Thursday, June 10, 2010

Home Made Chocolates II

Molded Chocolates

My friend Paul and I recently spent an afternoon making chocolates. Once the technique for "tempering" is mastered, it not really all that difficult to do, and it is a very satisfying way to pass a few hours. Also, you have some wonderful products to enjoy and share with others.

We made two varieties: piped mendiants sprinkled with various combinations of nuts, dried fruits and salt, and molded chocolates filled with hazelnuts or a melange of nuts and dried fruits. We made some of the mendiants with a blend of peanut butter chips, ancho chili powder and cayenne pepper, and topped them with chopped peanuts and salt; the texture was a bit soft, but the succession of flavor sensations was interesting. There is no limit to the items you can put on and in the chocolate: notes of spices and salt really enhance the underlying sweet/bitter chocolate flavor.

Mendiants Setting on a Silicone Mat

Assorted Chocolates

A couple of lessons. The darker the chocolate, the more difficult it is to work with. Chocolate with cacao content in excess of 70% is drier and harder to melt and temper, and ends up being a bit hard for my taste. I like to stay around 60%, i.e., bittersweet. We used Jacques Torres 60% and 70% and Caillebaut bittersweet and intense dark.

Second, keep records. We started out keeping records of the blends we were using but fairly quickly gave up, as we mixed and matched on the fly. We could not duplicate any of the chocolates we made, although we could get reasonable facsimiles. But one day we will get the perfect chocolate and it would be nice to be able to repeat it.

Third, no combination is too weird. If you like something, try it with chocolate; the worst that can happen is that it doesn't work. But there is always the chance of a wonderful alchemy!

Bobby Jay


Suzy H said...

i bet milk chocolate with caramelized onions would be fantastic. but it may also be weird. but no weirder than chocolate with bacon, right?

Bobby Jay said...

Pretty scary, but why not try it? Let me know how it comes out!