Sunday, January 1, 2012

dark chocolate salty balls

Making and gifting homemade chocolate truffles has long been a tradition for me. So much so that my friends now expect them. My usual suspects are Bailey's truffles but this year I went a lil' crazy and made dark chocolate truffles with sea salt, or as we affectionately called them, dark chocolate salty balls! (And I haven't even seen that South Park episode!) While they may seem decadent, truffles are easy to make and include only a few basic ingredients: chocolate, butter, whipping cream, vanilla.

300 g dark chocolate bar - I use the extra dark chocolate bar by President's Choice. While not the highest quality chocolate, it's rich, dark and, at $3.99, it's a steal.
1 2/3 c. whipping cream, best at room temperature
10 T. butter
3 T. vanilla - I strongly recommend real vanilla as it is clearly superior in flavor. Feel free to substitute with other flavors such as almond extract, Baileys, Kahlua, or Grand Marnier. The possibilities are endless.
optional: 2 x 300 g dark chocolate bars for dipping, sea salt

Chop the chocolate into chunks and combine with the butter in a double boiler or a steel bowl set atop a pot of water. With the pot on medium, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally. It is extremely important not to get any water in the bowl so there is no need for a rapid boil. When thoroughly melted and shiny, remove from the heat. Allow to cool for several minutes. Combine with the whipped cream, whisking til smooth. Whisk in vanilla. Cover and refrigerate several hours or until you are ready to roll. Some folks use a melon baller but I use a plain ol' teaspoon and my hands. Put on a Christmas movie and roll away! Freeze the balls until hard or refrigerate overnight. Now comes the hardest part, dipping the truffles in chocolate. If you prefer, you can easily roll the balls in chopped nuts, cocoa, or powered sugar but because I figure go big or go home, I chose to dip them in the same extra dark chocolate. Using the same double boiler procedure, melt two more dark chocolate bars. Now, with a fork in one hand and a tooth pick in another, dip those balls! To clarify, use the fork to hold the truffle while dipping, tapping the side of the bowl to shake off excess chocolate. The toothpick with help push the truffle off the fork and clean up any large drops at the base of the truffle. Dust with sea salt if desired. Don't be scared. It compliments the dark chocolate extremely well. Just be sure to tell others, say your nephew, it's salt and not sugar!

This makes several dozen so feel free to resize the recipe for your own purposes.