Little hidden fact about me: I love chocolate. A slightly less well-known fact: I enjoy making chocolates almost as much.
The problem I have had with making chocolates is the variability in quality (a lot of quality control has taken place) that nearly always boils down to the tempering of chocolate to get it in the correct state to make the chocolates or the environment in which they are made. Often they are too: soft, dull, strange textured, or I run out of chocolate (not a tempering problem). On rare occasions they have worked beautifully, but not always.
To learn more, I enrolled on a one day beginners chocolate making course run by HB Ingredients. It is here that the expert and lovely Jayne took me and 6 novice chocolatiers through their paces teaching them how to fill truffle shells, pipe decoration, and create and fill our own chocolate shells with insanely good fillings (all products available at HB Ingredients).
I took my camera, although didn’t manage to take any pictures as I was up to my elbows in chocolate for the entire day, filling, dipping, piping, rolling and nibbling. NB//Jayne, being the pro that she is, didn’t get a smudge on her. What can I say, impressive!
At the end of the day, all chocolates were boxed up and taken home (there were some casualties on the way). Here are some of the goodies that made it home (they took a little shaking on the journey home hence the slightly battered look… still tasty though):
Dark chocolate bars with purple glitter powder. Dark chocolate rules, and although we were supposed to make and decorate milk chocolate bars, Jayne helped me make mine dark chocolate (thank you!!!).
Milk chocolate caramels: First the polycarbonate moulds are coated in chocolate to make the shells, then the filling piped in, finally topped off with some more milk chocolate. Yes, these do have a bit of shiny bling powder on too! They are also afflicted with air bubbles, a result of me not vibrating them for long enough to get them out. Time was short, there were chocolates to make!
In a similar way these milk chocolate pralines were made. Not only that, but all my chocoholic questions were answered. Basically, I need to take tempering chocolate more seriously! Also, got to be cool, the room that is… Got to be dry also, again the room, also your tools and hands should be dry. Generally water is not good around chocolate. Finally, if I want any consistency in my chocolates I need a thermometer and to use it. Monitoring it as it melts is the only way to get consistency, shine, and snap in your bite.
A tasty day out!