This year, I bought big blocks of French couverture - the culinary term for "candy-making chocolate". I order it from an online source, and got both dark (67% cocoa) and milk (35% cocoa) chocolate. I also ordered some fillings online from a different source. This year I bought vanilla caramel, coconut dough, and fruit and nut nougat fillings. This made for a lot of yummy candy treats!
Here are the "before" pictures:
The chocolate is "Valrhona" brand, and it comes in big blocks. It needs to be chopped before it can be used. So I put everyone in the house to work on that job.
The chopping does not have to be exact - just get the pieces into chunks smaller than grapes, it all works great.
I always melt the chocolate in a double boiler - though I don't own a double boiler, so I just use a stainless steel bowl that sits on top of a pot of simmering water. It works out just fine!
This is what the ganache for the truffles looks like before it's cooled. This is an easy recipe that draws a lot of compliments. Just mix of 16 oz. chocolate (melted) and 1 cup heavy cream (scalded). Stir it all together into a ganache, then let it cool to room temperature. Then whip it in the mixer until it's light and airy and silky. Let it set up a little more at room temperature, then roll into balls. At this point, I usually roll them in tempered chocolate, then drop them into cocoa powder. Done!
This photo shows the hand-rolling method. Putting the tempered chocolate into your hand and rolling the filling around in it makes for a thinner coating of chocolate. The milk chocolate in particular is pretty runny when it's being used as a dipping chocolate, and so if you try to coat your filling too thickly, it just runs off and makes a puddle around the candy. Not pretty! So I use the hand-rolling method, which puts a thin coat, and then I double-dip each piece. It takes longer, and is pretty messy, but is very fun!
Lots of hand soap was used today!
My friends helped me make great progress today, all in one session. In the course of 6 hours, we made:
Dark Chocolate Covered Coconut (Mounds Bars)
Milk Chocolate Covered Coconut and Almonds (Almond Joy Bars)
Dark Chocolate Caramels
Milk Chocolate Caramels
Dark Chocolate Fruit&Nut Nougats
Dark Chocolate Peanut Clusters
Milk Chocolate Peanut Clusters
Dark Chocolate Truffles
Milk Chocolate Truffles
Dark Chocolate Cherry Creams
Milk Chocolate Cherry Creams
Dark Chocolate Cherry Cordials
Milk Chocolate Shortbread & Caramels (Twix bars)
Dark Chocolate Shortbread & Caramels (Dark Twix bars)
Here is the "after" picture:
I'm linking up to The Tablescaper's Seasonal Sundays.
I'm also linking up to Between Naps on the Back Porch's Metamorphosis Monday.