Posts Tagged ‘tempering chocolate’

My lovely friend Joanna sent me these fabulous blocks of Willie’s Cacao…

I’ve grated up the Venezuelan Black, ready for use…

To keep the small people in the neighbourhood happy, I made chocolate lollipops from a 50:50 blend of Callebaut 823 Milk and 811 Dark.  The sticks reduce the likelihood of chocolate hand prints on the walls…

For the grown-ups, I blended Callebaut 811 (54%) with small quantities of Tanzanie, Sao Thome and Manjari origin chocolate.  The golden ticket moulds continue to be popular…

These fleur-de-lys are a new shape for me. I think they look quite elegant in both dark…

…and milk chocolate…

And finally, big dark (70%) chocolate pills, for emergencies…

Easter is just around the corner, so I thought it was worth doing a practice run – it’s been a while since I’ve tempered any chocolate.  More posts coming soon!

PS. As always, our moulds were purchased from Candyland Crafts in the US.  They’re just $2 each, but the shipping nearly doubles that if you’re ordering from Australia.  Be warned, their online catalogue can be addictive!

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Tim the Boy Wonder is studying for exams, and we thought we’d give him a hand.

Several, in fact, including the milk, dark and hazelnut praline studded ones above.  He can use them to practice his royal wave!

They’ll be a lot to remember, but hopefully the ol’ string around the finger trick will help…

An assortment of minis, because many hands make light work, and also because the Boy Wonder loves a round of applause…

At the same time, Tim’s dad PeteA is having a birthday.  We’ve made him a birthday card using Christina’s blend

…and a hollow chocolate Ferrari.

My Pete is somewhat concerned that his car obsessed friend will feel this isn’t a real Ferrari (as this model was made after it was bought by Fiat)…

I, on the other hand, am somewhat concerned that PeteA will break a tooth like he did on the last car we made for him.  Although back then we were less practiced at moulding chocolate, and we’d made the whole thing solid.

That was six years ago – hopefully he’s overcome any aversion to car-shaped chocolates since then!

PS. All moulds were from Candyland Crafts, although the car is now discontinued.

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A couple of new chocolate bars we’ve been experimenting with…

This somewhat rustic looking block is the result of scattering chopped chunks of cold, tempered caramelised white chocolate over the mould before filling it with our 74% Tanzanie blend.  It’s a nice flavour combination…

We’ve also been trying to perfect a mint crisp bar…

We began by boiling up mint leaves in a little water before blitzing and straining them to create a very green mint tea.  We added some peppermint oil to intensify the flavour and then boiled the liquid up with sugar to create a crystallised mint-flavoured candy.

When cool, the candy was pulverised in the food processor and incorporated into a batch of tempered chocolate.

The end result was a dark chocolate bar with little nuggets of mint candy throughout – a great after dinner treat!

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Since we’re on a bit of a chocolate quest at the moment, we thought we’d try making our own Easter eggs this year.

They were a great success, and we finally figured out a way to make them hollow without having to heat and join two halves together.

Our dark eggs and chickens (of course) are made with a slightly darker mix (74%) of our new house blend.  We made the modification on Christina’s suggestion, and it’s proven universally popular:

  • 200g Callebaut 811 (54%)
  • 200g Cacao Barry Tanzanie (75%)
  • 150g Callebaut Cocoa Mass (100%)

The tempered chocolate was poured into one half of the egg moulds, which were then clipped together and carefully rotated as the chocolate set.

Our milk eggs are made of a blend of Callebaut 823 (33.6%) and Cocoa Mass (100%) resulting in a very grown up milk chocolate of approximately 47% cacao.  Here’s the formula:

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

It was a perfect way to spend a rainy Saturday before Easter!

You might enjoy this Jacques Torres clip on tempering chocolate – unfortunately I couldn’t embed it here, so you’ll need to click through and watch it on YouTube…

. . . . .

Edit: I’d like to encourage any of you who are interested to give tempering a whirl.  I wrote up the method I use here, but it’s quite fiddly, and if you google tempering, there are easier methods – usually involving melting 2/3 of your chocolate and then stirring in the remainder until the liquid chocolate reaches the right temperature.  I personally don’t find the other methods as consistent, so I stick to what works for me.

David Lebovitz wrote a great post on tempering chocolate here.

One tip: getting chocolate to temper is quite easy, but keeping it there is tricky.  The chocolate needs to go into the mould when it’s between 88 – 90F, but if it cools below that, it can drop out of temper, so the real secret to home tempering is to find a way to keep the chocolate at the ideal temperature while you work it.

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As you know, I do love a culinary challenge!

This one came about when I discovered that my friends at Paesanella are now stocking Amedei chocolate.  Ever since I read Mort Rosenblum’s Chocolate, I’ve been keen to try this brand.

Amedei came about after brother and sister Alessio and Cecilia Tessieri, Italian sellers of baking ingredients, approached Valrhona seeking to distribute their products.   Story has it that Valrhona rejected their request, telling them that Italy wasn’t “capable of appreciating fine French chocolate”.

Furiously insulted, the Tessieris formed Amedei, which almost immediately started producing amazing chocolate.  Their true moment of triumph though, came when Alessio managed to secure exclusive access to the renowned Chuao cacao plantations, locking Valrhona out of their premium source of beans.  It’s a fabulous story – you can read more about it here and here.

Amedei are acknowledged as one of the leading chocolate houses in the world, as well as possibly the most expensive.  At $10 per 50g ($200/kg), it’s definitely a rare indulgence.  But after such a wonderful tale of passion and sustained Italian rage, how could I resist bringing home a couple of blocks to try?

The Toscano Brown, Amedei’s milk chocolate blend, was very nice.

The Toscano Black was sublime.  Big Boy and I particularly enjoyed it, but Pete said, “you know, this reminds me a little of the chocolate you make”.

The gauntlet had been thrown down.

Could I make a chocolate bar which we enjoyed as much as the Toscano Black?  The Amedei bar was a blend, so I thought it might be fun to play around and see what we could come up with.

After a few experiments, I finally arrived at something that we’re all happy with.  Pete and I personally prefer it to the Toscano Black, although Big Boy still prefers the Amedei, as does Dredgey (neighbours who pop in usually get roped into tastings).

The Toscano Black is a serious, sophisticated dark chocolate. In wine terms, it reminds me of old Bordeauxs with their distinctive cigar box and tobacco notes.  It has sweet fruit tones and just enough acidity to add complexity and depth.  It also has an amazing finish – this is a chocolate to be savoured in small pieces, with a taste that lingers in the mouth for many minutes afterwards.

Our home blend has a creamy mouthfeel, good balancing acid, and a strong cocoa flavour with hints of raisin and citrus.  The Tanzanie component contributes robust, slightly woody notes. To me, the blend lacks some of the complexity of the Toscano Black, but I enjoy the flavour profile a little more.  Like the Amedei, it also has a very long finish.

For my friend Gillian (who also reviewed the Toscano Black here) and others who are playing around with chocolate making, our final mix was:

  • 40% Callebaut 811 (54% cacao)
  • 40% Cacao Barry Tanzanie origin chocolate (75% cacao)
  • 20% Callebaut Cocoa Mass (100% cacao)

If my math is correct,  the resultant blend is a dark 72% cacao. Our bars (photo below) work out at $20/kg – definitely more affordable for every day consumption!

If you get a chance to try Amedei chocolate, I’d really recommend you do so.  Too expensive to eat on a regular basis, but perfect as a special occasion treat and conversation starter!

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