a frozen but creamy ganache. Most versions, namely the most iconic brand being Royce Chocolate, uses sake or alcohol in their recipes, as it allows the chocolate to gain that soft texture upon freezing it.

In the case for my recipe, I adapted it so that you don’t need alcohol in the traditional sense; vanilla extract contains alcohol, so using that will still yield the same texture as the normal nama chocolate, but it will have a more accessible ingredient list, as not everyone can just casually purchase alcohol.

That being said, nama chocolate is a great gift to make for Valentines Day, and if you get crafty, you can really make a lot of different kinds of them with just a few of the same ingredients. I’ve listed a handful of recipes for a variety of nama chocolate I’ve made in the past, but if they don’t encompass any of the flavors you like, try substituting the flavorings and experiment! With nama chocolate, it’s really hard to mess it up, so it’s a very easy recipe when it comes to adding ingredients and coming up with new flavors.

A side note, I included a vegan recipe, hence why I placed the vegan sticker on this recipe post. Aside from the noted vegan recipe, the other recipes are strictly vegetarian, and all recipes are gluten-free, unless otherwise noted.

For original:
1 cup dark chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
cocoa powder for dusting
potato or cornstarch* for dusting

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For vegan:
1 cup dark or semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup soy creamer or coconut milk
1 tablespoon nonhydrogenated vegan margarine, vegetable shortening, or coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
cocoa powder for dusting
potato or cornstarch* for dusting

For matcha:
1 1/4 cups white chocolate
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons matcha powder + more for dusting (about 1/4 cup matcha powder to 1 cup of starch)
potato or cornstarch* for dusting

For strawberry
1 1/4 cups white chocolate
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup strawberry powder** + more for dusting (about 1/4 cup strawberry powder to 1 cup of starch)
potato or cornstarch* for dusting

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For red velvet:
1 1/4 cups white chocolate
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon cream cheese
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon red food coloring or 1 dot dark red food coloring gel
potato or cornstarch* for dusting

For samoa or Caramel Delight:
1/2 cup dark chocolate
1/4 cup milk chocolate
1/4 cup toffee or butterscotch chips
1/2 cup coconut milk; divided into four parts
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
toasted desiccated coconut for dusting (equal parts coconut to potato starch)
potato or cornstarch* for dusting

For mocha almond fudge:
1 cup semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
cocoa powder for dusting (1/4 cup powder to 1 teaspoon espresso to 1 cup of starch)
ground espresso for dusting
potato or cornstarch* for dusting

For Ferrero Rocher:
1 cup dark chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon Nutella
1/2 cup crushed hazelnuts
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
cocoa powder for dusting (1/4 cup powder to 1 teaspoon Ovaltine to 1 cup of starch)
Ovaltine*
potato or cornstarch* for dusting

*if you use cornstarch instead of potato starch, the recipe will no longer be gluten-free.
**to make strawberry powder, take freeze-dried strawberries, which you can buy from Trader Joe’s, and grind them into a fine powder, making sure to sift to remove lumps.

For the recipes, the processes are the same. You start by melting chocolate over a double boiler with the butter (or butter substitute for the vegan recipe or cream cheese in the case of the red velvet), then you add in the cream, extract, and the other flavorings. Spray a shallow baking pan with cooking spray and pour the chocolate ganache into the tray. Freeze. Once the entire block of solid, dust a surface with the dusting powders and place the block onto that. Run a knife under hot water, and then wipe so it’s dry. Quickly slice through the chocolate block, being sure to re-run the knife under hot water and drying between slices, and dust the chocolate with the powder. Allow the chocolates to firm in the freezer before serving.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s