It's the moment you've all been waiting for! So many of my friends have been dying to know how to make my chocolates, and most have already attended one of two classes I've taught, but many can't make it when I do. So, I've decided to post the basics of chocolate making.
Cream filled chocolates are one of the easiest. I'll go step by step and provide pictures for you to help you get an idea what it should look like.
If you have any questions, please post a comment and I'll try to respond as quickly as I can.
First, the list of what you'll need . . .
1. Flimsy cutting board that has NEVER been used for cutting. The chocolate will get stuck in the cut marks. (Hide your cutting board somewhere safe, so it's never used with knives.)
2. Chocolate molds of any shape or size. Preferably bite size.
3. Icing spreader that has a bend like the one in the picture below.
4. If you plan to drizzle chocolate (more on that later) then you'll need a sandwich bag.
5. The right kind of Chocolate (see below).
6. A pan
7. A bowl big enough to set on the pan to create a double boiler. (see picture below)
Directions on Melting Chocolate
First, we should talk about chocolate (who wouldn't). The best and easiest chocolate to work with is Guittard A'Peels. There's variations of flavors, such as milk, dark, vanilla (in red and white), mint (in green and white), lemon (yellow), and orange (colored orange for obvious reasons). I usually use the milk chocolate A'Peels and the vanilla. I'm not a big dark chocolate fan, so I don't make any with it.
Make sure you buy the A'Peels, for there are different kinds that look the same. A'Peels are easier to melt and I personally think they taste the best. If you live in the Salt Lake City area, then the best place to buy them is at Gygi's.You can also find small paper candy cups of different colors and sizes at Gygi's, plus tons of other kitchen supplies.
To begin. Fill pan with enough water without allowing the water to touch the bowl that will sit inside. Be sure to keep the inside of the bowl free of water. Water and chocolate doesn't mix well. :)
On a low temperature set pan of water over low heat with the clean dry bowl over the top. It takes a few minute until the bowl begins to warm. At that point add the chocolate. Be patient. This takes a few more minutes to melt. You don't want to melt too fast or your chocolate will turn white later on. Nice and easy is what you want. While you wait for the melting to begin prepare your fillings. Keep an eye on the chocolate. You don't want the water below the bowl to boil. If it does boil, take the bowl off the pan and let the water relax and return to a no boil state. Be sure to stir every couple minutes, but don't whip and stir too much or you'll put air into the chocolate which could cause it to turn it white.
It's finished when it's all smooth. Take bowl off heat (keep the pan with water on heat) and place on hot pad while you spoon it into molds or whatever you might be using it for.
Keep an eye on your chocolate as you use it. If it gets cooled off and begins to thicken put back on pan for a minute then remove.
Once you're done with whatever you might be making and you've got left over chocolate, don't through it out or feel like you need to lick out the entire bowl. Spoon the remaining chocolate onto a plate in one inch circles and place in fridge. When that's cooled you can add it back into the bag of chocolate and can use it for another day.
Now for the filling . . .
1/2 cup softened butter (one cube)
6 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons of heavy cream
1 tsp of extract (your choice of flavor)
Mix well until it's as thick as a cookie dough.
Come up with your own flavor and share your experience with me. I'd love to hear what yumminess you've created. (I know, yumminess isn't a word, but I make up words all the time).
Hopefully you've kept an eye on your melting chocolate and stirred every minute or so.
Now that you've got you filling complete and your chocolate is ready, let's proceed.
Fill your molds to the rim (it's okay if it's a little messy at this point). Tap the mold against the counter so the bubbles will detach themselves from the side (you don't want bubbles creating holes in your chocolate).
Here is a short, somewhat blurry video of me creating a chocolate shell. I had to flip it over twice because not enough chocolate dripped out, so watch the thickness. :)
Once you've rushed the chocolate to the fridge you'll want to get all that extra chocolate that just dripped out back into the bowl. Using the icing spreader, scrape the chocolate to one end of the cutting board and scrape into bowl.
It takes about 5 minutes for the chocolate shell to cool. You'll want to place your bowl of chocolate on the hot water in between each batch of shells you make, to keep it nice and smooth.
Once your shells are ready, spoon and press filling inside. Be sure to leave enough room for the chocolate that will go on top (or bottom, depending on how you look at it).
If you want to drizzle chocolate over the top, then place plastic baggie with a handful of chocolates. I used lemon flavored A'Peels over my lemon filled chocolates. Heat bag of chocolate in microwave (15 seconds at a time) until smooth. Cut a very small hole at the corner and squeeze and drizzle over chocolates.
These chocolates can freeze for months at a time, but honestly, they've never lasted that long. When making goodies for the Christmas season I make several different kinds, freeze them, then when I'm ready to pass them around the neighborhood I box them up and let them sit for a few hours. Frozen chocolates are too difficult to eat and they taste better when room temperature anyway. I usually start this process in November, but no later than the beginning of December.
Yes, you are looking at the sweet nectar of the Gods. Now get into the kitchen and start making your heavenly creations, then leave a comment and let us all know how it went.