Happy Easter to you all, I hope you’ve had a very relaxing bank holiday weekend!
I know everyone goes mad for chocolate, and I too am guilty of that occasional indulgence; I do love chocolate but you can always tell when you’ve had enough…probably when the guilt fairy comes knocking. This Easter, I wanted to do something I had never done before, and make my own chocolate treats in the form of eggs and mini moulded chocolates/truffles.
You know when you think of something, probably in a daydream, and you think ‘gosh, thats a wonderful idea!’ the sudden epiphany where all you can imagine is the wonderfulness that this idea will bring, that you rarely think of the work, the mess and scenario of…this could go dreadfully wrong. Which leads me to the realisation that…
Working with chocolate is incredibly difficult and time consuming! But it does become easier…
I decided that, as I said, make my own eggs and truffles; but goodness me, there’s so much work involved with them. Not only that, but I stupidly bought ONE 55 mm egg mould, of which therefore makes only 3 at a time, and my plan was to make 12. Hmm…
So I thought that since it is Easter, I would share what I did, written and visual, and see if anyone has any well learned tips for me to follow next time I put myself through such torture again so soon. This blog post therefore, will be in sections.
Ever wondered how those chocolates you buy are so wonderfully shiny; how they crack as you bite into them? The laborious tempering process is exactly what causes these things. Until recently, I had heard what tempering was (mainly just as a phrase, ‘You have to temper chocolate before using’) but didn’t actually know how to do it. I had been bought a brilliant chocolate set over Christmas and hadn’t yet got to using it…until now!
So, the tempering process, what do you do?
- Place 2/3 of your chosen quantity (I used 200 g) of chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering (not boiling) water and stir as it melts. To do this properly, use a thermometer (or a thermospatula like me), and monitor the temperature of the chocolate. Once it reaches the following temperatures, take off the heat:
- Milk: 41-43 C
- Dark: 46-50 C
- White: 41-43 C
- Pour the remaining third of your chocolate into the melted mixture, and stir until the temperature drops (this is known as seeding) to:
- Milk: 25-27C
- Dark: 28-29 C
- White: 25-27 C
- Once the chocolate has reached this temperature, place back onto the saucepan for 5-10 seconds at a time (then repeat) with constant stirring until it reaches:
- Milk: 31 C
- Dark: 33-34 C
- White: 31 C
Your chocolate is then ready to use!
2. Using moulds
As I said, I had been bought a wonderful chocolate set (thermospatula, moulds, piping bags etc), of which included moulds of different shapes for all chocolate making. What was also incredibly useful, was the little book detailing how to use the moulds and create wonderful treats out of them. So in true ‘me’ style, I thought I would pass on what I’ve learned. This applies to little chocolates and easter eggs, the principle is still the same! For this, I would recommend keeping an eye on the temperature of your chocolate, and reheating to the above temperatures if it drops below 28C. Also, lay out a large sheet of greaseproof paper for your moulds – this can get incredibly messy!
- Using a brush, dip in your tempered chocolate and brush a light coating inside the mould – it’s just to prevent air bubbles ruining the overall appearance once set. Turn upside down.
- Once the chocolate has set, fill each mould with chocolate (to the brim) then turn upside down inside the bowl, so that the excess drips back into the bowl. Turn upside down onto the paper, and leave to set for roughly 15-20 minutes.
- If you’d like your chocolate to be thicker, continue to layer the chocolate into the mould – this applies to the eggs especially.
For small chocolates, and even small Easter eggs, you might decide that you would like to use a filling for a little surprise upon biting. I made a two different fillings, so I’ll give you mine below:
Chocolate ganache with a brazil nut centre
- Roughly 250 g milk chocolate
- 150 ml double cream
- Handful of brazil nuts, chopped in half
- Flavouring for the cream: instant coffee, vanilla (optional)
- Place the cream (and flavouring if using) into a saucepan and bring to the boil; put your chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set aside while the cream gently boils.
- Remove from the heat, and pour into your chocolate. Stir all the time until it becomes soft and combined. Leave to cool to just below room temperature.
- 250 – 300 g dark chocolate
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 100 ml double cream
- 40 g unsalted butter
- Add the cream and chilli powder to a saucepan and bring it to the boil. Add the dark chocolate and stir as it melts, becoming smooth.
- Add the butter and continue to stir; leave to cool to room temperature.
3. Filling & patience
Once you have the chocolate shells to their desired thickness, and you’ve made your fillings, it’s time to start, well, filling! You can pipe it in if you really want to, but why make more mess? Simply spoon into the mould, making sure it’s full to the brim – and leave to set for about 20 minutes, or less if you decide to put it in the fridge.
Once the filling has set inside the mould, spread a layer of the tempered chocolate over the top to seal the chocolates off.
All you need to worry about now, is how to stop eating your delicious creations! Not bad for a first try!