Yes, indeed - last night, I made chocolates for the first time. And I have one urgent question: why haven't I tried making chocolates before? They are so easy! So quick to make! SO DELICIOUS.
This adventure started, as so many adventures do, in Lakeland. I was eyeing up their chocolate moulds for ages, and then I thought 'Fuck it!' (pardon my French, but I am Juliette Binoche now) and bought one. Well, actually, I bought a Pretty Puddings mould - any silicone mould will work (and you can make these without a mould, too, so read on!).
After a bit of googling to find out the basics of chocolatiering, I began my experiment. I went for a dark chocolate rose and gin ganache for the filling, with a white chocolate shell, but you can substitute milk, dark, or white chocolate anywhere you like in this recipe. Just remember to buy the best you can afford, and look for a high percentage of cocoa, particularly in dark chocolate.
Rose & Gin Chocolates (makes 24)
- 300g white chocolate, chopped or broken into small pieces
- 100g dark chocolate, chopped or broken into small pieces
- 50g unsalted butter, roughly chopped and brought down to room temperature
- 3 tbsp gin
- 2 tbsp double cream
- 2 tsp rose extract
- Glitz, glamour, and a gung-ho approach to decoration - I used gold lustre spray and gold edible glitter
- Popping candy
- Pop your silicone mould on a baking tray for stability.
- Place 200g of the white chocolate into a microwaveable bowl or jug (I used this chocolate melting pot and did three separate batches - the pot makes precision pouring and squishing out every last drop of chocolate a cinch). Heat on medium power in 15-20 second bursts, removing and stirring before blasting again. Stop microwaving when the chocolate has just liquefied. Chocolate thermometer owners: we are looking for a temperature of 43°C/110°F here. The rest of us: we are slightly winging it.
- Start adding the remaining 100g of white chocolate, stirring until it melts. This is called 'seeding', and is the easiest way to temper chocolate (essential for shine and that pleasing SNAP! when you bite into the choc). Keep adding and stirring until all the chocolate has melted. Temperature fans: 27-28°C (80-82°F) is our goal. The rest of us: we're still slightly winging it. TRUST ME.
- Now pour a small amount (about a heaped teaspoon's-worth) of melted chocolate into the bottom of each mould, and swirl around to coat the sides. Over a large bowl, turn the mould upside-down and allow the excess to drip out. Once all surfaces are well coated, scrape the excess from the top side of the mould using the scraping device of your choice (I used a cake decorator's icing scraper, but I have been known to use a sterilised Cineworld card for similar scraping jobs). Keep all the remaining white chocolate scrapings to reheat later.
- Chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes, while you make the ganache.
- Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave in 15-second blasts. We don't need to withhold any chocolate for seeding here. Once it's melted, add the butter, gin, rose extract, and cream and whisk until smooth and slightly thickened. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for about ten minutes.
- Remove your chocolate mould from the fridge, and spoon a little of the cooled ganache into each cavity. Using clean fingers, push the ganache down to fill any gaps. It should be just shy of the top edge of each hole.
- Heat the remaining white chocolate. Pour over the ganache to form the bottoms of your chocolates. Use your scraper to clean up the top of the mould again.
- Chill for about half an hour, then decorate with lustre spray, edible glitter, WHATEVER. I also melted a drop of leftover white chocolate, and used it to attach popping candy to the top of each chocolate for extra fizz!
- Make the ganache following step 6 above, and refrigerate in an airtight container for about an hour.
- Use a melon baller to make around 24 evenly-sized, um, balls of ganache.
- Heat the white chocolate following steps 2 and 3 above, then dip each ganache ball into the chocolate until completely coated. Set aside on a parchment-lined baking tray, and chill for half an hour before decorating.
- Really Lazy Sluts™ can bypass a chocolate shell completely and simply roll their ganache balls in cocoa powder.
- If you prefer to use a bain marie to melt chocolate, don't let me stop you. Just make sure you use the seeding method to temper it.
- If you're tempering milk or dark chocolate, the recommended temperatures will be different. Check out this article on the subject for more information!
- Wear plastic or latex gloves when handling your finished chocolates, to prevent warm fingers leaving prints. I didn't have any, so I used two sandwich bags. I was a Brownie. Always prepared for any eventuality.
- Don't offer any of these chocolates to anyone, because they'll take them all.