A life of crime, averted

Friday night was everything that this girl from the suburbs- who used to live in the Big City-dreams of: a dinner party with good friends in a cool and elegant loft, amazing art on every wall, fabulous food, delicious and rare wines, and sparkling and meaty conversations. Pure heaven. And, if all of that were not enough, at the end of dinner, after the elegant meal and dessert, a plate of beautiful chocolate truffles emerged from the kitchen-bonus round!

By that point in the evening, there was no sense in holding back- the diet was already blown to smithereens. So I didn’t…and neither did my friend Kristen. If you are going to sin, it is always so reassuring to have a fellow partner in crime! We dove in and there was no stopping us. The truffles were not just chocolate- they were chocolate caramel, with sea salt. Ohhhh…they were so good. We each had one and then sat on our hands to keep ourselves from taking more while the plate was passed around the dining room table. We caught each other’s eye across the table…we both wanted more. When enough time had passed that it was not too unseemly, we dove in for seconds.

As we left, Kristen announced that it was all she could do not to take the truffle plate and dump the whole thing in her purse on the way out the door. I was totally with her. Partners in crime, indeed.

I came home, went to bed, and woke up thinking of truffles. So, I did what any girl with a food blog would do- I sat down at my computer and did a Google search for a recipe. In two seconds one was at my fingertips. So yesterday found me playing with chocolate- and by jove, I did it! It took a few cracks- but my Chocolate Caramel Truffles with Sea Salt were as good, if not better, than the Tribeca wonders I had had the night before. Mine garnered huge praise from all the eaters in this house.

So, to Kristen, my partner in imagined crime, I say: “Who needs to steal ‘em on the way out the door? Just make ‘em the next day!”

Recipe Note: Because this recipe is all about chocolate, splurge and use the really good stuff for both the semi-sweet chocolate and the cocoa.

Chocolate- Caramel Truffles with Sea Salt
Adapted from Bon Appetit, January 2004
Makes about 30

8 ounces of very good quality semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 c sugar
2 T water
2/3 c heavy cream
¼ t sea salt
½ c unsweetened cocoa powder- preferably very good quality
Additional sea salt for garnish

1. Place chocolate in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water. Allow chocolate to melt and stir until chocolate is smooth. Remove chocolate from over the water and set aside.
2. Gently warm the heavy cream. Meanwhile, combine the 2 T of water and sugar in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil until syrup is a deep amber color, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes.
3. Add the warm cream to the sugar syrup (mixture will bubble). Stir over very low heat until caramel is smooth. NOTE: the sugar syrup may harden when you add the warm cream- do not worry, it will melt- just keep stirring the mixture over the heat until it reincorporates.
4. Mix caramel and ¼ teaspoon of sea salt into melted chocolate. Chill truffle filling until firm- at least 3 hours.
5. Place cocoa powder in a bowl. Using 1 tablespoon of truffle filling for each truffle, roll into bowls, then roll in cocoa. Garnish with sea salt and arrange on a baking sheet. Cover, chill until firm.

Can be made a week in advance. Cover and chill. Bring back to room temperature before serving.


One Comment

  1. charity appell mcnabb
    Posted November 11, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

    You made this sound so enticing I decided I had to try. It was my first attempt at a truffle. Very messy. I exchanged the cocoa powder for espresso powder. (It is good living near the King Arthur Flour store.) I really enjoy your blog, not just for the good recipes, but for the sunny manner and for your love of sharing food and good company. Thanks!

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