The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at http://www.chocoley.com offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!
I’ve been conspicuously absent from the past few Daring Bakers’ challenges…vacations, foods my family would totally snub, and just general over-scheduling are my excuses. But when I saw the August recipes involved chocolate…and more important, tempering chocolate, I had to jump back in. No way would my family refuse candy! Especially CHOCOLATE candy! As long as no nuts were involved, I was in business.
I decided to make chocolate truffles and chocolate-covered caramels. Usually when I make truffles, I roll them in cocoa powder, coconut or sprinkles. You know the dilemma…you dip with melted chocolate, they look glossy and lovely, but the next day they have gray streaks, or bloom, covering them. This is because the chocolate was not tempered…a bit of a complicated method to ensure the chocolate does not recrystallize when cooled and stays beautiful and clear. And a bit akin to watching paint dry…at least, that was my experience. You heat 2/3 of your chocolate over a double boiler, till it melts, add the other 1/3 and heat to 113º, then allow to cool to about 81º…and it was the cooling part that took FOREVER. Part of the problem was that I only used 8 ounces total…larger quantities wouldn’t be so time-consuming. And I don’t think it helps to do this in the midst of summer when the AC only gets the house slightly cooler than 80º. When it finally cooled down, I was instructed to reheat to 90º…which took only a nanosecond. So mine may have overheated. Only time will tell.
Next came the dipping. I had ganache balls and caramels ready to go. A fit of fussy work as candies got soft as they waiting their turn, and the warm tempered chocolate only helped them get softer. SO I doubt a career as a chocolatier is in my future, though there were no complaints about these bonbons…except that they weren’t the most beautiful things. I was glad to be pushed out of my comfort zone…and nothing makes the family giddier than a chocolate treat~
Caramels…from my grandfather’s circa 1952 Today’s Woman Candy Cookbook
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 pound (I stick) butter
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter and 1/2 cup of the evaporated milk in a medium-sized saucepan and cook to 220º. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of evaporated milk and cook to 260º stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour into a greased pan. When cooled, cut into squares and wrap in waxed paper. For this challenge, I poured into candy molds. Chill caramels till tempered chocolate is ready.
Frangelico Ganache for Truffles…adapted from Nick Malgieri
9 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon corn syrup
2 tablespoons Frangelico or liqueur of your choice
Gently melt chocolate in the microwave, stopping and stirring at 30-second intervals till smooth. Set aside.
In a large pyrex measuring cup, heat cream, butter and corn syrup in microwave till just starting to bubble. Remove from microwave and stir till combined. Cool for about 5 minutes, then add to chocolate and whisk to combine. Add Frangelico, then refrigerate 15-30 minutes till the mixture is almost cooled to room temperature. Beat with electric mixer till it reaches the consistency of frosting.
Pipe or scoop rounds onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Chill till tempered chocolate is ready.
8 ounces semisweet chocolate ( I made half a batch of caramels and half a batch of ganache)
Dark: 45°C-50°C > 27°C > 32°C
Milk: 45°C > 27°C > 30°C
White: 45°C > 27°C > 29°C
Dark: 113°F-122°F > 80.6°F > 89.6°F
Milk: 113°F > 80.6°F > 86°F
White: 113°F > 80.6°F > 84.2º
• Place about ⅔ of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl
• Set aside ⅓ of the chocolate pieces
• Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the bowl does not touch the water)
• Once it’s melted, keep an eye on the thermometer, as soon as it reaches 45°C / 113°F remove from heat (between 45°C-50°C / 113°F-122°F for dark chocolate)
• Add small amounts of the remaining ⅓ un-melted chocolate (seeds) and stir in to melt
• Continue to add small additions of chocolate until you’ve brought the chocolate down to 27°C/80.6°F (You can bring the dark chocolate down to between 80°F and 82°F)
• Put it back on the double boiler and bring the temperature back up until it reaches its working temperature of the chocolate (milk, dark or white) as seen in the above chart.
• If you still have a few un-melted bits of chocolate, put the bowl back over the simmering water, stirring gently and watching the thermometer constantly.
• If you’re using the chocolate to dip a lot of truffles etc. which means the chocolate will be sitting off the heat for a while it will naturally start to thicken as it cools. To keep it at an ideal viscosity for even coating, put the bowl over steam for 30sec – 1min every 10 – 15mins, just do not let the temperature go over the working temperature!
• Having the chocolate in a warmed glass bowl and wrapped in a hot kitchen towel can also help keep the chocolate at its working temperature for longer
• It is also easier to keep the heat if you work with larger amounts of chocolate rather than small amounts. Any leftover chocolate can be kept to be used later and then re-tempered
• Remember, don’t let any water get into your chocolate at any stage of the tempering process!
• Unless you’ve been working with chocolate for a while and have developed a feel for the tempering process and can tell the chocolate’s temperature by touching it to your lower lip like a pro, it’s imperative that you use a thermometer to determine the temperature, as going a few degrees, either way, can ruin the temper.
• If at any stage you do make a mistake with the tempering process you can simply start again from the beginning.
• While a marble or granite top is ideal for cooling the chocolate in the first method, you can also cool it on a countertop that’s laminated, glass or steel. It will take longer to cool, but it’s possible!
• Any chocolate left over after making your molded or dipped chocolate can be stored away in a cool place and then re-tempered before using it again. There’s no need to ever waste good chocolate!
• Wooden spoons can retain moisture so it’s best to use a rubber spatula while tempering