Chocolates!

On Saturday I was suddenly was hit with the urge to make chocolates. I haven't made chocolates in years, my molds are actually hidden somewhere in my parents' house on the other side of the country. So the only solution was to drive to Michaels and buy new molds. Below is the result of my inspiration.


There actually weren't many molds at the Michaels I went to, so I had to make due with the cup mold I found. Though that led me to try my hand at ganache, which I have never done before. It came out amazingly well and was a big hit. The cups were thinner than I had expected and didn't come out as well as I would have liked. But I definitely learned a lot.

Chocolate Cups
The molds are from Michaels and I used Ghirardelli's semi-sweet chocolate and white chocolate. I melted the chocolate inside a glass dessert dish. The dish is placed inside a pan with water. Then the pan is heated at a very low setting on the stove. You can also microwave it, but I prefer not to.

After the chocolate is melted I filled the mold about a third with chocolate, then using a chopstick I pushed the chocolate up the sides of the mold. I mixed the darker chocolate with white in a few of them, my best attempt is the last one in the picture. Definitely could have done it better, it's actually really hard to push the chocolate up the sides without just mixing it all together. I like how the marbling came out in that one though.

Ganache
I found this ganache recipe and halved it. I used 4oz of heavy whipping cream with about 5oz of Ghirardelli's dark 60% cocoa chocolate (it was on sale and the cheapest, but glad I chose it and may continue using it for ganache). After heating the cream I put it and the chocolate in a bowl and covered it with a plate for about a minute before whisking it. I let it cool in the fridge over night and scooped them into the cups with a spoon.

Strawberries
As a little note, I put the sliced strawberries in water with some lemon juice. It helped brighten their flavor since they were off season.

Things I learned
A lot of this stuff was a first and I definitely learned a lot and could have done things differently.

  • White chocolate is very different from regular or dark chocolate. I eventually gave up on it because after a while it became clumpy regardless of how long I left it to heat.
  • My hands can be too hot sometimes. If you look at the pictures you'll notice some finger prints.
  • Ganache is wonderful stuff and definitely will use again.
  • The chocolate in the cup molds will sink to the bottom while it's still semi solid.
  • Lemon diluted in water really helps brighten off season strawberries when using them as accents.

Things to do for the future

  • Learn more about the properties of white chocolate so I can handle it better. Or work with it very quickly so I don't end up with it clumping.
  • Cool my hands before handling the chocolate. May be I'll run them under cold water or keep some ice cubes  handy.
  • Experiment with ganache more in how to make it both thicker and thinner. It's so easy to make I'm surprised I haven't tried before.
  • Don't hesitate to put a lot of chocolate on the walls of the mold so that they don't get too thin when the chocolate shifts to the bottom. Make the bottom "thinner" because the chocolate on the sides will shift down anyway. And put the molds in the freezer rather than the fridge, so it sets faster.
  • Consider other accents besides strawberries. Perhaps nuts? That at least will make them last longer in a box if I ever want to bring them to a party.
More pictures



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