I’ve always been a fan of salty sweet things. First it started with salty caramel then salt and chocolate. Last year something really interesting appeared at my local Vosges chocolate shop here in Soho: bacon and chocolate. It was good, but not amazing. I knew it could be better. So for this holiday season, instead of buying gifts, I decided to make a NYC delicacy and bring it back to DC for my family and friends, bacon truffles. It is important to get smoky bacon; it adds a much better depth of flavor. I choose a hickory smoked bacon but you could use apple wood smoked bacon as well. I also buy my chocolate in blocks from the specialty section of WholeFoods. High quality chocolate is what makes truffles so luxurious.
2 12oz packages of hickory smoked bacon
2 ½ pounds great quality semi sweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound semi sweet chocolate
The first step is to render the fat off of the bacon and make it into bacon bits for the final garnish. Chop the bacon into very fine pieces and cook it in a heavy pan on medium high heat. Stir the bacon intermittently to make sure that it browns and crisps easily. Once the bacon starts to get close to a dark red color and looks crispy, remove it to a dish lined with several paper towels. The bacon will continue to cook once it is removed, so make sure you remove it early enough so that it doesn’t burn as it cools. Set aside 1/3 cup of the bacon fat, without any bacon bits.
Chop the chocolate into small chunks. Place it into a large metal bowl. Add the cream, fat and salt. Place the chocolate bowl over a pot filled with water on medium heat. Let the chocolate steam over the water for at least 10 minutes. Using a whisk, once the chocolate is melted, start in the center of the bowl and slowly whisk to combine into a silky ganache. Remove the chocolate from the heat and let to cool to room temperature.
Using two teaspoons, spoon out balls of ganache onto baking trays lined with parchment paper. Roll the balls into globes with your hands. If your hands are super warm like mine are, or if your ganache is still too soft, place the trays in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up the confections.
Chop the last block of chocolate and place it into a medium size metal bowl. Place it over a pot of water on medium high heat, stirring with a rubber spatula intermittently. Let the chocolate melt completely. Pick up some of the melted chocolate with the spatula; drop it back into the pool of chocolate. If the falling chocolate sinks into the rest of the melted chocolate the temper is broken. If it still piled up on top of the surface, continue to heat the chocolate. Once the chocolate is fully melted, move the medium size bowl into a larger metal bowl that is a quarter full of ice and cold water. Continue to mix the chocolate, paying special attention to mix in the hardening chocolate that is sticking to the sides of the bowl. Test the chocolate to see if the temper has returned, life some of the melted chocolate out of the bowl and drizzle it back into the pool of melted chocolate. Once the temper has returned, the chocolate will stack up on itself as opposed to sinking back into the bowl.
Drop the ganache balls into the melted chocolate. Roll them to coat and extract them using two small spoons. Place the coated truffles onto the parchment paper and sprinkle with a healthy amount of the bacon pits. If you really love bacon, roll the chocolates into the bacon to coat completely. Cool the finished truffles in the refrigerator. Store the truffles in an air tight container until ready to serve.