Chocolate Caramel Truffles Recipe

1 1/2 C. heavy cream
1/4 C. water
1 C. sugar
10 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1/2 C. unsweetened, Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 t. edible gold dust or luster dust (optional)

Put cream in small saucepan over medium heat and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat; keep warm while you make caramel.

Place water in medium saucepan over medium heat; add sugar. Stir constantly with wooden spoon or swirl pan frequently until sugar has dissolved and liquid is clear. Turn heat to high and boil rapidly, swirling pan occasionally (do not stir at this point) so the sugar cooks evenly, until it turns a deep golden brown. Remove pan from heat and immediately add warm cream - be careful, the mixture will rise and sputter, so you may want to wear an oven mitt on the hand holding the pan. Stir with wooden spoon to blend. If caramel has solidified, set pan back over low heat and stir until it melts again.

Place chopped chocolate in medium bowl and pour caramel over it. Let sit for 1 minute, then gently whisk mixture until it is blended and smooth. Cover and refrigerate until cold and solidified, about 2 to 3 hours.

To shape truffles, use a regular teaspoon to gently scrape out irregular "nuggets" from bowl. Shape gently into a ball and put truffles on parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate truffles 15 to 20 minutes, or until firm.

To coat truffles, sift cocoa into medium bowl. Whisk in gold dust, if desired, until evenly blended. Drop several truffles into bowl and quickly toss them in cocoa. Set each truffle into a small candy cup (or layer them in a storage container on sheets of parchment paper). Refrigerate, covered, until needed (they also freeze perfectly).

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 2 months. These truffles are soft enough to be eaten straight from the freezer, but are at their most sensuous, in both flavor and texture, after about 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature.

Makes 50 to 85 truffles, depending on size.

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