Saturday, April 24, 2010

Home Made Chocolates

A friend was attempting to make chocolates and I asked "Do you temper?" He didn't know what I meant, but I recalled that it has something to do with cooling and reheating chocolate so it will keep its shape without being refrigerated and attracting that dull surface that the fridge causes. I got intrigued, did some research and found two methods in Sherry Yard's Dessert by the Yard.

Basically, tempering involves three simple steps: (i) melting chocolate (about 115º F), (ii) letting it cool to 84º F and (iii) reheating it gently to 89º or 90º F. These numbers are for semisweet or bittersweet chocolate; lower ones apply for milk chocolate. You can do the heating in the microwave (using short bursts and checking often) or in a double boiler. I tried both methods but in the end prefer using a double boiler with a remote digital roast thermometer.

After tempering the chocolate, you can use mold to form it or just drop it neatly on a silicon pan liner (I use a squeeze bottle for this). Wait until it sets, about 1/2 hour, unmold and that's it.

Chocolates being formed in drops and mold

Or, add something on top of the chocolate while it's still warm; nuts and dried fruit to make mendiants or, as I did, fleur de sel or crushed caramel made with pepper.

Chocolate covered with crushed peppered caramel

It turns out this is easy to do and you get a gorgeous result.

Bobby Jay


Suzette said...

why are these not in my mouth?

Whitney Smith said...

this is so much easier than i though! I also often heard the word "temper" in relation to making chocolate and wasn't always sure what it entailed.

bravo! such beautiful chocolates :)

Bobby Jay said...

Thanks, Suzette and Whit.

Yes, tempering is not so difficult or mysterious, even though Maida Heatter, in her Book of Great Chocolate Desserts, says she thinks the process "belongs more in a laboratory than in a home kitchen."

And welcome to bobbyjayonfood, Whit. You are my newest official follower.