Monday, January 10, 2011

Caramel-Dark Chocolate Truffles with Fleur de Sel (or Hawaiian Pink Salt)

Another truffle recipe. Well, I was on a truffle roll. Everywhere you turn these days, there seems to be another version of caramel/fleur de sel recipes. I actually hadn't tried one, but found these online (again, via Bon Appetit) and they looked delicious enough to try. And since I was already in a truffle-y mood, why not? I was not, however, about to go out hunting for the magical mystical fleur de sel that the recipe advocated. I had kosher salt, sea salt, flavored salt, and even Hawaiian pink salt (a gift from a friend) in my cupboard. I was not about to go out and buy yet another version of salt for truffles. 

Although I was curious as to what the big deal was with the product all of a sudden. It seems everywhere chefs are advocating using it instead of regular salt but for all my searching, I'm still not sure why. Apparently, it is supposed to have a more delicate flavor than regular sea salt (and the fact that it is "hand harvested" always goes a long way for gourmet products) but I haven't found anywhere that says you can't substitute a regular sea salt for any recipe that calls for it.
So hey, if you have it, by all means, go ahead and use it. I used the pink sea salt just because I thought it looked nice. And they still tasted delicious.  

Ingredients 

20 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, divided
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
2/3 cup whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel (or sea salt or, for me, Hawaiian pink sea salt)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Additional fleur de sel (or whatever salt you're using)

Method

Place 8 ounces chocolate in metal bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water); stir until chocolate is smooth (This part can be tricky. For help with this, see my note for Gingerbread Truffles). Remove chocolate from over water.

Combine sugar and 2 tablespoons water in small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves, occasionally brushing sides of pan with wet pastry brush. Increase heat; boil until syrup is deep amber color, brushing down sides and swirling pan occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add cream (mixture will bubble). Stir over very low heat until caramel is smooth. Mix caramel and 1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel into melted chocolate. Chill until truffle filling is firm, at least 3 hours.

Place cocoa in bowl. Using 1 tablespoon truffle filling for each truffle, roll into balls, then roll in cocoa. Arrange on baking sheet. Cover; chill overnight.

Line 13x9x2-inch baking sheet with foil. Place remaining 12 ounces chocolate in medium metal bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water); stir until chocolate is melted and smooth and thermometer inserted into chocolate registers 115°F. Remove bowl from over water. Working quickly, submerge 1 truffle in melted chocolate. Using fork, lift out truffle and tap fork against side of bowl to allow excess coating to drip off. Transfer truffle to prepared sheet.

Repeat with remaining truffles. Sprinkle truffles lightly with additional fleur de sel. Let stand until coating sets, at least 1 hour. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

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