Food

The Story of the Salted Caramel Truffles

This post comes after the fact. In fact, nearly a whole month after the fact, but I decided to write a bit about it because I tried to re-make the recipe. For the second time, I’ve managed to successfully make  a batch of salted caramel truffles and not give someone food poisoning from it.

I learned the recipe last summer, when my brother and I attended a dessert making class. We learned a few different recipes: raspberry macarons, the Paris-Brest, glazed chestnuts, and these little beauties. My brother and I, being chocolate and caramel lovers, wanted to try these recipes – but there was one tiny little problem. We couldn’t get our hands on chocolate shells.

Oops.The thing is, strictly speaking, using chocolate shells isn’t “cheating”. In fact, our instructor – head dessert chef for the hotel we were cooking at – assured us well-known chocolatiers would order custom-made chocolate shells for their own use. It’s so common, they’re listed as an ingredient.

Of course, there was the other way of making your own chocolate shells if you had time to kill and the equipment for it: buy a mold, buy chocolate, melt down chocolate, temper the chocolate, mix it up, put it into the mold, let it set and then pour out the excess, hoping that it formed a thick enough layer, rinse and repeat with the other half, stick them together…

I went to the most remote parts of the city to find them in specialty stores, but I could not get my hands on them. So I resigned myself to never being able to replicate the little morsel of salted caramel-chocolate, until one day, in the Japanese bakery good store Tomizawa, I saw them.

Perfectly packaged chocolate shells, sitting in a neat row, in three different flavours: dark, milk, and white. I purchased them, and off I went to fulfill my dream of a salted caramel truffle.

As it turns out, it’s not quite as hard as you’d have imagined, nor as risky. I did burn my finger on the caramel once entirely by accident (the blister is now healing), and I forgot to let the caramel cool so that melted my poor test chocolate shell into a gloopy – but delicious – chocolate-caramel mess. The first batch of chocolate ganache was equally disastrous – too much cream, and too runny. I ended up having to put it into the freezer to set it before it was ready to roll.

But the end result was utterly, utterly worth it, with the still-warm caramel bursting out from its shell if you break the chocolate, even as the cocoa powder rises to your nostrils and makes you sneeze. It was such a success, I made it for my mother’s birthday, brought some back to university – and then made another batch because I had a few outraged friends demand why I made it when they were out of town.

There’s no moral to this story, just my little anecdote about another cooking experiment thankfully gone right. Of course, no one tell them how I ended up having to manually spoon all the filling into the chocolate shells because I stupidly forgot to buy a piping bag…

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