Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Milk Chocolate Caramel Apple Truffles

WATER GANACHE. This is an exciting day!
My first successful water ganache it strange that these are the things I get excited about...? Well, anyways, being that it's fall [and my favorite time of year, along with winter and summer-nothing exciting happens in spring] I have been trying to keep these recipes very seasonal and in keeping with our seasonal flavors...what says fall and [almost] Halloween better than a caramel apple!
Apples, in general, go hand in hand with the fall season, although that was something that I never really knew until coming to New York. Being from Southern California, we just kind of have produce all year round...[spoiled[us, not the produce]- yes!] So I never knew that apples were harvested in the fall. Now knowing this, I wish I could have gone apple picking this year [crossing fingers for next year]. And  of course, it makes complete sense that many Halloween things revolve around the apple: bobbing for apples, caramel apples, spiced apple cider, hard cider- yum yum yum.
So, caramel apples being one of my favorite desserts - ESPECIALLY Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Caramel Apples! They not only dip their crisp and delicious granny smith apples in chewy caramel, but then they go another ten steps further and add chocolate, cookies, m&ms, graham crackers, fudge, and nuts! I decided that making a caramel apple chocolate truffle would be DELICIOUS. I decided to make this a water ganache, because I wanted to make sure that it was a strong apple flavor, and in order to do that i used....APPLE CIDER.
I went to a local farmers market in the east village and picked up a container of Red Jacket Orchards Apple Cider - and I am not usually a fan of cider [or juice in general, I'd just rather have water] but I can't stop drinking this stuff! It doesn't have any added sugar, it literally just contains the juices squeezed from apples, its amazing.
To add a caramel flavor, I actually made loose caramel sauce, using the apple cider. So [you will see in the recipe and pictures] I caramelized sugar [dry method] and then deglazed the pan with the apple cider, make a caramel apple liquid [which was delicious and would actually make a great hot drink!].
*also, this recipe says milk chocolate, I didn't actually use milk chocolate, I just used half dark and half white...which is my way of faking milk chocolate until i buy some- i suggest you use real milk chocolate, it will taste better :]*

Caramel Apple Truffles
Milk Chocolate: 300g
Apple Cider: 100g
Butter[softened]: 50g
Honey: 10g
Sugar: 30g

White Chocolate: for dipping
Caramel [for garnish]
Heavy Cream: 80g
Sugar: 130g
Butter: 60g

1. Temper milk chocolate and set aside
2. Caramelize sugar using the dry method
3. Add apple cider to sugar- BE CAREFUL, this mixture will boil up rapidly and look [and sound] like a scary volcano. don't panic. just stir carefully and slowly with a small whisk. when it stops bubbling up, turn the heat off and continue stirring until it is completely smooth.
4. Pour the hot caramel cider over the chocolate. mix until homogenous
5. Add in your soft butter
pour your finished ganache into a "frame" - i use large deep dish paper plates[they work perfectly]
allow the ganache to set up [i put mine in the fridge for a few hours]
Once it is firm, use a spoon or [if you're fancy] a melon baller! [really not necessary though] and scoop the ganache into small balls. go through and round the ganache [yes, it will melt a little in your hands, its ok!! its not ruining the ganache, just making your hands dirty- go wash them!]
Again, allow the ganache to sit and harden for at least an hour. in the meantime.......

sugar beginning to melt in hot pot

after adding cider to the caramel, making delicious golden caramel apple juice!

  Make the caramel to garnish with!
1. Caramelize sugar [dry method] just like before
2. This time, add in the heavy cream, and stir with whisk.
3. Take off of heat and stir in the butter.
At this point, you will have a delicious caramel sauce, although it will be very liquid. in order to make it thicker [you don't have to, but i prefer thicker caramel] you simply need to boil the mixture. 
[remember, by boiling the caramel, you are removing water, concentrating the solution, and making it denser-THICKER!]
I boiled my caramel sauce for less than a minute and got exactly what I was going for :D

caramelized sugar
adding cream turns the liquid into...
a boiling volcano of sugary hotness!
After butter is added, golden, delicious, creamy, caramel.

 To Finish...
1. Dip ganache centers in white chocolate using the toothpick dipping method
2. Once the chocolate begins to set, drizzle [or pipe!] caramel on top of truffles.
3. EAT.

*i hope you try this recipe, it actually really came out delicious- it is very sweet. Although, I think I will someday return to this recipe and alter it a little. I would like to have a stronger apple flavor come through in the ganache....what do you think?*

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