A Culinary Journey
Instead of starting with something easy, I decided to make my first attempt at truffles seasonal by getting a little creative. What says fall like a bright red apple, dipped in caramel and rolled in chopped nuts? Okay, I can think of a few ideas, but I’m saving those for another weekend.
These truffles are rather non-traditional (perhaps I shouldn’t be calling them truffles?) as the ganache filling is dipped in caramel instead of a firm chocolate coating or rolled in confectioner’s sugar or cocoa powder. The flavor is unique, but everyone who has tried these has loved them! The center is an apple and milk chocolate combination paired with a sweet, soft caramel coating, and the nuts sprinkled on the outside lend both a hint of flavor as well as a little crunch. I was hoping the center would have a little stronger apple flavor, so I might try using apple extract next time instead of a reduced juice concentrate. I’m also looking forward to making salted caramels with the caramel left over from this recipe, so look for that coming soon!
Yield: 60 truffles using 1.5 tsp. scoop
Filling:2/3 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed 1/3 cup heavy cream 12 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
- Simmer apple juice concentrate in small saucepan until volume is reduced by half. (~15 min).
- While stirring, add cream to apple juice concentrate and bring to boil.
- Place chopped chocolate in large bowl. Pour boiling juice/cream mixture over chocolate and gently stir with whisk until smooth. –tasted them here, apple flavor not as strong as I’d like; they taste more like caramel it seems than apple.
- Cover and refrigerate until firm. (I just left them overnight)
- Once firm, use scooper to form balls of filling. Roll between hands for more spherical shape, place on cookie sheet, and refrigerate (or freeze) until firm.
Caramel Coating:1 cup butter 2 cups packed brown sugar 1 cup light corn syrup 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk 2 teaspoons vanilla 1 cup chopped peanuts
- Melt the butter in saucepan. Add brown sugar; stir till thoroughly combined. Stir in light corn syrup; mix well. Gradually add milk stirring constantly. Cook and stir over medium heat till candy reaches firm ball stage (245 degrees) about 30-40 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
- Cool slightly, but must still be liquid enough for dipping.
- Using a dipping spiral, dip filling balls into caramel then tap off excess. Place on wax paper, sprinkle with chopped nuts, and place in fridge to harden.
- After all balls are dipped, pour excess caramel into buttered 8×8 pan and cool to harden.
- Store in fridge for up to 2 weeks.
I can not claim to be an expert, but my preferred chocolate is Nói Síríus (http://noi.is/English/English), an Icelandic brand that can be found at Whole Foods stores or at select online vendors. It is sold in 7.05 oz. packages of two bars and comes in four different varieties: 33% milk, 45% semi-sweet, 56% bittersweet, and 70% extra bitter dark chocolate. One quality of particular interest to some is that this chocolate is vegan (though just to clarify, my recipes are not). It seems to quite reasonably priced in comparison to other specialty brands. I don’t have enough experience with luxury chocolates to give a proper assessment of how this matches up in flavor. However, this is currently my favorite chocolate and thus I will be using it for all of my truffle recipes unless otherwise noted.