My chocolate salty balls recipe is a two-bite sweet that are a little bit of heaven. Learn how to make the iconic South Park treat: decadent brownie truffles dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt.
If you’ve watched the animated series South Park even once you know who the character Chef is (played by Isaac Hayes) and almost certainly have heard about his most famous recipe which he shares in song form.
Chef’s song is very detailed and I’ll admit I didn’t follow it exactly. For example, I didn’t stir it with a wooden spoon (a rubber spatula works so much better). Nor did I only use egg whites (whole eggs add the richness I was looking for). But I do think I created something South Park’s Chef would be proud of. He’d definitely “put ’em in his mouth and suck ’em.” 😂
Even if you have no idea what I’m talking about you will still want to make these rich chocolate balls for any and all chocolate-lovers in your life. The inside is an indulgent brownie flavored with cinnamon and Cognac and covered in melted chocolate then sprinkled with flaky sea salt for the perfect finish.
This chocolate salty balls recipe is a great way to show that special someone that you love them this Valentine’s Day.
- Unsalted butter. You’ll need a stick of butter plus another half stick.
- Semi-sweet chocolate bars. Chop a baking bar instead of using chocolate chips for better melting.
- Granulated sugar. You will need 2 cup sugar for this recipe.
- Large eggs
- Cognac or brandy or 1/4 cup cherry brandy or rum if you have it.
- Vanilla extract. 2 tsp vanilla extract or a little more if you want extra vanilla flavor.
- Cocoa powder
- All purpose flour
- Cinnamon. A tbsp cinnamon might seem like a lot but you need it to fight its way through the rich chocolate.
- Kosher salt a 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt goes in the batter and the flaky salt is for sprinkling on top.
- Vegetable oil
- Flaky sea salt. I used about a tsp salt but this will depend on the size of the flakes.
How To Make This Recipe
Prepare to bake the brownies. Heat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
Melt chocolate. Using a microwave or in a saucepan on the stove over low heat, melt the chocolate and butter together until it is smooth. Pour into a large mixing bowl.
Whisk in the wet ingredients. Add sugar, eggs, Cognac (or 1/4 cup of brandy), and vanilla extract to the chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth.
Fold in the dry ingredients. Now add the cocoa powder, cup of flour, cinnamon, and salt. Mix cinnamon and flour mixture in with a rubber spatula until everything is incorporated. The dough will be thick.
Bake. Pour batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few crumbs on it, about 30 minutes.
Let cool. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 30 minutes or until it is cool enough to handle.
Scrape. Using a fork, scrape the brownies into crumbs, mixing in the firmer edges, breaking them into smaller pieces to make them scoop-able.
Form into balls. Using a tablespoon-sized scoop or just a tablespoon, scoop the crumbs into little balls. Packing the mixture tightly so it rolls into a nice, smooth ball.
Set cake balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat until all the crumbs are gone. Chill in the fridge at least an hour.
Melt chocolate. Melt the chocolate and vegetable oil together either on the stove or in the microwave until it has reached a smooth consistency. Scrape into a 1-cup liquid measuring cup for easier dipping.
Dip. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper for the finished balls.
Place one ball at a time into the melted chocolate and remove from the chocolate with a fork. Tap the fork several times against the side of the cup to get rid of any excess chocolate. Scrape the bottom of the fork against the cup to remove any chocolate that is stuck to the bottom.
Sprinkle with salt. Using another fork, gently place the chocolate ball onto the baking sheet. Drizzle with a little extra chocolate if you’d like and sprinkle the top with a bit of flaky sea salt.
*CHEF’S TIP: I like to dip 5 or 6 balls at a time then drizzle them all at once by dipping the fork in the chocolate and swiping it back and forth over the balls then sprinkle them with salt. You have to add the salt right away before the chocolate sets or it won’t stick.
Chill. Refrigerate balls for 30 minutes to let them set completely then serve. Balls will keep at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months. They’re pretty amazing straight out of the freezer too!
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Get Out Your Chef Hat
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Chocolate Salty Balls
For the balls
To make the balls
- Prep. Heat oven to 350°F and grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Set aside.
- Melt chocolate. Combine the chopped chocolate and the butter either in a microwave safe bowl or in a small saucepan if you don't have a microwave. If using a microwave, melt the chocolate in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until smooth. If using the stove, place chocolate and butter over medium-low heat and melt, stirring frequently until smooth.
- Mix in wet ingredients. Scrape chocolate mixture into a large bowl and add sugar, egg, brandy, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.
- Mix in dry ingredients. Add cocoa powder, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Fold it all together with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Mixture will be thick and fudgey. Scrape into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
- Bake. Bake in the oven until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with just a few moist crumbs, about 30 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and let cool 30 minutes or until cool enough to handle.
- Roll into balls. Using a fork, scrape the batter into a loose crumb. Take a cookie scoop or a tablespoon and scoop up 1 tablespoon of the crumbs. Pack it tightly with your hands then roll the brownie crumbs into 1-inch sized balls. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Try your best not to eat it all at this point. 🙂
- Chill. Chill the balls in the refrigerator for at least an hour and up to a day.
To chocolate dip the balls
- Melt the chocolate. Again, you can melt the chocolate in the microwave or on the stove. For the stove: Combine the chocolate and oil in a medium glass or metal bowl. Pour about 1-inch water in a saucepan and place over a medium heat and bring to a simmer. Place the bowl on top of the saucepan and melt the chocolate, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Scrape into a 1-cup liquid measuring cup for easier dipping. For the microwave: Place the chocolate and oil in a liquid measuring cup because its depth makes dipping really easy. Melt in 20-second increments in the microwave, stirring after each increment, until completely melted and smooth.
- Coat the balls. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper.Remove balls from the refrigerator. Working with 1 at a time, submerge into the chocolate, then carefully lift out using a fork. Tap the fork gently on the side of the measuring cup and scrape the bottom of the fork against the side to rid excess chocolate. Use a 2nd fork to help slide the ball off of the fork and onto the clean parchment-lined baking sheet. Use a spoon to drizzle on top of the coated balls if you'd like. Lightly sprinkle each with flaky sea salt while chocolate is still wet.I like to dip 5-6 balls at a time and drizzle with chocolate and sprinkle with salt then do 5-6 more.
- Chill. Refrigerate coated balls for 30 minutes or until chocolate has completely set before serving.
- Serve or store: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. We love them right out of the freezer, too!
- Dipping: The sea salt needs to be added while the chocolate is still wet so I like to dip, drizzle, and sprinkle 5-6 at a time and then do 5-6 more.
- Chocolate: Use 4-ounce “baking chocolate” bars found in the baking aisle. I prefer Bakers or Ghirardelli brands. You need 5 (4-ounce) bars for this recipe, 20 ounces total. You can use milk, semi-sweet, or bittersweet chocolates for a deeper chocolate flavor. Do not use chocolate chips because they contain stabilizers preventing them from melting into the correct consistency for coating.
- Cooling: Don’t let the brownies cool too long before scraping and forming. The balls won’t stick together as well if the crumbs are cold.
- Variations: If you’re not a fan of sea salt, you can sprinkle the chocolate-dipped balls with finely chopped nuts, shredded coconut, or even sprinkles for a different finish.
- To make the recipe alcohol-free: Substitute the Cognac or brandy with an equal amount of strong coffee or espresso for added depth of flavor.
- Make-ahead/Storage: You can start this recipe 1 day ahead of time. The shaped balls can be chilled in the refrigerator for up to 1 day prior to coating. The balls keep at room temperature for 2 days, it’s best to store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator to maintain freshness.They can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
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