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Posts Tagged ‘tempering chocolate at home’

Did you know it’s National Chocolate Week in the UK?

To join in the festivities, here are some of the chocolates I’ve been playing with recently…

Maude’s daughter is a mad keen dragon buff, so I made her a flight of them for her birthday.  I used a 50:50 blend of Callebaut 811 (54% dark) and 823 milk…

There were large Lord of the Rings’ style beasties…

…and smaller Chinese snake dragons.  I love the detailing of the scales!

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This crocodile was made for a friend’s birthday, but he broke in half as he was being unmoulded – hence the join in the middle of his back.  He’s made mostly of 54% dark with a little milk chocolate added for sweetness…

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Some musical instruments for Will (who plays the saxaphone) and Bethany (who’s an accomplished pianist).  Small Man insisted that the trumpet was his alone…

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As I’ve mentioned before, I buy almost all my moulds from Candyland Crafts in the US.  The shipping to Australia is expensive, but the moulds themselves are just $1.99 each – cheap enough to splurge on a new one for each occasion. The detailing and quality are astonishing for the price.

I was placing an order for Christmas moulds and couldn’t resist picking up this 3D chef to make a gift for my friends at Chefs’ Warehouse…

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Learning to temper chocolate takes a little practice, but once you find a technique that works for you, you’ll never be caught short for a last minute gift again.

I wrote up the method I use here, but it’s a little fiddly.  If you google tempering, you’ll find easier techniques, which usually involve melting two-thirds of the chocolate and then stirring in the remainder until the right temperature is achieved.  You might also find this article  by David Lebovitz useful.  It’s all about trial and error – and in this case, all the mistakes are delicious!

Remember, getting chocolate to temper is reasonably easy, but keeping it there is tricky.  Dark chocolate needs to go into the mould while it’s between 88 – 90F (milk chocolate: 86 – 88F), but if it cools below that, it can drop out of temper and won’t set properly.  The real secret to success is to find a way to keep the chocolate at the right temperature while you work it.  I use heat mats for this purpose – I like the Australian-made ones from Shin Bio, but my friend Christina tells me that a hot wheat pack wrapped in a plastic bag works just as well.

Hope you all enjoy National Chocolate Week – and thanks to the Frugal Feeding Blog and C from Cake, Crumbs and Cooking for the headsup!

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On my last chocolate run to Chefs’ Warehouse, I picked up some Callebaut Pailleté Feuilletine.

These fine shards of wheat wafer give a delicious crunch to chocolate, although they can’t be added to milk or water-based ingredients as they’ll turn to mush.

I tempered up a batch of our milk chocolate blend (47% cacao), using the following formula:

  • 400g Callebaut 823 milk chocolate (33.6%)
  • 100g Callebaut Cocoa Mass (100%)

I then added 100g of the feuilletine wafers to the chocolate and very gently stirred it in.  It was a little tricky to get the stiff mixture into moulds…

Big Boy describes the finished bars as “a really classy Kit Kat”.

The French horns are his, whereas Small Man gets the trumpets – I still can’t believe I found a mould with the two instruments my sons play!  The chocolate was well tempered, but the added feuilletine gave them a slightly mottled appearance…

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I was also happy to discover that Chefs’ Warehouse can now order in Callebaut Fairtrade chocolate on request.

At the moment the Fairtrade versions of the 811 (54% dark), 823 (33.6% milk) and the 70% dark are only available in 10kg sacks, but hopefully they’ll bring them out in a smaller format soon.

The Fairtrade 811 costs 25% more than the regular version, but I’m happy to pay the premium.  My friend Gillian of Chocolate Here uses Callebaut Fairtrade for her artisan chocolate business – do visit her market stalls if you’re ever in County Clare, Ireland!

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Chefs’ Warehouse
111-115 Albion St
Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9211 4555

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Several times a week, Small Girl comes to visit.

She’s not yet three, and only speaks Japanese, apart from words like Aunty Celia and choc-lat and thank you.

Every couple of days, she will trudge up the driveway in her bright pink gumboots, feed weeds to the chooks (having chickens in suburbia is tantamount to running a neighbourhood petting zoo), before coming inside in search of a treat.

Recently, I discovered that if I put chocolate on a stick, there’s less chance of finding small brown handprints on the furniture.  Inspired by the market creations of my friend Gillian, I ordered some moulds from Candyland Crafts and made up a batch of darkened milk chocolate lollipops.

These trains look familiar enough to pass muster, although they have enough chocolate in them to derail a little person’s system…

These cute teddies are a good size and shape for small hands and mouths…

..and flowers are always popular!

Small Girl’s Mummy, if you’re reading this, please come for a visit soon!

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