I can’t claim to be a whiskey connoisseur. I can, however, claim to be a very enthusiastic whiskey aficionado. I appreciate and savour any whiskey, whisky, scotch, bourbon, blend or whiskey-based liqueur, each for the very different type of fine spirits they are. There’s just something so rewarding about a tiny splash of golden liquor in a fancy glass at the end of a long day. Needless to say, I was super excited when I was introduced to The Dubliner Whiskey Caramel, imported by our good friends at Merriment & Co!
I first rubbed shoulders with this sexy little number at the Merriment & Co product launch earlier this year (for my blog on the launch, click here). The Dubliner Whiskey Caramel is a blend of Irish whiskey, honeycomb and caramel flavours. At the launch, she was cloaked in black velvet, and we all sat at the edge of our chairs at the unveiling. With gorgeously lush honey notes, The Dubliner Whiskey Caramel belongs in a league of her own. She’s feisty, but oh-so mellow. Smooth, but seductive. And now available to all us whiskey devotees right here in Cape Town!
I’ve been racking my brain for a few weeks on how to do this beautiful liqueur justice. I mean, there are only so many ways to describe the taste of a whiskey. But this is no ordinary whiskey, so it needed that little bit extra.
After many nights of pondering over…you guessed it…glasses of caramel whiskey, I decided that I should revert to what I know best. Food. I wondered about pairing it with a meal, or pairing it with a dessert. I wondered about pairing it with tapas, or making a cocktail with it. Nothing was good enough. And then, as I lovingly stared at the viscosity of the honeyed nectar in my tumbler one night, it came to me like a vision from the sweet-tooth angels: truffles.
I’ve done multiple chocolate and liqueur tastings. Too many to count. Time and time again, I acknowledged that this combination comes straight from the heavens. The silky smoothness of melted dark chocolate, swirled with the richness of whiskey notes leaves your taste buds orbiting in a completely different plane of taste sensation.
I quickly googled for chocolatey inspiration and came across a super decadent recipe from Gimme Some Oven (original recipe here), which I amended slightly to suit our South African audience. I worked at the recipe for days and nights, sometimes forgetting to sleep or eat. Maybe not to that extent, but you know what I mean…
I remembered I had several slabs of semi-sweet dark chocolate from Afrikoa, waiting for a special occasion to pop up. And that’s how all good things start. I had the base for my truffles. Good quality chocolate and a good quality caramel whiskey. Bound to be a winner! So, without any further ado, here is my adjusted recipe for what I call my Dubliner’s Delight Caramel Truffles.
Just a sneaky disclaimer: I’m by no means a trained chef or recipe developer. Please take this recipe with a pinch of salt – literally! Adjust measurements slightly to taste if needs be.
Dubliner’s Delight Caramel Truffles
(Makes a small batch, makes approximately 15 truffles)
Total time: 25 mins
Preparation time: 30 mins
Cooking time: less than 5 mins
250gr dark chocolate, broken into blocks (I used semi-sweet – gorgeous!)
50 ml heavy cream (also called double thick cream, from Woolies)
1 tablespoon butter at room temperature
50 – 70 ml The Dubliner Caramel Whiskey (to taste!)
½ teaspoon good quality coarse sea salt
Raw, unsweetened cocoa powder for rolling
Optional: 1 Crunchie chocolate, bashed to bits for rolling
Because we don’t do ovens. Add chocolate pieces, heavy cream and butter to a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in short bursts in the microwave, stirring between each blast, until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth and lump-free. Stir in the whiskey and sea salt, and whisk until smooth. Add more whiskey or salt to taste. Refrigerate the mixture for 2-3 hours, or until completely chilled. This is important; the mix must be 90% hard when you stick a finger into it, so show some restraint!
Once set, remove from the fridge, and use a melon baller (I used a measuring spoon, also works!) to shape the truffles into smallish balls (remember they are decadently rich!). Make sure to minimise contact with your hands as the mixture melts quickly. If you want, for a bit of an edge, roll each ball in a bowl of cocoa powder or Crunchie bits if desired. Transfer to a serving dish and refrigerate again until needed. They will last in a Tupperware in the fridge for about a week, if you can keep your paws off them for so long! Serve chilled.
These caramel truffles, in my very humble opinion, pairs the best with a glass of Caramel Whiskey. The semi-sweet bitterness of the chocolate and cocoa powder enhances the sweet, almost vanilla undertones of the whiskey. The Crunchie bits adds some texture and melts in your mouth, the same way as the whiskey. All in all, a gloriously hedonistic experience.
And if you run out of ideas for Christmas presents, why not gift someone a bottle of Dubliner Whiskey Caramel with a box of home-made truffles? They are bound to win hearts and spread the love wherever they go!
Our friends at Merriment and Co has a keen eye for quality, and I wholeheartedly agree that this beautiful liqueur is a welcome addition not only to their impressive artillery of big gun alcohol brands, but also to Cape Town and South Africa. Cheers!