Caramel-Dark Chocolate Truffles with Fleur de Sel (courtesy of Bon Appetit)
3 notes before I get to the description.
1 We halved this recipe, and used the little bit of extra chocolate in the second part to dip strawberries. It was perfect for that.
We did not follow the instructions exactly as written in the recipe. We followed the ingredients, but the process is where we changed. More on that below.
3. Fleur de sel is available in bulk at Central Market (gourmet grocery store in Austin, of the HEB chain). It might be available at similar groceries in places that are not fortunate enough to have Central Market.
We used Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate, available in the baking aisle. The husband chopped it up into small pieces, then it went on the stove. The recipe called for a metal bowl on top of a pot of water, but we used one of the pyrex ones instead, and stirred almost constantly to keep the chocolate melting at an even temperature and to keep it smooth. That got set aside once it was melted and we started on the caramel. There is a very delicate point when boiling sugar and water where it goes from being completely clear to having a gorgeous amber hue to it, and this one was no exception. (The husband wanted me to interject with a comment on the recipe. It says to “brush down” the sides of the pan while all of this sugar water boiling is happening. It is tricky to brush down the sides of the pan. We found that keeping a small bowl of water nearby, and dipping the brush in the water before and after brushing down the sides, kept the brush from getting too sticky. We also tended to brush around more than down. It must have worked ok, because the recipe came out great.) Back to my beautiful amber gooey pot. The hardest part of this recipe was this step, the addition of the whipping cream to the caramel. It said to stir until smooth, but we did not know exactly when that point was. The caramel was clumping at the bottom of the pot, and the cream did not seem to want to combine with it, but it eventually did. Keeping it over the warm burner (it was turned off) helped. The addition of the salt and the caramel to the chocolate was no problem, and the whole thing went into the fridge for 3 hours, which ended up being more like 4 hours by the time we got it back out.
When the filling comes out of the fridge, it will be HARD. The husband was afraid he had broken our melon baller trying to make little balls. The ice cream scoop worked well, and his hands got very messy rolling the filling, but he did say that the heat from his hands helped soften the filling enough to roll it, and enabled the cocoa powder to stick easily.
The next part of the recipe is where we substantially changed our procedure. Because it was Sunday already, and we wanted these little guys for dessert Sunday night, we did not chill the rolled balls over night. I doubt we chilled them for more than an hour before coating them, and they were still amazing. The salt provides a nice relief from the sweet caramel, and the bittersweet chocolate tops off the deep richness.