Dark chocolate and salted caramel ganache squares – the perfect indulgent after dinner treat.
Did you know that this week is Chocolate Week? Despite having a calendar with them all in, I’m not particularly good at organising myself to post recipes to fit in with all of the national food days, weeks and months (there’s just so many!). However, I’ve usually got something chocolatey in the making so this was one week I was confident I wasn’t going to miss.
Today’s recipe was inspired by my recent trip to the River Cottage where after lunch we were served some delicious ganache squares. I swear they said they were dark chocolate and salted caramel, but others have told me they think they were just dark chocolate. Anyway, whether their version included salted caramel or not, I decided that I was going to make some that did.
By lucky coincidence, I was recently sent some Lindt dark chocolate to try and I knew that it would be perfect for this recipe. Lindt is one of my favourite chocolates to work with. For starters it tastes yummy, but it’s also quite forgiving when you melt it compared to some other brands. I pretty much always melt chocolate over a very low direct heat and I’ve never had a problem with it overheating and going grainy.
Now this is a very rich, grown up recipe. Usually dark chocolate has about 70% cocoa solids, but to make a clear contrast between the chocolate and the salted caramel I went for 85%. The richness of the chocolate means that you’ll only want one (oh OK, maybe two 🙂 ) so it’s perfect as an after dinner treat with coffee if you have guests (although we didn’t, we ate them watching Downton Abbey at the weekend).
I made ganache squares as I think it sounds fancier than truffles (what do you think?) and the ones at the River Cottage were square. However, cutting ganache squares is a little tricky, so if you’re in a hurry then rolling the ganache into balls works just as well (it’s also a great way to use up any offcuts from the edges or wonky squares that went a bit wrong). I still haven’t fully made my mind up whether I actually prefer squares or balls, so I’ve shared them both!
If you find your ganache starting to get a little soft as you’re working with it, pop it back into the fridge for a bit to harden again.
To add a little extra something special to the chocolates they’re sprinkled in cocoa powder mixed with edible glitter. It gives them a nice sparkle. However, it’s just there for decoration so if you don’t have any, plain cocoa powder would work just fine.
Dark Chocolate and Salted Caramel Ganache Squares... or Truffles!
For the salted caramel
- 150 g granulated sugar
- 90 ml single cream - or 45ml double cream and 45ml full-fat milk
- 45 g butter
- ½ tsp salt
For the ganache
- 150 g 85% cocoa solids dark chocolate - I used Lindt
- 100 ml double cream
To finish them off
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder - approx
- A pinch of gold edible glitter - optional
Make the salted caramel
- Measure out all of the caramel ingredients (except the salt) into separate bowls (150g granulated sugar, 45g butter, 90ml single cream). Cut the butter into small cubes.
- Put the sugar into a large saucepan spread evenly across the bottom, and place it onto a medium heat.
- Leave the sugar alone until it has started to melt, then as it melts gently tilt the saucepan to help the unmelted sugar at the top. If there is a small amount of unmelted sugar you can use a spatula to carefully stir it in.
- Once all of the sugar has melted continue to stir gently with the spatula until it has turned a light brown colour.
- As soon as the caramel is light brown, carefully add the butter and whisk rapidly until the butter has melted and is completely combined.
- Turn off the heat and add the cream, again whisking rapidly until combined.
- Add the salt (½ tsp) and mix thoroughly.
- Put into a bowl or jug, cover and refrigerate to cool.
Make the ganache
- Break the chocolate (150g) into pieces and place into a saucepan.
- Heat on a very low heat until the chocolate has melted, stirring continuously.
- Once the chocolate has melted pour it into a bowl and add the double cream (100ml) and beat rapidly until the chocolate and cream are combined. Continue to beat until the mixture has cooled to room temperature and looks smooth and glossy.
- Pour in the salted caramel and mix thoroughly to combine.
What you do next depends on whether you're making truffle balls or ganache squares...
If you're making truffle balls
- Pour in the ganache. into a container, cover and put into the fridge for at least an hour to set.
- Once the ganache has set, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder (and a pinch of edible glitter if you like) onto a work surface.
- Use a teaspoon to scoop out a little ganache. Using your hands roll it into a ball and then roll it in the cocoa powder until coated.
- Place the finished balls on a tray and return them to the fridge until you're ready to serve.
If you're making ganache squares
- Line a small baking tray/box with cling film (I used a 17cm x 10cm loaf tin). Try to make it as smooth as possible.
- Cover and leave to set in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Once the ganache has set, sprinkle cocoa powder onto a clean surface (it needs to be well coated to help stop the ganache from sticking when you turn it out) and turn the ganache out onto the surface. Carefully peel off the clingfilm.
- Sprinkle the top of the ganache with more cocoa powder (and a pinch of edible glitter).
- Get a bowl of hot water and a large sharp knife. Dip the knife into the water, dry it and quickly make one cut in the ganache (the heat on the knife helps to make a cleaner cut). Repeat, dipping the knife in the hot water, drying and cutting until all of your ganache is cut.
- Carefully move the ganache squares onto the dish you wish to serve them on, loosely cover and return to the fridge until you're ready to serve.
Any nutritional information provided is the estimated nutritional information per serving. Please refer to my guide to Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen nutritional information if you would like to learn more about how this is calculated.
Free From/Suitable For…
- Suitable for vegetarians
The ingredients for this recipe are commonly available free from all these allergens. However, please ensure you double-check allergen information for all ingredients.